McDonald’s Embraces Artificial Intelligence for Fast Food

By now you’ve seen the big news about the world’s largest fast-food chain by revenue. It was a bit shocking that it took this long to happen, but McDonald’s (MCD) is finally embracing advanced technologies like artificial intelligence to boost sales. The guy credited with the turnaround at the 65-year-old restaurant behemoth since 2015, Steve Easterbrook, was behind the technological push that saw McDonald’s not only embrace digital innovation but acquire two AI companies this year.

This is big news for a few reasons. Before this year, it had been nearly two decades since the company made its last acquisition of a mediocre fast-food chain called Boston Chicken. Most of the technological innovation before Easterbrook involved somewhat questionable food science in the form of the McRib sandwich. Or extreme (and inadvertent) advances in food preservation technology, such as the McDonald’s hamburger and fries on permanent display with a live feed that shows them in still near-perfect (if a little pale) condition after the last restaurant closed in Iceland about 10 years ago to the day:

Screenshot of 10-year-old hamburger.
Credit: Snotra House

But one of the biggest reasons for why you should care that McDonald’s is making technology core to its business is that it is one of the loudest signals to date that AI truly is the

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