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Retail IT use case: What is McDonald’s next-generation store and customer tracking method?

McDonald’s, a major hamburger chain, is leveraging IT and digital technology to introduce innovative services one after another. As part of this effort, we acquired a large IT company in 2019.

In Japan, we are also introducing “next-generation stores” that offer a more comfortable store experience. What kind of digitalization is McDonald’s promoting?

Retail IT use case: What is McDonald's next-generation store and customer tracking method?

table of contents

  1. McDonald’s initiatives to accelerate future store experiences
  2. Supports mobile ordering so you can purchase without queuing up
  3. Will you no longer have to leave your seat with table delivery?
  4. Thorough use of technology to realize next-generation stores
  5. Issues faced by McDonald’s
  6. Implementation content
  7. Benefits gained from using IT
  8. Introduced products and services
  9. summary

McDonald’s initiatives to accelerate future store experiences

Nowadays, no one knows about McDonald’s. A global company with over 36,000 hamburger restaurants around the world. In Japan, the company opened its first store, the Ginza store, inside the Ginza Mitsukoshi store on July 20, 1971, and has since expanded to approximately 3,000 stores. With the motto of “developing a business that creates new satisfaction that exceeds expectations for the food opportunities of 120 million people,” we are developing a business that enriches the food and lives of Japanese people.

Supports mobile ordering so you can purchase without queuing up

McDonald’s Japan has introduced “mobile ordering” at some stores in Shizuoka Prefecture since April 2019. Mobile ordering is a service that allows you to order products using a smartphone app before coming to the store, and then simply make a cashless payment on the app when you arrive at the store , allowing you to pick up the freshly made products. This is a convenient service that allows you to pick up your products without having to wait in line at the store, and only accepts cashless payments.

Will you no longer have to leave your seat with table delivery?

If you want to eat inside, in addition to picking up your order at the counter, we have also added a service called “Table Delivery,” in which our staff will bring your order to your seat.

By combining these two services, you don’t have to wait in line at the register or even get up from your seat. This is a service that would have been unimaginable at a traditional fast food restaurant.

Thorough use of technology to realize next-generation stores

McDonald’s Japan calls this next-generation service “Future Store Experience” and aims to introduce it nationwide.

In addition, on March 25, 2019, McDonald’s acquired Dynamic Yield, a startup company that uses AI (artificial intelligence) to provide personalization for each customer.

The acquisition price is said to be 300 million dollars (approximately 33 billion yen), making it the company’s largest acquisition in the past 20 years.

McDonald’s aims to use Dynamic Yield’s technology to customize drive-thru menus to suit factors such as time of day, weather, store crowds, and menu trends.

Additionally, once a customer places an order, it will suggest additional menu items based on their selections. McDonald’s tested this approach at several U.S. stores in 2018, with plans to expand internationally.

Furthermore, on September 10 of the same year, we announced the acquisition of Apprente, a startup company that develops conversation agents that enable voice orders in multiple languages. We are developing a voice drive-thru that is said to make ordering “faster, easier, and more accurate.”

McDonald’s is making these large-scale investments in response to the global wave of digitalization. McDonald’s IT adoption will continue to advance on a global level.

Issues faced by McDonald’s

McDonald’s Sweden is a successful example of marketing using IT.

McDonald’s Sweden has developed a branded app that delivers daily content tailored to customers’ needs. We distribute marketing campaigns for new products as well as coupons to increase sales and customer numbers. We wanted to use this app as a stepping stone to further strengthen our relationships with our customers.

Implementation content

Based on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, we have added the Plexure (contextual analysis platform) analytics and insight system. Specifically, the following features have been added:

  • Track customers through Microsoft’s digital platforms using the personal ID used to register your app
  • Create targeted marketing messages by collecting and analyzing information such as customer preferences, favorite stores, and coupon redemption history.

Benefits gained from using IT

By leveraging the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, we achieved the following results:

Increase in number of users

It serves millions of users in five countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and the United Kingdom), and 10% of the population has downloaded the app. As a result, we were able to reach more customers.

Improving brand loyalty

Based on each customer’s menu browsing habits, we delivered coupons and messages about new products that matched their purchasing habits. As a result, redemption rates for targeted offers increased by 700%.

Improving promotion effectiveness

By providing personalized content based on customer information, more users continue to use the app. Customers spend up to 47% more when using coupons.

Introduced products and services

Microsoft Azure is a highly reliable cloud service with cutting-edge technology and an overwhelming track record of implementation.

It supports both PaaS and IaaS, and new features and services are being added one after another. Starbucks, a coffee chain based in Seattle, also utilizes AI technology using reinforcement learning, IoT technology, etc. using the Microsoft Azure platform .

The main services of Microsoft Azure include:

AI+machine learning

Utilizing AI (artificial intelligence), we perform image analysis, voice recognition, natural dialogue, and future predictions using various data. Our cutting-edge machine learning capabilities make it easy to build, train, and deploy machine learning models.

Knowledge mining makes it easy to find information such as documents and images by using the search service “Azure Search” that can pull out information from a variety of content .

In addition, by using AI apps, you can approach AI models built from various services, and each service can utilize AI and deploy it for any purpose.


DevOps makes it easy to build, release, test, and monitor cloud and mobile apps.

A feature of DevOps is that it allows you to perform a variety of developments tailored to your company, and there is a wide range of products available.

ID management and access management

It manages user identities and access rights and protects devices, data, apps, and infrastructure from malicious attacks.


Microsoft Azure databases are distributed and managed across the world, allowing you to retrieve the data you need from anywhere at any time.

Since it is a fully managed service and has high availability, you can use it stably without suffering from downtime.


When it comes to computing, you get the infrastructure you need to run your apps, as much as you need. It supports a wide range of uses, including using hybrid environments to deploy and migrate Windows and Linux virtual machines.


The number of companies using the Microsoft Azure platform is increasing in Japan. When used well, digital marketing can strengthen relationships with customers and improve employee productivity.

This may give you a hint to revamp your traditional business model and stay one step ahead of your competitors.


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