KFC Dishes Up Artificial Intelligence and Facial Recognition in China


KFC Baidu China AI

KFC has debuted an intriguing facial recognition ordering system at a location in Beijing.

Fueled by Baidu, known as the “Google of China,” the kiosk deployed by KFC in partnership with KFC of China makes order recommendations based on what it perceives about the person in front of it. Once you’re standing there, it factors into its algorithm perceived age, gender and facial expression, Techcrunch reported.

KFC China

So, for example, the KFC-Baidu device might recommend “porridge and soybean milk for breakfast” for a “female customer in her 50s,” as perceived by the device, according to a Baidu press release. And for a male customer in his early 20s, “a set meal of crispy chicken hamburger, roasted chicken wings and Coke for lunch.”

Lest customers reject such digitization, Baidu explained that on subsequent visits, the setup will remember what you ordered before and suggest your past favorites. That, of course, might raise privacy concerns.

The collaboration is part of a broader effort between Baidu and KFC of China to be the first restaurant chain to offer services enabled by artificial intelligence. Their prototype outlet for that effort is called Original+, a concept store in Shanghai. The store offers “a continuum of digitalized experience from ordering, to paying, and to entertainment,” reports Shanghai Daily.

Elsewhere in Shanghai, KFC’s sibling brand, Pizza Hut, also is experimenting with artificial intelligence to meet customer needs. One Pizza Hut has deployed a two-foot-tall robot named Casper as a waiter, to lead people to seats, take and deliver drink orders, and so on. And Casper doesn’t care whether it recognizes your face or not.


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