Fueled by the restaurant industry’s push to use tech for better efficiency, two big AI-voice ordering players have teamed up.

ConverseNow, which automates ordering for restaurants with AI, announced Tuesday it’s acquiring Valyant AI, a provider of drive-thru automation.

The deal is expected to speed up ConverseNow’s expansion in drive-thru services and advance both companies’ joint mission to transform the quick-service restaurant industry with cost-effective AI solutions.

Vinay Shukla, ConverseNow Co-Founder and CEO

Valyant AI collaborates with brands like CKE and Checkers, integrating its voice assistant, Holly, into existing drive-thru communication and POS systems. Meanwhile, ConverseNow deploys virtual ordering assistants to discern nuances, predict ordering behaviors, and suggest upsells, working with brands such as Domino’s and Wingstop.

Together, the companies will be able to improve their technology by leveraging joint expertise, shared data, and tech infrastructure.

Vinay Shukla, co-founder and CEO of ConverseNow, said in buying Valyant that the company is closer to its goal to “democratize AI for brands of all sizes, making it accessible across all ordering channels.”

Employees gain an assistant

The deal also paves the way to debut an AI Employee Assistant product, currently piloted by Valyant with select brands. The assistant uses a generative AI training application for restaurant staff to ask on-the-job questions and receive instant, hands-free responses. Plans are to roll this out at the end of the quarter.

“Valyant’s mission has always been to support restaurant operations, ease employee workload, and enhance customer experience,” said Rob Carpenter, founder of Valyant AI. “I’m confident Holly will elevate ConverseNow’s platform, and I Iook forward to seeing the achievements of our combined efforts.”

For now, both companies will operate separately and continue services under their respective brands.

Rob Carpenter, Valyant AI Founder

The move comes as the restaurant industry has seen a proliferation of Voice AI tech providers as brands look to offset labor woes, upsell and market to consumers.

This trend has led to a competitive landscape with multiple providers joining forces, all vying for partnerships with restaurant chains. Most recently, Checkmate acquired VoiceBite and Soundhound acquired Allset—to name a few.

With numerous options available, some restaurant brands are reconsidering their strategies. McDonald’s, for example, recently pulled the plug on its three-year test of drive-thru voice AI with IBM, though the company has indicated that it still sees potential to explore a future implementation.