McDonald’s to open 10,000 stores by 2027, embracing AI technology

In an unprecedented growth strategy, McDonald’s has announced plans to inaugurate approximately 10,000 new outlets globally by 2027. This expansion represents the most rapid growth phase in the fast-food giant’s 60-year history, according to a recent company statement. Despite the inflationary pressures that have escalated costs across the fast-food industry, McDonald’s has experienced a surge in demand. This financial buoyancy, reflected in an 8.1% increase in same-store sales and a robust $6.69 billion revenue in the third quarter, is driving the company’s ambitious expansion from its current 40,000 locations in over 100 countries to a projected 50,000.

McDonald's to open 10,000 stores by 2027, embracing AI technology

A McDonald’s spokesperson, in communication with CBS News, disclosed the company’s focus on the U.S. market, aiming to establish 900 new restaurants domestically, with the remainder spreading internationally. Parallel to this physical expansion, McDonald’s plans to substantially grow its loyalty program, targeting an increase from 150 million to 250 million users by 2027. In a pioneering move, McDonald’s is aligning with artificial intelligence and cloud technology to revolutionize its restaurant operations.

The collaboration with Google Cloud, as revealed by Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, focuses on leveraging generative AI, cloud, and edge computing tools to deliver enhanced service quality, including “hotter, fresher food.” McDonald’s journey with AI began in 2019 with the acquisition of the Israeli tech firm Dynamic Yield for $300 million, aiming to personalize digital menu displays based on customer preferences. December of last year marked a significant milestone with the launch of McDonald’s first fully automated restaurant in Texas.

This pilot project, aiming to serve customers “faster and easier than ever before,” minimizes human intervention, allowing orders through a mobile app or kiosk, with an automated conveyor delivering the meals. This initiative aligns with the broader industry trend towards automation, especially in response to labor shortages in low-wage roles within the fast-food and service sectors. Starting in 2024, McDonald’s plans to introduce new software across its outlets, leveraging AI to enhance customer experiences and operational efficiency.