No time to browse the fast-food menu? No worries! KFC Beijing is all for predictable meal choices. In fact, the company is so convinced that its customers rarely order something different that they are developing a system to remember orders and predict future ones. In partnership with Baidu, KFC plans to launch a platform that fulfills customers’ desires before they have a chance to express them #machinemagic
KFC and Baidu, China’s own Google, are working together to develop a system that can serve customers the food they desire. By using facial recognition and AI, they believe they can deliver custom orders to everyone who walks into the restaurant. At a closer read of the Baidu press release though, it becomes obvious that the custom order is a pre-established meal for folks that share age and gender characteristics: “The artificial intelligence-enabled system can recommend menu items based on a customer’s estimated age and mood.”
For example, male customers in their 20s are likely to be served a “set meal of crispy chicken hamburger, roasted chicken wings and coke” while women in their 50s will have to eat “porridge and soybean milk for breakfast”. Of course, after a couple of times, the service can become repetitive and annoying, even if you fall into one of the categories considered by the companies. Thankfully, you won’t have to stay at a separate line to order again as KFC says it will be prepared to offer food alternatives, like a shorter menu. After the decision-making process, customers can pay with their phones and collect the meal.
On the one hand, their effort to evolve at the same pace as the technology is admirable. On the other hand, we can’t help but wonder whether this strategy will really lure more customers in or turn them away? What do you think?