Chinese KFC Smart Restaurants Use Baidu Facial Recognition To Make Meal Suggestions

If you loathe having to talk out loud when ordering a meal at a fast-food restaurant, and you happen to love KFC, then you might want to start considering packing it up and moving to China where Baidu has just teamed up with the major chicken brand to create a more automated restaurant.

At this particular KFC location in China, patrons can walk up to a display and simply let it decide a meal for them (don't fret: the user can override with their own choices). The idea here is to see how good Baidu's algorithm can guess what someone's in the mood for, based on a variety of metrics and some machine learning.

KFC Baidu

In a particular example, a man in his 20s might get a suggestion for a crispy chicken burger, chicken wings, and the healthiest part of the meal, a Coca Cola. A woman in her 50s, by contrast, could be recommended a delicious porridge and soybean milk for breakfast.

We must imagine that this system has many predefined suggestions in place for all sorts of people, but this technology goes even further than simply taking a stab at what you want to eat. If you frequent the location, for example, you'll not just be remembered, but be able to see previous orders, in case you're stuck in a rut (variety is probably the secret spice in KFC's chicken!)

Of course, with such tech comes a couple of caveats, with the big ones here being that a fast-food restaurant would be capturing a photo (or video) as well as your voice, if you choose to speak. Fortunately, if an absolute lack of privacy bothers you, you can simply not go to this location.

Hopefully in time, Baidu will cough up some metrics with this system; it would be very interesting to know how often the system made the right guess, for example. The company has been pretty transparent about such things in the past, so hopefully this will not deviate from tradition.