McDonald's buys AI startup to customize its drive-through windows

McDonald’s Corp. just announced its biggest acquisition in two decades.

The burger giant said it purchased Israeli AI-powered startup Dynamic Yield Ltd., a leader in personalization and decision logic technology, in a bid to boost sales.

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The deal reportedly cost the fast food giant more than $300 million, people familiar with the matter told FOX Business.

The last notable acquisition for the Chicago-based company was acquiring restaurant chain Boston Market for $173.5 million in 1999, which it later sold to Sun Capital Partners. In 1998, it also took a  big stake in Chipotle Mexican Grill but sold that in 2006.

In a press release, McDonald’s said it will use Dynamic Yield’s technology to customize its drive-through windows by changing in real-time based on the time of day, weather, trending menu items and current restaurant traffic.

The technology can also instantly suggest and display additional items based on what the customer is ordering.

McDonald’s said it plans to roll out this technology this year in U.S. after testing it in several markets last year. Plans to expand internationally will happen at a later date.

In addition to its drive thrus, the company’s self-ordering kiosks and mobile apps will also get a digital makeover.

McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said the technology is a “critical element” in its growth plan and its vision in creating a more personalized experience for its customers. Over the years, McDonald’s has been aggressively making technology advancements throughout its restaurants by installing more self-ordering kiosks, developing mobile apps and by partnering with UberEats service to expand delivery.


Under terms of the deal, McDonald’s will become sole owner of Dynamic Yield but the company will remain a stand-alone unit whose employees will continue to operate out of the offices around the world. It will also continue to serve its clients, which include other big retailers such as IKEA, Forever 21 and Fendi and acquire new ones.