KFC Just Started Letting Customers Pay In a Way That Could Change Everything
Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek
Many traditional fast food restaurants are slowly being left behind.
It’s not that customers don’t crave their greasy goodness.
It’s that many fast food restaurant brands feel a touch old-fashioned and new rivals have come along, offering a heady recipe of a more exciting brand and better food.
This has led the likes of McDonald’s to experiment with, for example, touchscreen ordering.
Never, though, has one of the monolithic fast food brands tried what this KFC is doing.
As the South China Morning Post reports, a KFC-owned restaurant called KPRO — an oddly healthy place that serves salads, panini and fresh juice — is allowing customers to pay with a smile.
I tried getting away with something similar in one or two restaurants during my teens. It didn’t work well, as the owners quickly demanded, well, money. Or else.
Here, though, you walk up to a large screen. You use a touchscreen to select the very healthy food you’d like to quickly consume.
Then you click on the Smile To Pay feature.
It uses facial recognition to decide who you are.
Then it asks you to enter your phone number, for a little extra authentication.
This could be a little awkward if there are people standing behind you.
Don’t these technologists care about privacy? Oh, you know the answer to that one.
Once you’ve ordered, you go and sit down and your food is magically delivered by someone who, one hopes, doesn’t say: “We know where you live.”
KFC worked with Ant Financial, part of the vast Alibaba Group, to create this system, one that will surely make people feel so very modern.
Some might look at the video and think that all this button-pushing and pausing to take a picture isn’t all that fast.
It’s also gloriously impersonal.
Then again, isn’t that what technology would prefer we become? A face and a phone number, rather than, say, a living, breathing, purse-bearing, picky-eating human.
From finger-lickin’ good to face-bearin’ payin’.
This is progress.