CHICAGO — McDonald’s Corporation (MCD) has entered an agreement to acquire Apprente, an early stage leader in voice-based, conversational technology. The announcement comes after extensive exploration with several parties, including evaluating Apprente’s solutions in McDonald’s test restaurants.
Apprente was founded in 2017 in Mountain View, Calif., 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,” says 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.”
The Apprente team will be the founding member of McD Tech Labs. And, over time, McDonald’s expects to grow its presence in Silicon Valley with the hiring of additional engineers, data scientists and other advanced-technology experts to join McD Tech Labs to meet future business needs and support deployment.
This latest investment builds on several key technology initiatives McDonald’s has introduced in recent years, including the acquisition of Dynamic Yield and investment in Plexure, a mobile app vendor, to further advance the development of McDonald’s Global Mobile App.