Burgers & Shake-ups: Digitising the Drive-Thru

March 27, 20193min

A plan by fast food giant McDonald’s to bring Digital Experience to the drive-thru could be a risk, it has been warned.

The company has announced plans to make it’s biggest deal in two decades – the purchase of tech firm Dynamic Yield for more than $300 million. It will allow McDonald’s to incorporate the firm’s technology at drive-thru locations to react to various factors, such as weather and demand inside the restaurant.

The deal is part of a plan by McDonald’s to upgrade up to 2,000 restaurants in the US, at a cost of almost $1 billion, increasing the number of digital menu boards and self-serve kiosks.

The new digital drive-thru tech has been trialled at various US sites, with plans underway for a US-wide, and eventually international, roll-out.

McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said of the Dynamic Yield deal: “With this acquisition, we’re expanding both our ability to increase the role technology and data will play in our future and the speed with which we’ll be able to implement our vision of creating more personalised experiences for our customers.”

However, some experts have warned that the plan could present problems for McDonald’s, and other firms keen to increase their tech provision through company purchases.

Raj Badarinath, VP of Marketing at San Francisco-based firm RichRelevance – which helps customers like John Lewis and Not On The High Street boost online experiences – said: “Tech acquisitions present a paradox. On the one hand, retailers need to invest in tech to stay even with, let alone get ahead of, the competition. On the other hand, tech acquisitions from Retailers can lead to proprietary technology infrastructures that end up hurting a company. So what’s the right balance?

“McDonald’s is an iconic brand, and this is a bold move for them. Will this work out for them? Only time will tell. But one thing is clear – Personalisation is here to stay, and the chequebooks are coming out to prove it.”


Paul Ainsworth

Paul Ainsworth

Experienced Irish journalist and former newspaper editor now helming executive editorial duties with Customer Experience Magazine, the UK's premier online source for Customer Experience news, features, and opinion, along with its sister site, CXM World.




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