Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

McAutomation

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Ronald McDonald retired around the time of the creepy clown sightings began popping up several years ago. But McDonald’s isn’t resting on its fast food franchise laurels.

Yesterday the company announced it had agreed to acquire voice AI firm Apprente to help the company automate drive-thru orders (which could also cut down on service times).

According to a report from CNBC, Apprente’s employees will be founding members of “McD Tech Labs,” a tech shop embedded in Mickey D’s global tech team.

This move builds on the company’s investment in March of Dynamic Yield, whose ML technology was deployed in more than 8,000 U.S. drive-thrus, and whose tech changes menus based on time of day, weather, traffic, and the customer’s order, with the end goal of upselling.

Today’s Morning Brew suggested this was a “defensive” move by McDonald’s, “ensuring it gets access to key AI tech before Wendy’s and Burger King can get their hands on it.”

There’s a lot at stake in the coming AI burger wars…turnover is inordinately high at fast food chains, and McD’s alone employs over 1.8M workers in 34,000 restaurants worldwide. Those algos don’t complain about low wages, few benefits, and long hours.

So in my best speech-to-text voice, here goes: Would you like fries with that?

Written by turbotodd

September 11, 2019 at 2:11 pm

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