McDonalds Buys Dynamic Yield For $300 Million to Bring Big Data to Drive-Thru

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“In a testament to the value of personalization, McDonald’s announced plans to acquire an Israel-based startup that uses data to serve up personalized offers to customers. According to people familiar with the matter, McDonald’s will acquire Dynamic Yield for upwards of $300 million.

The acquisition will inject technology into multiple areas of the traditional fast food restaurant, starting with a core feature: the drive-thru. McDonald’s tested the technology in a Miami location, where, according to Wired, the company’s algorithms took real-life factors like weather and traffic into account, suggesting appropriate menu items.

Thanks to new technology, restaurants collect plenty of data. But the practical application of that data is big business, and McDonald’s is seizing that opportunity with the Dynamic Yield buy.

“Upon closing of the acquisition, McDonald’s will begin to roll this technology out in the drive thru at restaurants in the United States in 2019 and then expand the use to other top international markets,” the company said in a statement on the news. “McDonald’s will also begin work to integrate the technology into all of its digital customer experience touchpoints, such as self-order kiosks and McDonald’s global mobile app.”

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McDonald’s Spent $48 Million to Push Bacon in February

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“McDonald’s led all companies in advertising dollars spent at $48 million, less than what the chain allocated in January. Taco Bell (second on the list) cut its TV advertising funding by nearly half, likely due to Grubhub picking up most of the tab for its joint commercial with the chain touting limited time free delivery. Grubhub reportedly spent just under $7 million in ad dollars in February.

The biggest surprise of the month was Arby’s, which catapulted up 26 spots from January to crack the top 10 in advertising dollars spent. The quick service restaurant has completed a large sales turnaround in recent years by relying more on promotions and new deli meats to entice customers, according to Forbes. The chain’s success also led its parent company to acquire both Buffalo Wild Wings and Sonic in 2018.

Overall, quick service restaurants and pizza chains dominated TV advertising again in February, with Yum Brands’ subsidiaries — Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC — in the top 10 for the fourth consecutive month.  Olive Garden and Applebee’s, the casual restaurants that cracked the top 10 in January, ended February at 11 and 14, respectively, after shelling out more than $10 million each.”

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Taco Bell and Chipotle Want to Shave Time off Food Deliveries

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“When it comes to restaurant delivery, speed matters. And the burrito chains want to be faster.

Taco Bell –– which now offers delivery at roughly two-thirds of its U.S. restaurants through GrubHub Inc. with plans to continue expanding the service –– says its average delivery time is 34 minutes. The company acknowledges that’s not good enough for today’s demanding customer.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., meanwhile, says it’s averaging between 28 and 32 minutes for delivery, but it thinks it can shave four minutes or so as it expands pickup shelves across the nation. It’s also introducing prepaid delivery so drivers don’t have to pay in stores. It’s all part of a digital push that is a key part of the comeback plan laid out under Chief Executive Officer Brian Niccol in his first year on the job.”

“While restaurant delivery has long been part of the culture in major cities like New York and San Francisco, pizza was often the only option in many markets. That has started to change as on-demand delivery services like DoorDash, Postmates and Uber Eats have proliferated, joining GrubHub to expand delivery options.”

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Chipotle skips sponsorship of college bowl games, offers free delivery instead

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In honor of college football season, Chipotle Mexican Grill is offering free delivery now through Jan. 7 on any Chipotle order worth $10 or more.

“Given the iconic nature of Chipotle’s Burrito Bowl, many consumers have pointed out that we should sponsor a bowl game,” Chipotle CMO Chris Brandt, said in a company press release. “We listened and decided to do something about it. But, rather than spending millions on a traditional game sponsorship, we decided to give that money back to our fans in the form of free delivery.”

With the help of expanded delivery partnerships and the ability to offer delivery directly within Chipotle’s mobile app and website, the company has seen steady growth in digital orders. Last quarter, digital sales grew 48 percent, with digital orders accounting for 11.2 percent of sales, according to the release.

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New on the Menu: Jack in the Box’s Late-Night Proposition

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“Jack in the Box is expanding its “french fries in a box” concept to two more potato, fat, and dairy concoctions that would make any cardiologist squirm. In the company’s defense, they’re going to try just about anything to keep their franchisees happy right now. Also in Jack’s defense? It doesn’t have the meal in this installment that must worry doctors the most.

Every few weeks Skift Table will wrap up the latest seasonal and new items on chain restaurant menus in the United States. We don’t call out everything (sorry limited-time Pumpkin Spice something), but we will call out items that are notable for what they mean to a chain, the season, or consumer habits.”

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Fast Food Prices Rise to Better Reflect True Costs

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“Dollar cheeseburgers and discount nuggets are getting Americans in the door at their favorite fast-food joints, but the savings end there.

Even as the recent fast-food discount wars rage on, with Burger King advertising 10 chicken nuggets for $1 and Pizza Hut offering $5 pies, fast-food items that don’t make it onto value menus are actually climbing in price. Median fast-food hamburger prices have jumped 54 percent over the last decade to about $6.95, according to menu researcher Datassential. Chicken sandwiches are up 27 percent. Both surpass overall U.S. price inflation during that same time.”

“McDonald’s Corp., the world’s biggest restaurant chain, recently started touting a $6 meal including a burger, fries, a drink and a pie, but it’s also offering plenty of items at the other end of the price scale. Its honey-barbecue glazed chicken tenders are more than $6 without any drinks or sides, and the new Bacon Smokehouse Quarter Pounder meal runs nearly $9 in Chicago.”

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Bark Hot Dogs Closes Up Shop

10435790_10152728392254916_3747257176259248714_n.0.0.jpgAfter a brief stint with a second location in Greenwich village last year which closed after six months, the 7 year-old Bark Hot Dogs will officially close up shop completely on February 7th. Bark was a Park Slope standby for many years, and owner Joshua Sharkey had previously talked about plans to open a different Manhattan location in a new neighborhood. That now seems unlikely, although Sharkey has been vague on the exact reasons for closure, stating only that (unlike the Greenwich Village location), rent was not the primary factor.

In honor of their final week, Bark’s popular homemade condiments will be available in bulk for $5 a pound. Stock up now for Superbowl Sunday, and get one last dog before they’re gone.

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