McDonald's Corp said on Monday it would buy Israel's Dynamic Yield, whose technology helps marketers personalize customer interactions, to boost its online marketing efforts. It is also said to be the fast food chain's biggest acquisition in the past two decades.
McDonald's tested the AI at several restaurants past year, and executive vice president and global chief information officer Daniel Henry told Wired he expects more than 1,000 locations will be using it within the next three months.
McDonald's customers who interact with digital outdoor/indoor menus and kiosks with be given a personalized menu, based on time of day, weather, how busy the restaurant is, and popular menu items. The acquisition allows McDonald's to tailor the items displayed on menu boards at drive-thru outlets to customers.
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Drive-thru wait times have increased annually for about the last five years, CEO Steve Easterbrook said during the company's last earnings call, and the company has been looking at ways to halt that trend. He said McDonald's is expanding the role that technology will play in McDonald's future "and the speed with which we'll be able to implement our vision of creating more personalised experiences for our customers". Marketers, product managers, and engineers use Dynamic Yield daily for launching new personalization campaigns, running server-side and client-side A/B tests, leveraging machine-learning for product and content recommendations, and employing algorithms for smartly triggered email and push notifications.
The deal is the biggest that McDonald's will strike with the Tel-Aviv based start-up which provides retailers with algorithmically driven "decision logic" technology. The decision technology, McDonald's added, can also instantly suggest and display additional items to a customer's order based on their current selections.
McDonald's began testing this technology at certain USA restaurants in 2018 and will begin rolling it out to other domestic locations in 2019 after the transaction closes. Plans to expand internationally will happen at a later date. Dynamic Yield's website says customers have included Urban Outfitters Inc., Ikea and HelloFresh.