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McDonald’s Buys AI Startup for Drive-Thru Menu Personalization

Karl Utermohlen

McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) is turning to digital technology to bolster its sales as the burger chain will acquire an artificial intelligence (AI) startup with tech that will improve menu personalization for drive-thru customers.

McDonald's Buys AI Startup

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The San Bernandino, Calif.-based restaurant said that it will buy Dynamic Yield, an AI business based out of Israel to create more personalized experiences for consumers. The tech will offer customers items on the menu boards at drive-thru outlets based on a number of factors, including the weather, how busy the restaurant is, as well as the time of the day.

The new McDonald’s tech will also instantly recommend additional items to customers based on their initial order, such as possibly offering hash browns or McCafe offerings with a breakfast sandwich. The Dynamic Yield acquisition will aid the company’s “ability to increase the role technology and data will play in our future,” according to a statement from McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook.

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The move will also bolster “the speed with which we’ll be able to implement our vision of creating more personalized experiences for our customers,” he said. It is unclear how large the deal is as McDonald’s has not commented on the acquisition’s dollar amount, which The Wall Street Journal reported as being north of $300 million.

The burger giant first tested the AI company’s tech in U.S. locations last year, and it plans on adding it to its platform this year. It will then add Dynamic Yield’s capabilities to major international markets, ass well as self-order kiosks and the McDonald’s mobile app.

MCD stock is up 0.9% Tuesday.

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