Lonely Planet Writer

KFC in China is to predict customers’ orders using facial recognition

We’re getting used to facial recognition technology being used in airports, but now KFC in Beijing, China, is using the pioneering technology to try to predict its customers’ fast food choices.

KFC in China is to predict customers’ orders using facial recognition, Image: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images
KFC in China is to predict customers’ orders using facial recognition, Image: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

The fried chicken restaurant has acquired software by Baidu that makes recommendations about what customers might order, based on factors that include their age, gender and facial expression.

KFC in China is to predict customers’ orders using facial recognition. Image: Baidu/KFC
KFC in China is to predict customers’ orders using facial recognition. Image: Baidu/KFC

A self-ordering booth scans its customers’ faces and makes recommendations based on what it finds. If you have used the service before, it will recall your previous choices and suggest them to you again.

KFC in China is to predict customers’ orders using facial recognition, Image: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images
KFC in China is to predict customers’ orders using facial recognition, Image: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

In a press release on the subject, the company says that the system would suggest a set meal of crispy chicken hamburger, roasted chicken wings and coke for lunch to a male customer in his early 20’s. A female customer in her 50’s would be given a recommendation of porridge and soybean milk for breakfast.

KFC in China is to predict customers’ orders using facial recognition, Image: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images
KFC in China is to predict customers’ orders using facial recognition, Image: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

KFC and Baidu say that they hope to be able to predict what customers will want in future. Their aim is to provide a personalised ordering experience by recalling repeat customers and their orders.

KFC in China is to predict customers’ orders using facial recognition, Image: David Butow/Corbis via Getty Images
KFC in China is to predict customers’ orders using facial recognition, Image: David Butow/Corbis via Getty Images

It may be the future of fast food ordering, as the company plans to eventually expand facial recognition technology to its 5000 stores around China.

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