KFC Uses Weird Technology That Suggests An Order Based On Customer’s Looks

By Reina Ilagan

Dec 24, 2016 05:31 AM EST

Kentucky Fried Chicken employs yet another technically challenging promotion in order to sell its chicken. In partnership with Baidu, the company's Chinese division works on creating a technology-infused smart restaurant which will recommend meals based on the customer's looks.

With the use Baidu's computer vision systems, KFC ordering kiosks will scan and examine the customer's age, gender and facial expressions. The facial recognition kiosks will then make educated guesses as to what they might be in the mood for.

The idea behind the project, supposedly, is to help undecided customers choose a meal by guessing what they want before they even say anything. This way, when a customer comes to the ordering kiosk, the image recognition tech will scan the face, aiming to infer the current mood, along with other information, in order to come up with a recommendation.

The technology will, for example, consider a guy in his 20s far more likely to order a big meal like a crispy chicken hamburger and roasted chicken with a large soda for lunch compared to a 75-year old grandma who walks in the restaurant in the morning preferring to have porridge and soybean milk for breakfast.

This facial recognition will not put pressure on the consumers and their choice of food as it will only provide a suggestion. The customer may order a different meal than what is recommended by the kiosks.

If the customer is a regular, however, the kiosks will remember the customer's previous order and recommend that as well.

Customers will also be able to play augmented reality games by scanning a table sticker with their smartphones using the Mobile Baidu app.

For now, the use of facial recognition technology are confined to Beijing's single smart restaurant. The possibility of the technology spreading depends if the high-tech kiosks will be a hit. Some may find the technology creepy, with the kiosks facial imaging database recognizing repeat customers.

This is not KFC's first attempt at integrating new technologies with its fast food restaurants. KC and Baidu partnered earlier this year for an "Original+" restaurant in Shanghai that lets customers make orders using Baidu's cute little Duer robot.

The company has also used weird stunts from its other branches like Japan's two-finger plastic chicken "condoms", a meal box that charges your phone while you eat, Bluetooth keyboard trays and more.

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