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McDonald's buys the AI ​​company that tries to automate the drive through

A customer is looking at a digital menu at the station through a McDonald's restaurant in Peru, Illinois.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

McDonald's said Tuesday that it has agreed to buy a company that is trying to automate drive-through. It's the fast-food giant's third tech-focused deal this year.

Apprente, a Silicon Valley company founded in 2017, uses artificial intelligence to understand orders through stations, which can reduce service hours. McDonald's said the technology could also be used one day in its self-order kiosks and mobile apps.

The Chicago-based company said it evaluated Apple's technology in McDonald's test restaurants.

Apprentice employees will be founding members of a group called McD Tech Labs, which will be housed in McDonald's global technology team. The burger chain wants to increase its presence in Silicon Valley by hiring several tech experts, including engineers and computer scientists.

Financial terms for the agreement were not disclosed.

The chain has used technology to stay ahead of the competition. . In March, McDonald's announced the acquisition of Dynamic Yield, which specializes in personalization and decision logic technology. People familiar with the matter said the deal was worth more than $ 300 million, making it the McDonald's biggest deal in two decades.

After completing the acquisition of Dynamic Yield, McDonald's quickly distributed its machine learning technology in more than 8,000 US drive thrus. The technology changes drive-through menus based on time of day, weather, traffic and customer orders ̵[ads1]1; all to entice the customer to spend more. By the end of 2019, the burger chain wants to integrate Dynamic Yield's technology into almost all US and Australian drive thrus.

McDonald's also took a minority stake in Plexure, a mobile app provider.

The chain is also in the midst of renovating its American stores with digital menu boards, self-order kiosks and other technical upgrades. CEO Steve Easterbrook told analysts at the Q2 conference that the kiosks have generated higher average controls in the United States.

McDonald's stock, which has a market capitalization of $ 167 billion, is up 22% this year.

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