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MCDONALD’S BITES ON BIG DATA WITH $300 MILLION ACQUISITION

March 26, 2019

By Anthony Ha, TechCrunch

A McDonald's Corp. Restaurant Ahead Of Earnings Figures

McDonald’s is announcing an agreement to acquire personalization company Dynamic Yield.

The announcement does not include a price, but a source with knowledge of the deal said that it’s more than $300 million. This is the fast food chain’s largest acquisition in 20 years.

Dynamic Yield  works with brands across e-commerce, travel, finance and media to create what’s been described as an Amazon-style personalized online experience.

McDonald’s said it will use this technology to create a drive-thru menu that can be tailored to things like the weather, current restaurant traffic and trending menu items. Once you’ve started ordering, the display can also recommend additional items based on what you’ve already chosen.

In fact, the company said it tested this in several U.S. locations in 2018. The plan is to start rolling this out across the United States in 2019, and then to move into international markets. McDonald’s also plans to integrate this technology into other digital products, like self-serve kiosks and the McDonald’s mobile app.

“Technology is a critical element of our Velocity Growth Plan, enhancing the experience for our customers by providing greater convenience on their terms,” said McDonald’s president and CEO Steve Easterbrook in a statement. “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.”

The plan that Easterbrook is referring to was first announced in March 2017, with a focus on technology like the McDonald’s mobile app and its Experience of the Future stores.

At the same time, McDonald’s said Dynamic Yield will continue to operate as a standalone company serving existing and future clients, and that it will continue to invest in the core personalization technology.

According to Crunchbase, Dynamic Yield has raised a total of $83.3 million from investors, including Innovation Endeavors, Bessemer Venture Partners and Marker Capital, as well as strategic backers like Naver (which owns the messaging apps Line and Snow), Baidu, The New York Times and Deutsche Telekom.

“We started Dynamic Yield seven years ago with the premise that customer-centric brands must make personalization a core activity,” said Dynamic Yield co-founder and CEO Liad Agmon in a statement. “We’re thrilled to be joining an iconic global brand such as McDonald’s and are excited to innovate in ways that have a real impact on people’s daily lives.”