McDonald’s buys AI tech company Apprente

McDonald’s announced that it has acquired AI tech company, Apprente. This is the third tech-centered deal that the world’s leading global foodservice retailer has closed this year. The financial details of the deal with Apprente have not been revealed.

Apprente is a two-year-old company founded in Silicon Valley, California. It’s a start-up that focuses on building intelligent, voice-based conversational agents for customer service applications.

The company has its own neuroscience-based AI technology that allows it to create naturally engaging and integratable systems that bear resemblance to human interactive traits like understanding context and reacting with a quickness.

It designs multilingual, multi-accent, multi-item, and complex conversation voice-based ordering platforms. Also, Apprente’s goal is to assist businesses and their employees by minimizing wait times, boosting service productivity, and improving the quality of customer experiences.

With the acquisition of Apprente, McDonald’s aims for simpler, faster, and more accurate order taking process at its Drive-Thru facilities. It also aims to incorporate the technology 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, the President and Chief Executive Officer of 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.,” adds Easterbrook.

McDonald’s is setting up a team called McD Tech Labs. It would be made up of the Apprente team who will be its founding member. McDonald’s is expecting to expand in Silicon Valley by bringing in more people into the team.

The company is looking at adding more data scientists, engineers, and other advanced technology experts to support its plans for its future business needs and support deployment.

The co-founder of Apprente and Vice President of McD Tech Labs, Itamar Arel said: “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”.

“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,” stated Arel.

Over the years, McDonald’s has been investing in various key technology initiatives as part of its commitment to improving its employee and customer experience.

In April 2019, McDonald’s made its biggest acquisition in two decades. The fast-food giant acquired Dynamic Yield Ltd., an Israeli decision-logic technology start-up, for more than $300 million.

Mcdonald’s said that it has become one of the first companies to integrate decision technology into the customer experience at its physical store locations.

After closing the deal with Dynamic Yield, McDonald’s deployed its technology to over 8,000 restaurants in the United States. By the end of 2019, it also plans to integrate the technology into nearly all of its Drive-Thrus in the U.S. and Australia.

By integrating the technology into its system, McDonald’s hopes that this would give customers an even more personalized experience.

With this, its digital Drive Thru menu will feature food based on various factors like time of day, weather, trending menu items, and current restaurant traffic. The technology is also capable of suggesting and displaying additional items based on a customer’s order or selections.

Apart from Apprente and Dynamic Yield, McDonald’s has also invested $3.7 million into New Zealand-based mobile engagement company, Plexure. McDonald’s has been making use of Plexure’s technology in its apps in 48 countries around the world.

In a statement, CEO Steve Easterbrook said: “Across all of our markets, we’re using technology to elevate and transform the McDonald’s customer experience.”

“Our mobile apps play a key role in our digital acceleration, allowing customers to interact with us in a personal, customized way. This investment is a testament to our belief in Plexure’s ability to deliver strong results for our business as well as the talent and technology they’ve cultivated,” added Easterbrook.

With its investment in Plexure, McDonald’s will be helping the Kiwi company expand its mobile engagement software. Also, with this deal, Plexure has agreed to McDonald’s term of not working with other quick-service restaurants that are included in the fast-food company’s list.

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