Episode 14 – Zach Richard on Revolutionizing the QSR Industry Using Data & Analytics

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The quick service restaurants (QSR) industry is being revolutionized by data and analytics (DA) and artificial intelligence (AI). In this episode, Zachary Richard, director of global data science at McDonald’s, shares how the company is using data to boost customer and crew experience, the challenges with data exploration, streamlining different departments to avoid silos, and general tips and tricks!  

Listen to the full episode of the Decisions Now podcast, as co-hosts, Rigvinath Chevala, Evalueserve’s chief technology officer, and Erin Pearson, VP of marketing chat with Richard to get the scoop on how Mcdonald’s is paving the way to success using data analytics!  

Leveraging Data and Analytics to Transform the Experience

Analytics are revolutionizing the QSR industry like never before. From studying customer data to personalizing offers to boost brand loyalty, offering rewards, reducing time and other costs by getting ahead of supply and demand, strengthening strategies by examining crew data during busy hours, reducing errors in efficiency, saving on labor costs with voice-operated kiosks and much more. The power of data and analytics is the answer to many challenges and successes. 

Richard and his team are part of a larger push within McDonald’s to tie data and analytics together with their marketing, operations, and restaurant development to generate a new customer experience organization.  

“Everything that we do is geared towards improving the customer experience, but also the crew experience as well,” Richard said. “Making sure that people who are in the restaurants, from customers to crew are all having great, kind of what we call feel-good moments while there in the restaurant.” 

Pearson asked Richard how McDonald’s is finding success with these strategies.  

For the company, data to personalized marketing pipeline was made possible by massive amounts of data collection, and aggregation over the last few years, he added. They developed an internal system at the global level, pushing it out to various markets, and pushing advanced customer segmentation models through their global mobile application.  
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated things for us, where we were formerly at the lower end of adoption before, we saw our customer population move heavily in the digital space, generating more data, Richard said.  
With the use of its loyalty program, the company was able to navigate customer behaviors and preferences.  

“What are people coming back for? What are people spending their points on? What’s the behavior with redeeming points? Do people like to take advantage right away and get themselves an ice cream cone or do they like to hold out for that Double Quarter Pounder?” Richard added. “It kind of gives us a lot of interesting new data to point towards segmentation and personalization, which has been really exciting.”

Referencing her marketing background Pearson applauded the efforts and asked Richard how his team at McDonald’s is executing segmentation across the board and the impacts they’re seeing from these campaigns.  
We’re doing interesting things with recent promotions, by pushing offers to people using their past behaviors, and informing people of new or returning product launch dates like the crispy chicken sandwich, he said.