McDonald's has announced the acquisition of Apprente, a startup that specializes in the development of artificial intelligence-based voice technology.
The company will join the McD Tech Labs, established in Silicon Valley. McDonald's will use the acquired technology to serve customers at American Drive Thru (MakAvto), taking orders and handing them over to the kitchen. The technology has already been tested in several US restaurants, allowing the company to provide "faster, easier and more accurate" ordering.
McDonald's also hopes the new technology will allow voice orders to be taken through self-service kiosks and a mobile app, allowing fewer staff to work on orders in the future.
Apprente was founded in 2017 and raised $4.8 million in investments. The amount of the transaction for the sale of the startup was not disclosed. For McDonald's, this is the third deal in the technology market since the beginning of 2019. This spring, the corporation announced it was buying online startup Dynamic Yield for $300 million to create a unique experience that calculates a dynamic menu based on traffic and weather conditions. A month later, McDonald's invested in Plexure's mobile app.
“Establishing our technology infrastructure and digital capabilities are fundamental to our Growth Speed Plan and allow us to meet the growing expectations of our customers while helping our team serve guests with more enjoyment and less cost,” said McDonald’s President and CEO Steve Easterbrook.
With the new acquisition, McD Tech Labs will expand its team of developers, data scientists, engineers and other technical experts. The company hopes that the new group will promote the culture McDonald's innovation one step ahead.