McDonald’s Acquisition Of Apprente: Details About The Deal

By Amit Chowdhry ● September 12, 2019
  • McDonald’s Corporation has announced it is acquiring Apprente, an early-stage leader in voice-based and conversational technology

McDonald’s Corporation recently announced it is acquiring Apprente — which is an early-stage leader in voice-based and conversational technology. This agreement will advance employee and customer-facing innovations while further strengthening McDonald’s technology capabilities. And the announcement comes after extensive exploration with several parties, including evaluating Apprente’s solutions in McDonald’s test restaurants.

Launched in Mountain View, California in 2017, Apprente creates voice-based platforms for complex, multilingual, multi-accent, and multi-item conversational ordering. And 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.

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“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” said McDonald’s Corporation president and CEO Steve Easterbrook. “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 is going to be a founding member of a new and integrated internal group within McDonald’s Global Technology team called McD Tech Labs. And over time, McDonald’s will be growing its presence in Silicon Valley with the hiring of additional engineers, data scientists, and other advanced technology experts to join McD Tech Labs.

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“McDonald’s commitment to innovation has long inspired our team. It was quite clear from our various engagements that McDonald’s is leading the industry with technology” added Itamar Arel, Ph.D., the co-founder of Apprente and Vice President of McD Tech Labs. “Apprente was borne out of an opportunity to use technology to solve challenging real-world problems and we’re thrilled to now apply this to creating personalized experiences for customers and crew.”

Arel founded Apprente with CTO Moshe Looks. Arel used to be an entrepreneur in residence at AME Cloud Ventures and is the founding CEO of Osaro. And Looks is a former software engineer at Google, Novamente, and SAIC.

This investment builds on several key technology initiatives McDonald’s introduced in recent years for improving the employee and customer experience. For example, McDonald’s acquired Dynamic Yield in April — which is a leader in personalization and decision logic technology that is now deployed in over 8,000 restaurants in the US with plans to be integrated into nearly all Drive Thrus in the US and Australia by the end of 2019. McDonald’s is also a strategic investor in mobile app vendor Plexure so that it would advance the development of McDonald’s Global Mobile App.

Going forward, McDonald’s will utilize this decision technology to provide an even more personalized customer experience by varying outdoor digital Drive Thru menu displays to show food based on time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic along with trending menu items. And the decision technology can also instantly suggest and display additional items to a customer’s order based on their current selections.

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