McDonald’s is considering selling part of AI startup Dynamic Yield, which it acquired in 2019, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
The original intention behind the $300 million Dynamic Yield acquisition was to install the company’s AI tech into self-service kiosks and drive-thru menu boards at McDonald’s locations. With the implementation, menus would become more technologically sophisticated, able to offer things like more personalized recommendations for customers. McDonald’s currently has Dynamic Yield implementations in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
But as WSJ reports, after analyzing the Dynamic Yield platform, McDonald’s has found that the tech “hasn’t delivered the promised sales boost” originally hoped for at the time of the deal. The QSR mega-chain aimed for Dynamic Yield order suggestions to boost drive-thru sales by 1 percent in the U.S. Sources told WSJ that sales have fallen short of that target, and one franchisee said that “the return on investment is just not there.”
The Dynamic Yield platform is just one piece of technology McDonald’s franchisees have called into question recently. Despite the chain’s aggressive push towards digital ordering and all the accompanying technological changes, franchisees have pushed back on how much they must pay for all this tech. Ernst & Young is currently conducting an audit of these technology fees, while franchisees have paused all non-essential communication with McDonald’s corporate.
Still, missed sales targets and franchisee tensions don’t spell the end of Dynamic Yield’s platform as part of Mickey D’s operations. McDonald’s said it would keep parts of the company, including those that service the chain’s drive-thrus and kiosks. While details are few and far between, McDonald’s shift towards stores with more drive-thru lanes and less dining room space suggest Dynamic Yield’s tech will continue to provide at least some value going forward.
McDonald’s is currently “exploring” the sale of a portion of Dynamic Yield. There is no set timeframe for a deal, and it is entirely possible that no deal at all will happen.