McDonald’s And Predictive Analytics: They’re Lovin’ It

Restaurant icon cooks up turnaround with forensic data analysis and digital kiosks

Founded in 1940 by two brothers, McDonald’s is a global giant at the very top table of retail brands, serving 3.5 million people a day and generating $25 billion in annual revenue. With 35,000 restaurants all over the world, you're never far from a Quarter Pounder with Cheese or a box of Chicken McNuggets. But, despite the ubiquity of the famous golden arches, McDonald's hasn't been immune from evolving customer expectations. In the last five years, stiff competition from perceived healthier options has taken a real bite out of McDonald’s profits. The last full financial year saw income dropping by 15 per cent year-on-year to $4.7bn. But fast forward 12 months and the company is well on the road to recovery with third quarter profits beating market expectations.

Data analytics and digital self-service service kiosks are at the heart of this turnaround. "Early last year, we put the customer back at the centre of everything we're doing. That mindset ignited our turnaround and continues to guide our decision-making, as evidenced by the enhancements we are making to the All Day Breakfast menu in the US, the leadership moves we've made around sustainability, and the significant progress we're making to create a more modern customer experience as part of the Experience of the Future," Stephen Easterbrook, President, Chief Executive Officer & Director of McDonald’s, told analysts earlier in 2016.

“We're applying forensic analytics across all aspects of our businesses, both from an external and internal viewpoint, to identify and pursue opportunities for longer-term growth," he added.

“We're applying forensic analytics across all aspects of our businesses, both from an external and internal viewpoint, to identify and pursue opportunities for longer-term growth."

Ordering Big Macs with big screen display

If you've recently popped in to a McDonald's, you'll no doubt have noticed the giant digital kiosks that greet you upon entry. Currently, installed in over 50 per cent of outlets throughout Europe, the $120,000 (£98,689) kiosks allow you to order and customise your meal as well as pay via a variety of methods. McDonald's has seen plenty of benefits since deploying these self-checkout systems – everything from reduced queuing times and elimination of human error to increased average customer spend. Crucially, it has also made it easier for the fast food restaurant to collect data and learn about customer behaviour.

The launch of the smart kiosks is the natural evolution of digital signage technology, Dobson continued. "Originally, displays were used to push out messages to customers. Now we are powering responsive screens that allow people to interact with them and change content based on demographics and location. These systems give customers a faster, more accurate and more exciting user experience and can be deployed across various industries."


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