McDonald's $300m acquisition of an Artificial Intelligence company heralds a new era in the way in which food menus will be adjusted and optimised in real time.
The application of artificial intelligence (or even human intelligence) in real time allows for some obvious optimisation of the menu to reflect weather patterns or local buying behaviours.
More interestingly, the ability to flex the menu to focus customers choice on easy to produce items, or higher margin products creates huge opportunity for optimisation.
With 68 million customers per day small improvements in efficiency or margin clearly yield massive prizes - and from a McDonald's perspective this more than justifies a $300m investment.
It will be interesting to see if customers notice that their choices are more actively being guided by these dynamic changes to menus, or if they continue to be blissfully unaware of the artificial intelligence steering their behaviour.
Of course as a standalone investment, Dynamic Yield is probably a fairly safe bet too - participating in one of the highest growth parts of the tech market.
So it seems to be a far sighted and strategic move all round!
McDonald’s is spending about $300m to buy an artificial intelligence company in the fast-food chain’s latest technology investment. In a rare move for the burger group, McDonald’s announced a deal on Monday to buy Dynamic Yield. The technology will allow McDonald’s to customise its menu displays based on variables such as the weather and the time of day — McFlurry ice creams in the heat or Sausage McMuffins at breakfast, for instance — as well as previous customer choices. It will also assess restaurant footfall to suggest food that is faster to prepare when the kitchen is busy, or more elaborate items in quieter stretches. McDonald’s, which serves about 68m customers each day from almost 38,000 outlets, plans to roll out the technology at its drive-through locations in the US this year before expanding it overseas.