McDonald’s acquiring AI startup Dynamic Yield to modernize customer experience

McDonald’s announced that it will acquire the Israeli artificial intelligence (AI) start-up Dynamic Yield to help make the customer experience more personalized.

The US fast-food giant said it plans on using Dynamic Yield’s personalization and decision logic technology to improve its outdoor digital Drive Thru menu displays by showing food based on time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic and trending menu items.

McDonalds Popular
McDonald’s drive-thru digital menu board shows restaurant-specific popular items, based on the learnings of the decision logic technology.

“The decision technology can also instantly suggest and display additional items to a customer’s order based on their current selections,” McDonald’s said in a press release announcing the deal.

Rapid implementation of new technology

Daniel Henry, McDonald’s executive vice president and global chief information officer, told Wired that he expects to see the technology implemented across 1,000 locations within the next three months.

“Like anything else, we’re going to see that this has a capability for in-store kiosks, it has a capability for kitchens, for mobile order and pay,” Henry told Wired. “If we try to do that at once, we may lose focus. And we need to stay focused.”

McDonald’s didn’t disclose financial details of the deal, but it is reported to be paying $300m (£227m) for the tech firm.

Dynamic yield to remain stand-alone business

Upon closing, Dynamic Yield will remain a stand-alone company.

Steve Easterbrook, President and Chief Executive Officer, McDonald’s Corporation, said:

“Technology is a critical element of our Velocity Growth Plan, enhancing the experience for our customers by providing greater convenience on their terms,”

“With this acquisition, we’re expanding both our ability to increase the role technology and data will play in our future and the speed with which we’ll be able to implement our vision of creating more personalised experiences for our customers.”

Liad Agmon, co-founder and CEO of Dynamic Yield, added: “We started Dynamic Yield seven years ago with the premise that customer-centric brands must make personalization a core activity. We’re thrilled to be joining an iconic global brand such as McDonald’s and are excited to innovate in ways that have a real impact on people’s daily lives.”

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