McDonald’s (MCD) Acquires Startup to Add AI to Its Drive-Through Restaurants

 
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McDonald’s has announced its acquisition of Apprente, a Silicon-Valley startup that uses artificial intelligence to better understand voice commands. McDonald’s hopes to use this to improve its voice orders at drive-throughs.

McDonald’s (MCD) is one of the oldest and most popular fast food restaurant chains in the world and as with any other establishments that have been around as long, the company is constantly seeking ways to improve its service and the experience it gives customers. The 79-year-old restaurant has now announced the acquisition of Apprente, in a bid to improve its service using automated voice commands.

Founded in 2017, Apprente is a Silicon Valley startup which focuses on the use of artificial intelligence to analyze and improve orders placed via a drive-through. Proper use of this technology could significantly improve McDonald’s service by reducing service time considerably.

If all goes according to plan, McDonald’s hopes to also apply Apprente’s technology to orders placed using the company’s mobile app as well as its order kiosks. There is also the chance that McDonald’s could take advantage of this technology with recruitment, removing the need for the chain to employ more staff.

Back in March, McDonald’s announced the acquisition of a startup known as Dynamic Yield based in Tel Aviv. At the moment, the menus in several stores are fixed and show pretty much the same thing, except when the company makes an addition.

However, Dynamic Yield can use some algorithms to automatically infuse several categories of data including current weather, traffic, specific sales information from that particular branch as well as other branches, and even related events in the area. Using this, customers are greeted with several more options and suggestions based on these data, to create a better experience and a more appropriate meal.

Just like the Apprente acquisition, specific financial details were not officially publicized although several reports had it that the Dynamic Yield acquisition was worth $300 million.

Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s CEO, has said in a statement, that the integration of new technologies will help create an unmatched customer experience. According to him:

“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.”

McDonald’s also announced that the new group called McD Tech Labs will be based in Silicon Valley and will have Apprente’s team as members with co-founder Itamar Arel as MCD Tech Labs vice president.

Founded in 1940, McDonald’s is currently the world’s largest restaurant chain by revenue with almost 70 million daily customers in at least a hundred different countries. 2018 reports show that the chain has about 37,855 different restaurants in all of its host countries.

McDonald’s Corporation (MCD) currently trades at $209.68, a 3.49% loss from its previous close at $217.26. MCD lost more than 4% over the last five days and a little over 3% in the last month. Regardless, MCD sits at Year To Date (YTD) plus of 18.08%

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