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From Big Data to Big Mac; how McDonalds leverages Big Data

by Dashboard Insight, Dashboard InsightFriday, November 29, 2013

Big data. We hear those word a lot these days, but who is using it and how? Big Data Startups takes a lot at how the fast food giant McDonald's is making use of big data. To quote the golden arches; "I'm loving it".

McDonald’s is a massive global food service retailer with more than 34.000 local restaurants serving more than 69 million people in 118 countries each day. Their daily customer traffic is 62 million customers and they sell approximately 75 burgers every second. With annual revenue of $ 27 billion and over 750.000 employees McDonald’s is a huge company. Americans alone consume one billion pounds of beef at McDonald’s in a year. It might be clear that they generate vast amounts of data, but how do they leverage that data?

In the past years, McDonald’s became an information-centric organization that makes data-driven decisions. In order to achieve that, they created a project development model were analytics forms a major aspect of the teams, but not the central part. Just as I discussed in the Big Data Roadmap, McDonald’s creates multi-disciplinary teams to discover, develop and deploy new solutions across the organization. In the discovery phase they try to rapidly come up with ideas and incubate them and as such they have just a few skill sets involved. For example operations, IT, analytics and engineering. While in the development phase they will add additional skills such HR, Training, Finance in order to get the right perspective and develop these new projects. Finally, in the deployment phase more diverse departments become involved, such as marketing or design. Mike Cramer, Director of Operations Research, advises a cross-functional approach with a business focus to achieve a great level of success, especially in the big data and analytics area.

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