Fast food giant McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) is to acquire Apprente, a Silicon Valley-based voice-based tech startup.
The amount of the deal was not disclosed.
Founded in 2017, Apprente is a leader in the field of conversational voice-based technology.
The deal will allow McDonald’s to offer a faster and simpler ordering experience at the Drive Thru.
Followint the acquisition, Apprente’s employees will become part of McDonald’s Global Technology team. The addition will further strengthen the company’s in-house technology team, with PhDs in machine learning and computational linguistics, with a dedicated focus on voice technology.
The team will be the founding members of the McD Tech Labs as McDonald’s expands its presence in Silicon Valley. They will complement and provide synergies with the work being done at the newly renovated Innovation Center just outside of Chicago.
The initial focus of the Silicon Valley team will be to enhance technology for use in McDonald’s Drive Thru. However, the company believes that the broader voice-based technology also has the potential to reach customers when, where and how they want through incorporation into mobile ordering or kiosks.
This latest deal builds on several key initiatives the company has introduced over the last three years to improve both the restaurant employee and customer experience, from the acquisition of Dynamic Yield, to the expansion of McDelivery, as well as the development of McDonald’s Global Mobile App, Mobile Order and Pay, indoor and outdoor digital menu boards, and self-order kiosks.