- Agot AI, a restaurant tech startup Agot AI has completed the $10 million seed financing round that includes Continental Grain, the Kitchen Fund and Grit Ventures as investors.
- The company uses overhead cameras in restaurants’ kitchens and makes use of computer vision to determine whether workers are making orders properly.
- The increase in drive-thru orders throughout this Covid virus has caused ordering precision more difficult for fast-food eateries.
Agot AI, a restaurant tech startup Agot AI has closed a $10 million financing round which will allow the company to achieve its goal of improving the accuracy of food orders in fast-food restaurants.
The startup installs overhead cameras in the kitchens of restaurants and makes use of computer visionsimilar to what is utilized in autonomous vehiclesto determine if employees are properly preparing food orders. The idea is to increase efficiency of labor and reduce wait times for customers.
Agri-investment firm Continental Grain, which recently acquired the chicken large Sanderson Farms with Cargill, was the lead in the start-up’s seed financing round. The Kitchen Fund – which invests into Sweetgreen, Cava and Gregorys Coffee as well as Grit Ventures also participated.
Agot has raised just $50,000 in its last funding round during the May quarter of 2020 According to Pitchbook.
“We are thrilled to support the Agot team in bringing their computer vision solution to market, increasing labor efficiency, improving off-premise operations, and providing real-time analytics to sophisticated QSR operators,” Continental Grain said in a statement to CNBC.
The accuracy of orders can have a significant influence on the willingness of consumers to visit a restaurant again as well as the overall satisfaction. A survey by the American Customer Satisfaction Institute’s most recent consumer survey revealed that fast-food establishments ordered were correct 84 percent of the time in 2021. This is a drop from previous year’s results.
Agot Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Evan DeSantola said the technology will detect more than 90% of orders that are incorrect and alert workers to problems before the workers can serve meal to patrons.
“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 explained. “What was once a smaller pain point, when the accuracy rates haven’t gotten much better, is now a much larger pain point.”
The number of orders at the drive-thru counters was growing prior to the outbreak, but the outbreak of illness led many customers to shift to this method of ordering because of the closure of dining areas along with safety concerns and convenience. In December, the number of transactions made through drive-thru were up 22% in comparison to one year ago as per The NPD Group. The annual drive-thru study conducted by SeeLevel HX revealed that average wait times across 10 fast-food chains were slowed down by almost one minute in the past year.
DeSantola and partner in the company Alex Litzenberger, who serves as the chief technology officer for the company they met as studying computer science were studying at Carnegie Mellon University. The company was founded 2 1/2 years ago , after experiencing lengthy wait times and erroneous orders by themselves. The alma mater of the founders was also a part of this round of seed funding.
“What was very clear to us about Agot is that it is not a point solution,” said Greg Golkin, managing partner of the Kitchen Fund. “It is an application platform developing and order accuracy is not the only application. Computer vision isn’t going to stop there.”
Golkin said that Agot was at the top of other startups who are investigating similar computer vision solutions within the restaurant tech sector. According to the founders of the company, Agot has received multiple acquisition proposals that it has rejected.
DeSantola said that the typical Agot client has at minimum two thousand restaurant locations. But he refused to reveal the names of the current restaurant customers in light of strict confidentiality agreements.
Agot intends to utilize the funds from the most recent round of financing to increase its engineering and product teams, as well as expand its reach, both for its existing customers as well as adding additional chains on its portfolio.