AI News, 5 Very Hot Artificial Intelligence Stocks to Buy Now

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is getting personal with its customers, enlisting help from advanced technologies that the company says will kick its digital capabilities up a notch.

  chief executive, talked on the post-earnings conference call with analysts about Deep Brew, an artificial intelligence program, saying it has been percolating for the past year.

“Deep Brew will increasingly power our personalization engine, optimize store labor allocations and drive inventory management in stores,” said Johnson, according to a FactSet transcript.

Starbucks said it had 17.6 million active rewards members at the end of the fourth quarter, up 15% year-over-year.

Read: Starbucks revenue climbs 7% to top Street view as same-store sales increase “This is an important growth driver because we know from experience that when customers join Starbucks Rewards, their spend level with Starbucks increases meaningfully,” Johnson said.

The Starbucks Rewards program is also growing in China, where there were 10 million members as of the end of the fourth quarter and same-store sales were up 5%.

Starbucks reported late-Wednesday adjusted earnings per share of 70 cents, in line with FactSet consensus, and revenue of $6.75 billion, beating the $6.69 billion FactSet outlook.

“The majority of our beverage growth was driven by our cold platform, which grew across all dayparts, led by cold coffee, refreshment and tea,” said Patrick Grismer, Starbucks’ chief financial officer, on the call.

BTIG maintained its neutral stock rating due to valuation, but thinks the company will keep mining its beverage offerings for growth.

See: Molson Coors wants to make ‘Miller Time’ cool for millennials “We expect Starbucks to continue to favor beverage innovation over food as its current approach is attracting new customers and reliable comp drivers like digital and loyalty continue,” analysts said.

“We believe enhanced digital marketing/personalization and menu innovation, including new beverage news, a shift to healthier refreshment options, and a steady growth food platform, will continue to contribute to incremental growth,” analysts said.

KeyBanc also thinks Starbucks will continue to make improvements to fine tune its labor strategy to boost results, including leveraging Deep Brew.

In addition to the Nitro rollout, which required its own machines, there are new Mastrena machines in stores, which advance the espresso preparation by pulling three shots at a time rather than two.

“Today in our older machines you have to pull a doubleshot and then another single shot for any beverage that has three shots of espresso,” added CEO Johnson, highlighting the time-saving benefit of the new machines.

Don’t miss: Grubhub says customers are spreading their business among competitors, shares tank 43% “And so we get telemetry data that comes into our support center,” Johnson said.

“We can see every shot of espresso that’s being pulled and we can see centrally if there’s a machine that needs tuning or maintenance and that allows us to improve the quality of the shots that we’re pulling.” And with Deep Brew, Johnson said, Starbucks can see if they need to take any maintenance measures before the Mastrena breaks.

“The company has reinvested in core equities, expanded usage through new products, and integrated e-commerce into its global store network, all of which have contributed to positive consumer sentiment and greater spend per visit,” wrote Stifel analysts.

Would You Like Fries With That? McDonald’s Already Knows the Answer

So far, however, Domino’s has stopped short of the latest McDonald’s play: acquiring entire tech start-ups.

(Pizza Hut, however, recently acquired a company that produces online ordering software.) In March, McDonald’s spent more than $300 million to buy Dynamic Yield, the Tel Aviv-based company that developed the artificial intelligence tools now used at thousands of McDonald’s drive-throughs.

But at a time when it faces renewed protests from workers over low wages and sexual harassment, the chain’s new focus on technology could intensify scrutiny of how it treats its workers and how automation may affect them.

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