KFC launches first AI-en­abled out­let in Bei­jing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By ZHU WEN­QIAN zhuwen­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ken­tucky Fried Chicken launched its first ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence-en­abled store in Bei­jing on Fri­day, and the fast-food chain said it plans to fur­ther ex­pand its lay­out of smart restau­rants, cre­at­ing more in­no­va­tive and in­ter­est­ing din­ing ex­pe­ri­ences for cus­tomers.

With the co­op­er­a­tion of Baidu Inc, China’s largest search en­gine, KFC started its first smart restau­rant in the Fi­nan­cial Street area in Bei­jing.

At the store, cus­tomers are able to take pic­tures with a ma­chine, which will rec­og­nize the diner’s face, sex, age, mood and other fea­tures, then help to rec­om­mend suit­able food and set meals and com­plete the or­der­ing process.

“If the con­sumer vis­its the store again and takes a pic­ture with the ma­chine, it will be able to rec­og­nize his or her face and show the pre­vi­ous pur­chase his­tory, re­mem­ber the cus­tomer’s din­ing habits, and help to place an or­der faster,” said Wu Zhongqin, deputy di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of Deep Learn­ing of Baidu Inc, which helped to de­velop the tech­nol­ogy.

With an­other ma­chine with an aug­mented re­al­ity, or AR func­tion, cus­tomers are able to in­ter­act with the ma­chine, change fa­cial ex­pres­sions by shak­ing their heads in front of the ma­chine, take pho­tos, and save them to their phones.

In April, KFC, an af­fil­i­ate of Yum China Hold­ings Inc, started its first Chi­nese smart restau­rant in Shang­hai. The out­let is equipped with in­tel­li­gent ro­bot or­der­ing, de­but­ing the use of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence in chain restau­rants.

Zhao Li, gen­eral man­ager of Bei­jing KFC, said smart restau­rants are not only about the cool hard­ware, but more about pro­vid­ing con­ve­nience to con­sumers.

“Our in­no­va­tions make use of the cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies and they will help to at­tract more young con­sumers who pre­fer fash­ion­able new things. The dig­i­tal­iza­tion of the restau­rant will also help to pro­vide faster and eas­ier ser­vices,” she said.

“We be­lieve that the restau­rant din­ing ex­pe­ri­ences must con­tinue to up­grade. With 5,000 stores in China, we plan to ex­pand such ser­vices na­tion­wide soon, to adapt to the dig­i­tal age and en­able more con­sumers to ex­pe­ri­ence en­joy­able or­der­ing ex­pe­ri­ences.”

REUTERS

La­bor­ers clean the ex­ter­nal wall of a KFC restau­rant in Huaibei, Anhui prov­ince.

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