KFC China serves ice cream with robots, predicts orders based on facial recognitionMarie Donlon | March 25, 2019
Fast food restaurant KFC recently had a high-tech makeover to better serve tech-savvy China.
According to reports, business at some KFCs in China begins with customers scanning their faces at a kiosk, enabling them to order and pay for their food using facial recognition technology. Likewise, the facial recognition tech narrows down the menu options for the customers based on their gender, age and mood, making recommendations from the menu or offering customers an abbreviated menu.
Apart from making the fast food experience an almost entirely cashless exchange, the high-tech meal is topped off with a robotic arm that prepares ice cream cones for customers.
Eventually, Yum China Holdings Inc., operator of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut in China, among others, intends to expand facial recognition features to tailor personalized menu items to customers using artificial intelligence (AI) combined with previous ordering data collected from KFC and Pizza Hut loyalty programs.
For now, the high-tech makeovers have been limited to just a few hundred outlets out of the roughly 5,000 KFCs throughout China. Yet, the expectation is that the high-tech stores will grow in relation to demand and despite concerns for privacy and personal data use.
While most of the world has privacy concerns and bias worries due to AI and facial recognition technology, China has seemingly embraced the technologies. Reportedly, China employs facial recognition tech and AI to monitor everything from unhygienic behaviors in restaurant kitchens to identifying citizens in debt using a smartphone app.