In sum, the case for more layers of sophisticated tech is not a hard one for McDonald’s to make.
On Wednesday, Kempczinski issued a systemwide message that was also circulated to select media outlets. He told employees he was still in the “listening” phase as “I work with our leaders across the business to determine how we’ll sustain our momentum.”
But then he added this:
“One of the things I’ve heard from all of you is your tremendous excitement about the potential for digital to strengthen and deepen relationships with our customers. Digital is transforming global retail, and it will transform McDonald’s. At the same time, I’ve heard your feedback that we still have more work to do to fulfill our digital potential.”
That thinking led to two announcements Wednesday. Firstly, Daniel Henry, the company’s global chief information officer, will now report directly to Kempczinski.
“Daniel has spearheaded a new product-centric approach to technology with a more agile approach that has my full support, and I believe will yield great dividends for us going forward,” Kempczinski said.
“As the technology team develops and refines these products, however, we must continue to look at everything through the lens of the customer,” he added. “At the same time, we must be cognizant of the development and operating costs associated with technology and ensure there is a compelling business case for both the company and franchisees.”
McDonald’s will now, in turn, take a more holistic approach that drives value from its existing customer-facing digital investments to engage customers and inspire profitable growth, the company said. Does that mean it will scale back spending, perhaps when it comes to buying additional platforms? Hard to guess. However, and this was the second announcement, McDonald’s is creating a new, dedicated “digital customer engagement” team, Kempczinski said. It will also report directly to him.
Lucy Brady is heading up the team in a newly created role of chief digital customer engagement officer. She’s spent the past three years as SVP, corporate strategy and business development with the company, and was part of the team that drove the rapid expansion of McDonald’s delivery business. The Brady-led group also ran point on the $300 million Dynamic Yield deal—something that’s “tangibly driving check growth,” Kempczinski said.