McDonald's wants to McPersonalize its customer experience.
The fast food giant has bought personalization platform Dynamic Yield to inject real-time decision making into outdoor digital Drive Thru menus so they can display and suggest menu items based on weather, time of day, restaurant traffic and customers' current selections.
McDonald's will roll out the technology in all US locations this year and then expand into "other top international markets". McDonald's will also integrate the tech into its other digital touchpoints, like its app and self-order kiosks.
McDonald's president and chief executive officer Steve Easterbrook said if websites like Amazon and Walmart can use personalization tools to suggest recommended items, then McDonald's should be applying that same experience to its intelligent menu boards.
"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," said Easterbrook.
The acquisition comes as McDonald's revenue continues to slide. It posted $21b in annual earnings for 2018, nearly an 8% decrease year-over-year.
Graham Cooke, founder and chief executive officer of personalization tech company Qubit, said this was a necessary move for McDonald's and that other companies should follow suit.
"Personalization has come of age with every industry and business now looking at it as a key way to get closer to their customers. We’re seeing validation everywhere we look and those brands that see personalization as a strategic advantage are reaping the rewards.
"Technology is enabling this, and for world-leading brands, like our customers in retail, travel and gaming, personalization is where they will see the growth of their revenues," said Cooke.
Upon completion of the deal, McDonald's will be the sole owner of Dynamic Yield, which will remain a standalone company and continue to serve its current, and any future, clients.