Winning out in the ‘Most Intelligent Use of Data’ category (sponsored by Software AG) was McDonald’s for its use of Dynamic Yield technology. In 2019 McDonald’s bought Dynamic-Yield, which provides algorithm-driven ‘decision logic’ technology. It is now moving to fit-out its restaurants with upgraded, Dynamic Yield-powered smart menu capabilities, which will use data to move its operations from one size fits all marketing to mass personalisation.

Daniel Arboleda of Software AG presents Michael Studer on behalf of McDonald’s the award for Most Intelligent Use of Data

McDonald’s serves 68 million people a day and a large percentage of those never leave their cars opting to order and pick up at Drive Thru windows. As the technology is rolled-out from 700 US branches, customers will see a shift from static menus to a menu that is responsive via algorithms to changes in weather, nearby traffic levels, time of day, other popular choices in that location, and, of course, the user’s past ordering history.

The system will get smarter and smarter the more customers interact with it. For example if a queue is moving slowly the menu can alter to prioritise products that can be prepared more quickly to speed everything up and vice versa during a quiet time more complex dishes can be pushed. Hot drinks will be upsold on rainy cold days while ice cream will be prioritised on hot ones.

The technology could eventually be used to aid decision making all the way back up the supply chain and has capabilities for in-store kiosks, for mobile order & pay and for kitchens.

Dynamic Yield in action

The software that powers the displays makes an API call with each order and Dynamic Yield returns those results – McDonald’s franchisees need to invest only modest sums to implement the technology. Another area which may benefit from dynamic menus are staffing and planning operations around busy times in each store. Judges in this popular category decided that the potential of this innovation was so impressive it fully justified winning the category.