McDonald’s acquires voice-recognition company to improve its drive-thru game

McDonald’s continues to double down on new drive-thru technology.


September 11, 2019

Allard Schager / Getty

McDonald’s announced it will McBuy the Bay Area voice-recognition startup Apprente for an undisclosed amount.

According to McDonald’s, Apprente’s “sound-to-meaning” technology handles “complex, multilingual, multi-accent and multi-item conversational ordering,” and believes the technology will help streamline the drive-thru process — even faster food, you say?? 

This is the clown’s 3rd drive-thru tech investment this year

As the earth turns and the centuries change, so does the way people wish to order a Big Mac, and Micky D’s has the cash to listen.

Back in March, the company bought Dynamic Yield, which customizes drive-thru menus based on factors like weather, time of day, and customer order profiles.

A month later, it invested in New Zealand app-designer Plexure, which will help connect customers to its new smart drive-thrus, among other things.

Is Ronnie McD flipping human employees the burger?

McDonald’s has introduced new ways for customers to order food in recent years, including in-store touch screen kiosks, smartphone apps, and delivery platform integration with companies like Uber Eats — all of which lessen the need for human employees.

According to Fast Company, McDonald’s maintains all the new ordering tech is part of its efforts to “alleviate pressure on restaurant employees.” 

But an Apprente press release says its AI provides better customer service with a virtual voice that is “never sounding tired, annoyed, unhappy, or angry.”

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