Innovation That Matters

Facial recognition fast-food

AI-enabled self-ordering kiosks offer a customized interactive experience


A fast-food chain is integrating the use of facial recognition into its loyalty program.

We have already seen how automation has created efficiency in a number of industries, from sales to farming. Now, a restaurant chain is bringing automation to fast food ordering, with AI-enabled point-of-sale kiosks. The kiosks are being rolled out at CaliBurger, a fast-casual chain that CEO John Miller describes as “a tech company that makes great food”. The first time customers order using the in-store kiosks, they’ll be prompted to attach their face to their account using NEC’s NeoFace biometric facial recognition software.

As customers approach, the kiosk will activate their loyalty accounts, without the needing to swipe a card or type in identifying information. Because the loyalty account shows the customer’s favorite meal, the order can be completed in a matter of seconds. The kiosks will also shortly allow customers the option to pay using only their faces. Says Miller, “Facial recognition is part of our broader strategy to enable the restaurant and retail industries to provide the same kinds of benefits and conveniences in the built world that customers experience with retailers like Amazon in the digital world.”

CaliBurger is also pioneering AI and robotics to automate kitchen equipment with the recent introduct of ‘flippy’, the hamburger flipping robot created by Miso Robotics. Flippy can perform manual cooking tasks like flipping burgers on a grill and will eventually learn a variety of other tasks, including prepping and cutting vegetables. The CaliBurger stores include other tech-oriented features such as wireless charging stations and a video funwall where customers can engage in interactive gaming experiences. Will a fully-automated restaurant eliminate the need for cooks and cashiers in the future?




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