McDonald's Acquires Voice Technology Startup Apprente

Matthew Miller
Matthew Miller  |  September 18, 2019

When you think of McDonald’s, the first thing you think of is probably not technology, such as AI-powered personalization and voice tech-enabled ordering. However, given the company's recent acquisition of Israel-based Dynamic Yield and last week’s acquisition of Apprente, perhaps that is precisely what we should be thinking about. 

Would you like AI with that?

McDonald’s has been on the cutting edge of technology to make its business processes more efficient and effective (such as its introduction of the multi-mixer to make milkshakes in a jiffy). 

In an attempt to systematize its innovation efforts, McDonald’s will be working with the Apprente team to create McD Tech Labs in Silicon Valley, where the latter is based.

Can you hear me now? Good.

Suffice it to say that drive-thru orders are not always seamless. One of McDonald’s solutions to the problem comes in its acquisition of Apprente, a startup building conversational agents that can automate voice-based ordering in multiple languages. The company has already been trying out the tech in Chicago locations and will be rolling it out to more locations. 

This isn’t its first POS innovation: With the help of its DynamicYield acquisition, McDonald's has introduced personalized menus which dynamically change based on factors such as weather and traffic. As we’ve noted, personalization is a major trend across industries, such as e-commerce and retail. It's a great way to upsell and get the products people might want in front of them.

Data: I’m lovin’ it

The oft-quoted adage that "data is the new oil" rings true. Besides the convenience aspect, McDonald’s recent acquisitions of DynamicYield and Apprente highlight the importance of how McDonald’s is and will use data to optimize its business, whether that be through its dynamic menus (powered by data) or through its new AI-enabled drive-thrus (powered by voice data).

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Matthew Miller
Author

Matthew Miller

Matthew Miller is passionate about emerging technology and its impact on society and businesses. He most recently worked as an AI research analyst at CognitionX, a London-based AI-powered knowledge network and host of one of Europe's largest AI conferences. He also cofounded a pro bono voice technology group, VAICE, which has helped companies discover the best ways to incorporate voice tech in their business and their business models. At G2, Matthew focuses on the AI and analytics categories and looks forward to learning more. Get in touch at mmiller@g2.com.