McDonald’s bets on artificial intelligence

McDonald’s bets on artificial intelligence

McDonald's has made its largest acquisition in 20 years. The restaurant chain buys technology company Dynamic Yield, which is able to personalize menus thanks to artificial intelligence.


Dynamic menu boards

Allegedly McDonald’s would pay more than 300 million dollars (265 million euros) for Dynamic Yield. The company's technology enables retailers to make personalized offers to their customers using artificial intelligence. It is similar to the suggestions made to customers by major e-commerce companies such as Amazon or based on their surfing behavior. Dynamic Yield's customer base includes Ikea and HelloFresh.


McDonald’s wants to use the technology to create dynamic menu boards, whereby the displayed items depend on a series of personal and non-personal data. An algorithm will ensure that the customer receives a personalized offer in real time. Non-personal data includes, for example, factors such as weather (more coffee on cold days), the time of day or regional preferences. It is not known which personal data will be processed in the future, but CEO Steve Easterbrook has not ruled out license plate recognition.


Since becoming CEO of McDonald’s in 2015, Easterbrook has invested heavily in technology such as digital kiosks to boost sales and help McDonald's differentiate from its competitors. The purchase of Dynamic Yield indicates that the company wants to use technology to accelerate growth. “Technology is a crucial element of our growth plan," Easterbrook said in a statement.


With the agreement, McDonald's becomes the sole owner of Dynamic Yield, based in New York and Tel Aviv. The hamburger chain will continue to invest in Dynamic Yield, which remains an independent company.