McDonald’s has agreed to acquire Apprente that will assists the US-based retail food chain in automating orders.
Apprente, a Silicon Valley company founded in 2017, uses artificial intelligence (AI) to understand orders, which could cut down on service times. McDonald’s said the technology also could be used someday in its self-order kiosks and mobile app.
The Chicago-based company said it evaluated Apprente’s technology in McDonald’s test restaurants.
The retail chain said Apprente’s employees will be the founding members of a group called McD Tech Labs, which will be housed within McDonald’s technology team. The burger chain wants to grow its presence in Silicon Valley by hiring more tech experts, including engineers and data scientists.
The artificial intelligence startup is backed by some of tech’s venture capital firms, including LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman’s Greylock Partners. Itamar Arel is the co-founder of Apprente and now vice president of McD Tech Labs.
It’s the fast-food retail giant’s third tech-focused deal this year, CNBC reported.
McDonald’s in March announced the acquisition of Dynamic Yield, which specializes in personalization and decision logic technology. McDonald’s quickly deployed its machine learning tech in more than 8,000 U.S. drive-thrus.
The global burger chain wants to integrate Dynamic Yield’s technology into all of its 14,000-plus U.S. restaurants and roughly 1,000 Australia stores by the end of this year.
McDonald’s also took a minority stake in Plexure, a mobile app vendor.
The chain is in the middle of renovating its U.S. stores with digital menu boards, self-order kiosks and other tech upgrades. McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook told analysts on the second quarter conference call that the kiosks have been generating higher average checks in the U.S.