retail news in context, analysis with attitude

QSR reports on how McDonald’s plans in coming weeks to expand new predictive technology from 700 of its US locations to some 8,000 - which some experts believe will be “remembered as the point at which the brand became so good at anticipating and catering to consumer behaviors and desires that it would force other competitors to evolve or fall by the wayside.”

The technology was developed by decision-logic company Dynamic Yield, which McDonald’s acquired for $300 million last year.

According to the story, “Dynamic Yield is a big bet on machine learning - the idea that it’s not just a passing fad, but will become the backbone of customer service and marketing for restaurant chains everywhere … Dynamic Yield essentially puts predictive abilities into McDonalds drive-thru menuboards. It gives McDonald’s the chance to create a more personalized experience by varying outdoor digital drive-thru menu displays to show food based on time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic, and trending menu items. It can instantly suggest and show additional products to a customer’s order based on their current selections.”

CEO Steve Easterbrook explains the broad reason this way: “We knew we had to evolve with our changing market and consumer dynamics, and we knew incremental progress wasn’t going to cut it … We were keenly aware that the pace of change inside McDonald’s [was] being eclipsed by the pace of change outside our business.”
KC's View:
I’m not sure McDonald’s ever is going to be able to be predictive enough to attract me - unless they predict that what I really want is an In-n-Out burger, animal style - but I do think that this is a mark of how companies have to think and act if they are going to be players in the current environment. If they’re smart enough about this, I can see it becoming the kind of differentiator that prompts people to go to McDonald’s rather than to another fast feeder. In the end, that’s what they want.

In the end, that’s what you want.