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KFC China debuts face-recognition orders

KFC China debuts face-recognition orders

KFC China has introduced its first facial-recognition ordering kiosks in a concept store named KPRO in Hangzhou, which also features low-calorie menus.

Decked out in green and white and designed in a café-style, KFC’s KPRO offers customers made-to-order salads, paninis and roasted chicken with no signs of deep-fried battered chicken. Food is served with freshly squeezed fruit juice, gourmet coffee, craft beer and premium low-fat ice cream.

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According to Joey Wat, president and chief operating officer of Yum China, KFC’s China operator, the store aims to cater to China’s burgeoning population of urban professionals.

“The restaurant, featuring fresh seasonal produce and integrating some of the latest technologies, serves as a bellwether for precise customer segmentation and allows us to better connect with the younger generation,” Wat told China Daily.

Partnering with China’s largest mobile wallet Alipay, the new KFC store also uses facial recognition technology, a world first for the commercialised application, according to Chen Jidong, director of biometric identification technology at Ant Financial Services Group.

“Yum China has a history of adopting innovative technologies to enhance in-store dining experience and we could think of no better place to pilot this advanced technology,” Chen said at the inaugural ceremony of KFC’s concept restaurant KPRO on Friday.

Tapping the screen to select their order, customers then proceed to look up into the camera to pay for their meal. Alipay uses a multi-step authentication process such as a facial scan and mobile phone number, to verify identities and facilitate payment.

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First seen in March 2015, the face-recognition system was debuted by Jack Ma, founder of Ant’s parent Alibaba Group.

The KPRO launch underscores the ongoing digitalisation push of the fast-food chain to resonate with tech-savvy diners and jump on the healthy-eating bandwagon.

Yum China Holdings is the operator of 5,300 KFC restaurants across China.