This startup uses computer vision to accurately deliver your fast food order

This startup uses computer vision to accurately deliver your fast food order

Foodservice tech startup Agote AI has closed a $ 10 million funding round that will help the company continue its mission of improving fast food ordering accuracy.

The start-up installs aerial cameras in restaurant kitchens and uses computer vision, like in autonomous vehicles, to check whether employees are preparing orders correctly. The technology is said to improve workforce efficiency and reduce customer wait times.

Agricultural investment firm Continental Grain, which recently bought poultry giant Sanderson Farms with Cargill, led the start-up’s seed funding round. The Kitchen Fund – which has investments in Sweetgreen, Cava and Gregory Coffee – and Grits Ventures also participated.

According to Pitchbook, Agote only raised $ 50,000 in its last fundraising round in May 2020.

“We are delighted that the Agot team is bringing their computer vision solution to market, increasing workforce efficiency, improving offsite operations and providing real-time analytics to sophisticated QSR operators,” said Continental Grain in a statement to CNBC. “

The accuracy of orders can have a big impact on consumers’ willingness to return to restaurants and the overall experience. The American Customer Satisfaction Index’s annual consumer survey found fast food restaurant orders to be 84% accurate in 2021, down from the previous year’s score.

Evan DeSantola, co-founder and CEO of Agote, said the technology can detect over 85% of order errors and allows employees to spot those issues before serving food to customers.

“We see that the whole [quick-service restaurant] “The accuracy of industry controls is becoming a major issue due to the shift in drive-thru,” said DiSentola. “What was once a small problem, when accuracy rates haven’t improved much, is now a huge problem. “

Steering wheel controls were on the increase before the pandemic, but the health crisis has prompted many consumers to switch to this method of ordering due to the closure of dining rooms, convenience and safety concerns. Drive-through transactions in December were up 22% from a year ago, according to the NPD Group. SeeLevel HX’s annual drive-thru study found that average times at 10 fast food chains slowed by about half a minute last year.

DeSentola and his co-founder Alex Litzenberger, who is the company’s chief technology officer, met with computer science students from Carnegie Mellon University. He started the business two and a half years ago after a long wait and facing bad orders himself. The alma mater of the founders also took part in the tour de table.

“What was very clear to us about Agote was that it is not a one-stop solution,” said Greg Golkin, Managing Partner of The Kitchen Fund. “It’s a platform under construction, and precision of controls is just the first application. Computer vision is not going to stop there.

Golkin also said that Agote is ahead of other start-ups exploring similar computer vision solutions in foodservice technology. According to its founders, Agote received several takeover offers that it declined.

DeSentola said that Agote’s typical customer base is at least 2,000 restaurants. However, he declined to share the names of customers of existing restaurants, citing strict nondisclosure agreements.

Agote plans to use the funds from the last round of funding to grow its product and engineering teams, expand its reach to existing customers, and add new series to its roster.

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