Crain’s Headlines: McDonald’s Betting on Drive-Thru Automation


McDonald’s is betting it can automate the task of taking drive-thru orders.

The fast-food giant is buying Apprente Inc., a developer of voice-recognition technology, to help speed up drive-thru lines. The idea is to eventually have a machine, instead of a person, on the other side of the intercom.

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The acquisition is McDonald’s third tech deal in the past six months.

Meanwhile, Boeing’s troubled 737 Max jets are not likely to return to service until early 2020. That’s the view of an industry analyst at Barclays, who warned in a note to investors Tuesday that regulatory hurdles and delays in software fixes could push the relaunch of the 737 Max well past the new year, meaning they won’t be available for the critical fourth-quarter travel season.

And finally, the flavored malt beverage trend rolls on, this time with the release of a so-called hard coffee product being created by one of America’s trendiest coffee brands in partnership with Chicago’s own MillerCoors.

La Colombe’s Hard Cold Brewed coffee debuts this month in five U.S. markets. It sports an alcohol-by-volume rating of 4.2%.

If you’re wondering when would be a good time to drink something that blends alcohol and caffeine, the brew makers say they’re promoting it as something to enjoy during all-day events like weddings, barbecues and tailgates.


Crain’s Headlines is a joint production between WTTW and Crain’s Chicago Business. It airs every Monday through Thursday on the WTTW News program “Chicago Tonight.” 


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