If you ever felt that checking out at a KFC was too difficult, there is now a cashless method to pay for your fried chicken. A Chinese restaurant is testing a facial recognition payment system for your convenience.
At this KFC in Hangzhou, all it will take to pay for your food is a big smile. The new method of payment is called “Smile to Pay.” KFC launched Smile to Pay as part of a partnership with Alipay.
Alipay is a mobile and online payment system from Chinese mega-company Alibaba. According to Alipay, the facial recognition process takes only two seconds, as it scans customers face with a 3D camera.
They claim that the camera includes a “live-ness detection algorithm” as an anti-fraud safety measure. In addition to the quick face scan, customers will need to enter their phone number to confirm their authentication.
Alibaba has been serious about facial recognition payment services for some time. President Jack Ma debuted a simple demonstration of the technology two years ago at IFA in Germany.
The company that built the technology, Megvii, recently raised $100 million.
This venture with Alipay is not KFC’s first venture into facial recognition tech or crazy marketing stunts.
Last year, the company’s Chinese division worked with Baidu to create “smart restaurants.” The concept used similar technology which scanned users faces and offered food suggestions based on mood, age, and gender.
In the past, KFC has tried tech-based marketing ideas in their restaurants. One idea produced a meal box that allowed you to charge your phone as you ate.
Another put a paper thin Bluetooth keyboard as your place mat, allowing you to text with sloppy fingers without touching your phone.
Facial recognition is gaining steam with rumors that the newest iPhone will have this feature. It is too soon to tell if customers like paying for fried chicken with their face, but it is certainly an interesting idea.