The fast food tech is the result of a collaboration with Baidu – the ‘Google of China’
- 18:09, 11 JAN 2017
Software in the Chinese fast food outlet is designed to choose a suggested order by estimating the mood of the customer, along with their age and gender.
Baidu said in a press release that the system would suggest that “a male customer in his early 20s” might want to order “a set meal of crispy chicken hamburger, roasted chicken wings and coke for lunch,” while “a female customer in her 50s” would be offered “porridge and soybean milk for breakfast.”
Whether relying on stereotypical food choices based on supposed gender and age is an effective system remains to be seen. Of course, the facial scanning software could also get this wrong.
If customers are not happy with the first suggestions, they can navigate through to a list of alternatives.
“A male customer service assistant in his 20s demonstrated the machine for me, and was indeed offered a chicken hamburger set meal,” said Amy Hawkins, who tried out the fast food tech in Beijing and described the experience in The Guardian .
“I stood in position, and was read as being female (correct), beautiful (correct) and in my 30s (only a decade off). On this basis, I was also recommended a chicken hamburger meal”.
She also reported that while the system read the same characteristics from her face on a second visit, it did not remember her preferences.
There are plans to roll the facial scanning technology to 5,000 more stores in China.
This isn’t the first time that KFC has teamed up with Baidu to test out futuristic fast food technology.
A previous trial in Shanghai involved a robot staff taking orders.
The idea of a fast food restaurant storing facial scans along with visit times, raises issues over privacy.
KFC stresses that the data collected is secure and “will not be used for other purposes”.