Big Mac Owner Moves into Voice

Written by Brendan McMahon

September 29, 2019

Watch out for Voice arriving in fast food burger joints in a neighbourhood near you sometime soon. McDonald’s have announced an agreement to acquire Apprente, a voice-based, conversational technology company based in Silicon Valley.

Apprente, a Silicon Valley startup, had only been in business for 2 years with a focus on development on voice solutions for complex, multilingual, multi-accent and multi-item conversational ordering”. Seems like they tailored their business model to attract the likes of McDonald’s and it all worked out well.

Never one to sit on its heels, McDonald’s are keen to stay ahead of the technology curve. The buzz is that McDonald’s have been looking for a partner for some time and drew up a shortlist before deciding on Apprente after piloting solutions in some of their key outlets.

According to the Press Release from McDonald’s, the focus will be on “faster, simpler and more accurate order taking at the Drive Thru with future potential to incorporate into mobile ordering and kiosks.”Given that McDonald’s has nearly 38,000 outlets around the world, that’s a lot of work to be done. The question is whether the solutions will be rolled out to the majority of franchisees or offered on a voluntary basis. Someone needs to pay for the technology and, given that over 90% of McDonald’s outlets are run and managed by independents, it will be interesting to see the traction voice can get!

This isn’t the first and probably won’t be the last acquisition in Voice for the burger company given the explosion in startups developing new models for Voice in retail.But it looks like a good match for its current rollout of digital menu displays in both drive thru and in-store. The less scrolling  customers need to do the better. Voice can take customers to where they want to go. Besides getting the franchisees on board, the other challenge for McDonald’s and their new in-house Voice team is how to suggest and promote add-ons and up-sells in the context of voice.

Meanwhile, at VOICEii in our backyard, we continue to focus on developing our ‘Across Language Voice’ solutions as we believe clients need to have a solution that allows scalability and extensibility to cater to all languages; i.e. solving the scalability of multi-language rollout.

For more on this article, see also Mashable and coverage by Wired.

 

Image: Alex Tai/Sopa Images/Lightrocket via Getty Images

faster, simpler and more accurate order taking at the Drive Thru

McDonald’s hopes to improve customer experience and find new opportunities for incremental revenues across its 38,000 food stores

VOICEii Launches 'Across Language Voice' Initiative

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