KFC tests facial recognition ordering tech in China

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is no stranger to testing out unusual tech in its retail stores. There was that unusual chicken box, for example, that included a built-in battery for charging your phone, not to mention the edible nail polish. Now the company is back with yet another test, this one in collaboration with China' Baidu to launch facial recognition ordering technology at one of its stores in China.

It seems Baidu and KFC China recently partnered up to give the latter company's customers a bit of novelty while highlighting Baidu's facial recognition technology. The result is a so-called 'smart restaurant' version of KFC located in Beijing where customers are given order suggestions based on things like their facial expression when ordering, their gender, and how old they are.

It seems the system works something like 'smart' ordering stations in restaurants around the world, in that it involves ordering from a display unit rather than via a human cashier. The difference here is the system's facial recognition feature, which aims to help customers figure out what to order based on what the system can guess about them.

Someone who is older and male, for example, may receive a different recommendation than someone who is young and female. The recommendations seem hit or miss, though, as Baidu says a woman estimated to be in her fifties will be recommended a breakfast of soybean milk and porridge.

Perhaps more useful is the system's ability to recognize you during future trips, meaning it'll eventually make recommendations based on your own ordering habits rather than the general ordering tendencies of others in your demographic. That does open the door to questions about privacy, however, the state of which isn't clear at this time.

SOURCE: TechCrunch