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.
Currently, the technology is live in about 700 U.S. restaurants. But within the next two weeks, Easterbrook said Friday, it’s going to skyrocket to 8,000 locations. By year’s end, it will be integrated in nearly 100 percent of drive thrus not just in the U.S., but in Australia as well.
Easterbrook was noticeably excited about this launch during Friday’s call, and it’s easy to understand why. He said customers have responded by adding French fries, drinks, Chicken McNuggets, and other favorites to orders. McDonald’s has seen an increase in average check, Easterbrook added, by improving its ability to offer customers what they are likely to want with suggestions based on those aforementioned factors, as well as items already in their orders.
“I’ve got to say, three months in, couldn’t be more pleased with the integration of Dynamic Yield,” he said, “both as a company and as a culture. But also, frankly, getting the capabilities into our restaurants.”
In those 700 units, McDonald’s has witnessed consistent trends across different dayparts, days of the week, and markets. “We know the technology works,” Easterbrook said. “So we’re going to go from about 800 now to 8,000 by this time in two weeks, which is fantastic.”
There’s another rewarding aspect at play, too. This tech doesn’t just resonate with consumers, it also makes employees’ lives easier. The order-taking process has proven quicker because workers don’t need to manually upsell items to guests—the tech does it for them. And beyond that being an efficient model, it serves as a fail-safe, consistent approach to something that can be trained and drilled into employees and yet still fall through the multi-unit cracks—a challenge any large restaurant operator can attest to. You can tell 100 employees in a room to do something 100 times and end up still having to tell them another 100. Even so, they might not do it.
Rao added, “More to the point: every time you interact with a customer and don’t offer them something highly customized and relevant to their personal interests, you are missing an opportunity to make a sale or earn their loyalty.”
As restaurants are finding out, inspiring loyalty often comes down to catering to guests’ individual needs. That’s what they’re used to elsewhere. Why not in their food-purchasing journey?
McDonald’s Dynamic Yield deal was a bet on the future of customer behavior and the reality that people have been trained by online retailers to expect instant personalization, customization, and recommendations. And that unlock is about to arrive in full force for McDonald’s.