McDonald’s partners with IBM to automate its drive-thru lanes

on Oct 27, 2021
  • As part of the agreement, McD Tech Labs will be given to IBM.
  • No financial terms have been released just yet.
  • McDonald’s shares rose by 2% after it released its quarter three results.

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On Wednesday, McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) said that it has decided to partner with IBM (NYSE: IBM) to help the tech company come up with AI-based technology that’ll help the company automate its drive-thru lanes. 

According to the agreement, IBM will get McDonald’s McD Tech Labs. McDonald’s bought this tech company way back in 2019 when it still went by Apprente. Both parties of the partnership haven’t disclosed any financial terms just yet. 

Senior management 

Chris Kempczinski, McDonald’s Chief Executive Officer, said on Wednesday:

In my mind, IBM is the ideal partner for McDonald’s given their expertise in building AI-powered customer care solutions and voice recognition.

The tech from Apprente uses artificial intelligence to understand and analyze the drive-thru orders made. This summer, the fast-food chain tested this tech out in some of its Chicago-based outlets. The CEO claimed that the test showcased some “substantial benefits” to both employees and customers alike. 

The CEO also shared the company’s strategy for technological acquisitions at the same conference in June. He said:

If we do acquisitions, it will be for a short period of time, bring it in house, jumpstart it, turbo it and then spin it back out and find a partner that will work and scale it for us.

McDonald’s Chief Finance Officer, Kevin Ozan, said that no more than 100 McDonald’s workers would leave to go to IBM. He said:

It isn’t a big financial statement impact, plus or minus, I’ll say, going forward from that.

Share Prices

On Wednesday morning, McDonald’s share prices shot up by around 2% after the food chain giant disclosed its third-quarter results. McDonald’s revenue and earnings topped analyst estimates as the chain bounced back in its international markets. 

These markets started doing better after many of the COVID restrictions were lifted in these regions. As a result, more and more people are starting to stream in physically to get a bite of their beloved ‘Big Mac.’ 


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