McDonald’s Acquires Second AI Firm in Six Months

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McDonald’s Acquires Second AI Firm in Six Months

McDonald’s Corporation (MCD) announced an agreement to acquire AI firm Apprente, a specialist in voice-based, conversational technology.

The burger-chain claims this to be a bold step in advancing employee and customer facing innovations that strengthens the companies technology capabilities. McDonald’s has made extensive exploration with several parties prior to this announcement, including evaluating Apprente’s solutions in a number of test restaurants.
Apprente was founded in 2017 in Mountain View, California, to create voice-based platforms for complex, multilingual, multi-accent and multi-item conversational ordering. In McDonald’s restaurants, this technology is expected to allow for faster, simpler and more accurate order taking at the Drive Thru with future potential to incorporate into mobile ordering and kiosks.
“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” said Steve Easterbrook, President and Chief Executive Officer, McDonald’s Corporation.

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.

McDonald’s commitment to innovation has long inspired our team. It was quite clear from our various engagements that McDonald’s is leading the industry with technology

said Itamar Arel, Ph.D., co-founder of Apprente and Vice President of McD Tech Labs.

Apprente was borne out of an opportunity to use technology to solve challenging real world problems and we’re thrilled to now apply this to creating personalized experiences for customers and crew.

The Apprente team will be the founding member of a new, integrated, internal group within McDonald’s Global Technology team called McD Tech Labs. McDonald’s expects to grow its presence in Silicon Valley by hiring additional engineers, data scientists and other advanced technology experts for McD Tech Labs to meet future business needs and support deployment.
Only this April, McDonald’s acquired Dynamic Yield, a specialist in personalization and decision logic technology, which is now deployed in over 8,000 restaurants in the U.S. McDonald’s plans plans to integrate the technology into nearly all Drive Thrus in the U.S. and Australia by the end of 2019. This technology is supposed to provide an even more personalized customer experience by varying outdoor digital Drive Thru menu displays to show food based on time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic and trending menu items. The decision technology can also instantly suggest and display additional items to a customer’s order based on their current selections. McDonald’s also invested in Plexure, a mobile app vendor, earlier this year to advance the development of it’s Global Mobile App.

Author: Tim Cole
Image Credit: McDonald’s Corporation

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