What has Artificial Intelligence got to do with fast food? Well, now that McDonald's has spent $300M on acquiring AI company Dynamic Yield, everything.
 
Here's a bit of back story: McDonald's is no stranger to using tech to improve upon its processes and generate more revenue. For instance, some time back, the company launched a mobile app that customers could use to order meals and get access to exclusive deals.

According to McDonald's Global Chief Marketing Officer Silvia Lagnado, the mobile app has become a key driver of sales in international markets. More specifically: in Japan, customers who place orders via the McDonald's app spend an average of 35 percent more.

McDonald's acquisition of AI company Dynamic Yield

So, McDonald's has been using technology to improve its processes for years now. But in trying to give its customers an even more personalized experience, it's now bringing out the big guns... and that's AI technology.

How would AI help in selling fast food? To start off with, McDonald's intends to use Dynamic Yield's AI-based system to power its drive-throughs. Using this system, McDonald will be able to promote items based on time of day, the weather, and even traffic levels at restaurants.

For example, the system might recommend their McFlurry ice cream on a hot day. If there's a long line at the drive through, the system would highlight simpler items that employees can prepare more quickly and easily.

At the same time, McDonald's is also working on pushing out number-plate recognition. This allows the fast food chain to recognize frequent drive-through customers, and offer them their usual food order. Pretty cool, huh?

Think you're too broke to make use of technology?

If you're an entrepreneur, you, too, should take advantage of the technology that you have at your fingertips, and use this to scale your company.

Now, I know what you're thinking... I'd like to invest in technology too, but my margins are too slim, and there's no way I can afford to do this.

Well, here's the thing: if you invest in technology and use it to improve upon your services and processes, this means:

A. You get more work done in a shorter period of time, which saves you cost, and
B. You can charge more for your products and services, with generates more revenue.

Personally speaking, I've heard a lot of business owners in the home services industry complain that the maximum they can charge for a repair is $300 or so. Their gripe is that this keeps their margins low, which makes it tough for them to invest in technology.

If you ask me, though, it's a chicken-and-egg problem, and these business owners just have to bite the bullet, and spend on technology.

Case in point? With my company, I made the call to set up a tracking system that allows us to automatically text our customers when their technicians are on the way. As you might imagine, this technology doesn't come cheap. That said, it allows us to provide a better service to our customers, and because we do this, we can afford to charge higher prices.

Are you ready for the fourth Industrial Revolution? Make sure you take advantage of the technology that's available to you, and this will help you gain a leg up on the competition.

Published on: Apr 20, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.