Today, McDonald’s announced that this company is planning to buy the Apprente which is the startup building conversational agents that can automate voice-based ordering in multiple languages.
This company has already tested the Apprente’s technology in limited locations, creating voice-activated drive-thrus (along with robot fryers) that it said will offer “faster, simpler and more accurate order taking.” If that sounds like a good fit for the fast-food drive-thru, that’s exactly what McDonald’s leadership has in mind.
McDonald’s mentioned that this technology can be used also in mobile and kiosk ordering. This technology can allow restaurants to operate with smaller staffs.
McDonald’s obtained online personalization startup Dynamic Yield for more than $300 million at the beginning of this year with the goal of designing a drive-thru experience that’s customized based on things like weather and restaurant traffic. It also invested in mobile app company Plexure.
Currently, this company is looking to double down on its technology investments by designing a new Silicon Valley-based group which is called McD Tech Labs that the Apprente team becoming the group’s founding members and Apprente co-founder Itamar Arel becoming vice president of McD Tech Labs.
McDonald’s also mentioned that this company will develop the team by hiring more data scientists, engineers, and other tech experts.
Steve Easterbrook, The McDonald’s President, and CEO mentioned in a statement that “Building our technology infrastructure and digital capabilities are fundamental to our Velocity Growth Plan and enable us to meet rising expectations from our customers while making it simpler and even more enjoyable for crew members to serve guests. Apprente’s gifted team and the technology they have developed will form McD Tech Labs, a new group integrated in our Global Technology team that will take our culture of innovation one step further.”
According to Crunchbase, the Apprent was founded in 2017 and raised a total of $4.8 million from investors including AME Cloud Ventures, Pathbreaker Ventures, Point72 Ventures, Morado Ventures, Greylock Partners and StageOne Ventures.