The drive-thru accounts for a significant chunk of sales at McDonald’s restaurants across the globe and the company is now turning to artificial intelligence in order to drive those numbers up even further. It has acquired machine learning startup Dynamic Yield reportedly for $300 million. The technology it gets will enable it to use AI to optimize drive-thru menus.
What this means is that McDonald’s drive-thru menus will not be static in the future as they are today. The artificial intelligence technology will take into account various factors including local events, time, weather, traffic levels at the restaurant, and even what the customer is ordering to optimize the menu.
For example, if you’re ordering a sandwich, the drive-thru menu might proactively recommend fries or other side items even if you were not actively looking for them. The same tech may also promote iced coffees or the McFlurry on hot days and hot beverages when it’s cold out. If there’s a lot of traffic in the restaurant, it may suggest simpler items that are faster for employees to prepare.
McDonald’s has tested the technology at several locations in 2018 and the results have been promising so much so that it’s now going to roll out this technology to more than 1,000 locations in the next three months. The AI will ultimately be rolled out to all 14,000 U.S. locations in addition to overseas locations.
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