McDonald’s Tests AI-Powered Digital Menu Boards
At 700 U.S. locations, McDonald's has rolled out digital menu boards powered by Dynamic Yield's machine learning technology.
The QSR acquired the personalization and decision logic technology company earlier this year. Dynamic Yield's technology varies suggested offers by time of day, weather and trending menu items.
“Over time using data from the millions of customers that we serve daily, the technology will get smarter and smarter through machine learning,” said President and Chief Executive Officer, Steve Easterbrook, in an April 30 earnings call with analysts. "And using the data collected based on current restaurant traffic at the drive-thru, the technology will begin to suggest items that can make peak times easier on our restaurant operations and crew.”
It's still early days, but when the technology ecosystem is linked, it will provide a seamless ordering experience for customers and will work across McDonald’s digital platforms including its self-ordering kiosks and mobile app, he explained.
Digital menu boards and self-ordering kiosks are part of the brand’s Experience of the Future (EOTF) restaurants. In the U.S. about 60% of stores, approximately 8,000, have adapted the new format.
$3 Billion and Growing
Delivery continues to drive incremental sales and remains a “key part” of the brand’s Velocity Growth Plan.
“Delivery has grown to a $3 billion business for both McDonald's company and franchise restaurants globally and we believe there's a lot more opportunity to grow,” said Easterbrook. Currently McDelivery is offered in 20,000+ restaurants in 75 counties, or more than half of its locations.
Delivery from U.S. stores, which is offered through UberEats, is lagging behind its other markets such as the UK, Australia, France and Canada.
“Ultimately we really want to be able to offer customers two ways of ordering a meal through McDelivery:” through a third-party delivery operator and through McDonald’s global mobile app. “We believe we're making good progress,” he added. “Obviously there's a fair bit of technology work that has to go on to integrate it.”