A smile is a nice way to say hello or brighten someone’s day, and now a smile can actually pay for a meal, too. A KFC restaurant in Hangzhou, China, is testing a new payment method that really lets people pay for their meals by smiling.
Earlier this year, KFC China introduced a new “smart” restaurant in Beijing that reportedly recognized customers when they entered the store and greeted them. KFC China even has its own smart phone. Now, according to Shanghaiist, the KFC restaurant is a new type of concept restaurant called KPRO. It serves paninis, salads, fresh juice, gourmet coffee, and roasted chicken. It’s also debuting a new type of facial-recognition payment technology that works by scanning a customer’s face to confirm their identity before paying with an account connected to their mobile phone number.
Customers place an order on a large touch screen menu at the restaurant. They select which table in the restaurant they intend to eat at, and then they opt to pay with their mobile phone number. The screen reads the customer’s smiling face, and approves the payment.
The payment system comes from Ant Financial, which is owned by Alibaba. It uses a 3-D camera and a “live recognition” algorithm that lets it know if there is a real person standing there, as opposed to a statue or a photo. It can reportedly even tell when a person has changed their style, so it can still identify a person wearing no makeup, a lot of makeup, or minimal makeup, and with different wigs and hairstyles.
The new facial recognition payment system and the K-Pro concept restaurant are targeted at "young, tech savvy consumers who are keen to embrace new tastes and innovations."