McDonald’s Bets Big on Machine-Learning Based Menus


McDonald’s is betting that it can use data to take intelligence around customer orders to a new level.

“How do you transition from mass marketing to mass personalization?” asks McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook. “To do that, you’ve really got to unlock the data within that ecosystem in a way that’s useful to a customer.”

The fast food giant is set to announce the acquisition of Israeli company Dynamic Yield, a startup that provides retailers with “decision logic” technology. Decision logic technology suggests other items to customers who have already made a purchase. While details have not been released the deal is estimated to be worth over $300 million.

McDonald’s has already incorporated high tech in its ordering processes, with digital displays and kiosks through which customers can place orders. But in a pilot program at one of its Miami, FL, locations, advanced algorithms process data as varied such as weather, time of day, traffic and nearby events.

“We’ve never had an issue in this business with a lack of data,” Easterbrook said during an interview with Wired Magazine. “It’s drawing the insight and the intelligence out of it.”

A real-world example of how that might play out is if someone orders two Happy Meals at 5 o’clock, the new technology might conclude that it’s a probably a parent ordering dinner for their kids on the way home and suggest a coffee or a treat for them as well.

As with any machine-learning software the true benefits come from patterns detected the more it is used. The software will become smarter as more customers interact with it.

McDonald’s restaurants serve around 68 million people daily. In 2018 alone the company netted nearly $6 billion in net income.

Photo by Mike Mozart via Flickr

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