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McDonald's plans to add about 10,000 new stores worldwide by 2027

McDonald's plans to open about 10,000 new stores worldwide by 2027 in what it anticipates will be the "fastest period of growth" in its 60-year history, the company said in a news statement on Wednesday.

While inflation has sent prices at fast food restaurants skyrocketing and prices at limited-service restaurants up 6.2% over the past year, McDonald's has not felt the pinch: Same-store sales are up 8.1% and the company reported $6.69 billion in revenue for the third quarter. This increased demand has pushed the company to "accelerate the pace of restaurant openings," from 40,000 McDonald's in over 100 countries to 50,000 stores.

In an email to CBS News, a McDonald's spokesperson confirmed it targets opening 900 restaurants in the U.S. and the rest internationally. Coupled with the openings, the company said McDonald's will double down on its loyalty program with goals to increase from 150 million users to 250 million by 2027.

McDonald's is also planning to use artificial intelligence and cloud technology to enhance its restaurant operations. The company announced it will work with Google Cloud on automation innovation to lead to "hotter, fresher food." Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, said they are "excited to see how McDonald's will use our generative AI, cloud, and edge computing tools."

McDonald's has experimented with using AI to streamline its operations for years. In 2019, the company purchased Israeli technology company Dynamic Yield for $300 million to change digital menu boards based on customer preferences.

Last December, McDonald's opened its first automated test restaurant in Texas to find "new ways to serve [customers] faster and easier than ever before." Humans are hardly involved; customers can order through the mobile app or kiosk and an automatic conveyor brings the food to customers. Amid a labor shortage, experts are predicting a shift towards automation, particularly in low-wage positions in the fast-food and service industries.

Beginning in 2024, McDonald's said the company will roll out new software, aided by AI, for all customers and restaurants.

Reporting contributed by Aimee Picchi and Kate Gibson

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