McDonald’s relies on data science and machine learning for its digital transformation

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McDonald’s relies on data science and machine learning for its digital transformation

For several years, technologies related to big data and AI have been exploited by the famous fast food chain, McDonald’s. The multinational announced to strengthen its exploitation of machine learning and data science. The firm claims to have provided more than fifteen use cases and sent about thirty models in production. According to its forecasts, the use of machine learning should be multiplied by four or five by the end of the calendar year.

A “democratization” of machine learning within McDonald’s

Speaking at the Data + AI 2021 Summit, which took place in digital from 24-28 May 2021, Patrick Baginski, senior director of data science and analytics at McDonald’s, spoke about the firm’s ambitions for its use of machine learning around the world:

“We’re largely using out-of-the-box capabilities, and so we also want to continue to educate and provide learning opportunities for our teams, for the market, for the different people that are part of the McDonald’s system. We want to implement more end-to-end automation and machine learning operations, in general […], and we want to continue to implement governance, as well as cost control measures to make sure that what we do from a business perspective continues to make sense.”

Over the course of 2020, the fast-food chain introduced tools from DataBricks, known for its Delta Lake, MLflow administered and Koalas solutions.

Setting up a process to leverage machine learning and data science

Abhi Bhatt, McDonald’s global director of data science and analytics, explained in his remarks, how data would be leveraged by McDonald’s through DataBricks’ tool platform:

“The way we do it is we try to bring all the data into an s3 bucket where the data lake is enabled […] which helps us to do the versioning of the data and also build scalable and powerful feature engineering pipelines within the platform. We’ve not only identified the tools, the technology, we’ve done the legal paperwork, which can still be a hassle, but we’ve also identified the use cases, built the models and deployed them.”

The company has reportedly gone from almost no use of machine learning and data science to “producing machine learning operations at scale.” Since launching its digital transformation strategy, McDonald’s has managed to come up with more than 15 use cases as well as about 30 models in production that have been deployed in countries where McDonald’s runs its operations.

Machine learning is expected to be more widely used within the firm by the end of the year

Several machine learning-related deployment frameworks have been built for users to ensure, according to McDonald’s, appropriate security frameworks for developing and deploying machine learning models. Currently, there are 130,000 Databricks units in use for approximately 27,000 hours of computation consumed, all on a monthly basis.

Automation of marketing-related activities remains a priority for McDonald’s, such as customer interaction and cross-channel performance measurement.

Translated from McDonald’s mise sur la data science et le machine learning pour sa transformation digitale

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