This start-up uses computer vision to get your fast-food order made accurately
An employee passes a drink order to a customer at the drive-thru of a Starbucks coffee shop in Rodeo, California.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Restaurant tech start-up Agot AI has closed a $10 million funding round that will help the company work toward its mission of improving fast-food order accuracy.
The start-up installs overhead cameras in restaurant kitchens and uses computer vision — similar to that used in autonomous vehicles — to scrutinize if workers are preparing orders correctly. This technology will improve worker efficiency and reduce customer wait times.
Continental Grain, an agricultural investment company, was the seed fund’s lead. It recently purchased Sanderson Farms, a poultry giant, from Cargill. The Kitchen Fund – which has investments in Sweetgreen, Cava and Gregory’s Coffee – and Grit Ventures also participated.
Pitchbook reports that Agot received only $50,000 for their last round of funding in May 2020.
Continental Grain stated in a statement that it was thrilled to help the Agot team bring their computer vision solution on market. This will increase labor efficiency and improve off-premise operations. It also provides real-time analytics for sophisticated QSR operators.
It can impact consumers’ desire to return to a restaurant or their experience. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, 84% of fast food restaurants were able to accurately place orders in 2021. This is a decrease from last year’s score.
Evan DeSantola (founder and CEO of Agot) stated that technology could detect over 85% in order errors before food is served to customers.
“We see that across the [quick-service restaurant] industry order accuracy is becoming an increasingly large problem as a result of the shift to drive-thru,” DeSantola said. It is now more of a problem than it was before, as accuracy rates haven’t improved.
Although drive-thru orders were increasing before the pandemic hit, consumers switched to it due to convenience, safety and closures of dining halls. The NPD Group reports that drive-thru sales increased 22% in December compared to last year. SeeLevel HX conducted an annual drive-thru analysis and found that wait times at 10 fast-food restaurants were nearly half the time last year.
Alex Litzenberger is the chief technology officer of SeeLevel HX. He met DeSantola while he was a computer science student at Carnegie Mellon University. After experiencing lengthy wait times and incorrect orders, they founded the company nearly two years ago. They also took part in the seed round from their university.
Greg Golkin (Managing Partner of the Kitchen Fund) stated that Agot was not a solution. It is still being developed, so order accuracy will not be the only application. Computer vision will not stop here.
Golkin stated that Agot is far ahead of similar start-ups looking at computer vision in restaurant technology. Agot founders claim that Agot received numerous offers to acquire it.
DeSantola claimed that Agot’s average customer is at least 2000 restaurants. He declined to reveal the names of his current clients due to strict confidentiality agreements.
Agot will use the new funding round money to build its product and engineering team and expand its reach to existing and potential clients.