As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, the dining experience of yesterday with packed houses and high table turnover feels like a distant memory. To adapt to our “new normal” we have to implement new methods of conducting business safely. Thankfully, with new tools and technologies we can exceed expectations and keep customers coming back.
Biometric technology, such as facial recognition, offers enhanced health and safety, personalizes the dining experience, offers a more efficient bill payment system, and increases patron loyalty. Facial recognition technology is also playing a significant role in reinventing fast-food processes such as curbside pickup, drive-through, interactive kiosks, and loyalty programs. It can even provide safer and more secure work environments for employees by connecting access control, time and attendance, and payment systems.
Let's walk through some of the most transformative use cases for restaurants.
One of the many repercussions of the pandemic is that people have reconsidered how they handle cash and credit cards and switched to digital payment options. Not only is paying one of the least sanitary parts of the dining experience, it is also the least enjoyable part of dining out for patrons.
When integrated into the payment process, facial recognition technology reduces physical contact and therefore the spread of germs. It also makes the experience more efficient by instantly scanning a guest's face for verification and payment.
Not only does facial recognition provide a touchless and swift payment experience, it is arguably the safest technology in identity verification, dramatically reducing the risk of payment fraud.
Restaurants under government guidelines may need to continue to find ways to enforce social distancing and capacity requirements to stay in business. Facial recognition technology helps with social distancing and capacity measures by identifying the proximity between individuals. This capability helps gauge safe social distancing while ensuring diners and staff a safe, enjoyable restaurant experience.
For fast-food restaurants, where people often stand close together to order food, this technology makes queue and capacity control more efficient without requiring the labor of a staff member. Facial recognition also keeps track of the number of people in the store, and provides access control to manage customer entry and exit.
Personalization is fundamental to increasing customer satisfaction. Consumers value personal experiences and conversations with their favorite waiters, baristas, and bartenders.
Facial recognition technology is an impactful tool that allows restaurants to create personalized experiences for loyal customers, and encourage first-time guests to return. Opted-in diners are instantly recognized as VIPs, providing them with personalized service upon entering a restaurant. The same facial recognition technology that empowers contactless payments can also recall customer preferences, such as the weekly regular who likes his burger rare with no lettuce or tomato, thus increasing customer satisfaction. It also provides detailed insights into diners’ emotional responses to their food and experience, allowing restaurants to make modifications based on this data.
The pandemic has been a catalyst for major changes in the fast-food industry.
Online orders are often connected to loyalty programs. Starbucks customers, for instance, log into their mobile app and use QR code technology to identify themselves at the cash register. However, with facial recognition, customers are immediately identified, meaning they don’t need to remember a password or log into an app. They can just show up, enjoy VIP treatment, and pick up their order.
Several fast-food chains are also rolling out self-service kiosks to reduce lines at the counter. Facial recognition technology turns these kiosks into interactive experiences by recognizing loyalty program members and presenting personalized menus based on past orders. Facial recognition also provides fast-food restaurants with real-time demographic information so they can adjust digital menus, predict customer orders, and personalize offers.
Additionally, staff can instantly greet customers who ordered online and hand them their meal, further eliminating virus transmission and streamlining the payment process by offering contactless payments.
These facial recognition technologies are also being employed in drive-through lines. Curbside kiosks are growing in popularity, eliminating the need to go inside, and saving time. Other counter options available at the drive-through include loyalty program member recognition, personalized offerings and perks, and contactless payment and order pick-up.
So far we have focused primarily on customer experience, but facial recognition offers many benefits for employees and management too. Advanced technologies like FaceMe® can be installed at staff entrances to check body temperature and mask-wearing while accurately identifying employees, even if they are wearing masks. It also simplifies clocking-in/out by instantly recording time and attendance. Cameras placed in areas where mask-wearing is mandatory, such as kitchens, can be connected to FaceMe to ensure compliance. Finally, adding facial recognition to POS terminals gives staff instantaneous and accurate login capabilities without the need for keys or cards.
Several facial recognition solutions are available to help restaurants meet customer and employee needs for safe, smart, and customized dining experiences.
FaceMe SDK is a facial recognition engine that can be embedded into existing AIoT solutions such as health kiosks, digital signage, ordering kiosks, and payment systems to create personalized and efficient customer experiences. Depending on your specific needs, it can be installed on a PC or workstation.
FaceMe Security is an easy-to-deploy software solution that performs facial recognition even if users are wearing a mask. It can also display body temperature (when connected to a thermal camera), identify opted-in VIP customers, clock-in/out employees, flag block-listed individuals, and send real-time alerts to security personnel. It also works with access control systems to restrict entry to verified and authorized people. Furthermore, it can provide insight for social distancing and queueing measures.
To perform health checks (mask detection and body temperature), FaceMe Health is installed on a PC connected to a camera with thermal imaging capabilities. If a person is not properly wearing a mask or has an elevated body temperature, the software provides instant notifications to staff via the U Alert system. FaceMe Health offers contactless pandemic control measures to ensure restaurants are safe and secure.
Covid-19 has undoubtedly affected dining experiences, including where and how we dine. Additionally, it has forced restaurants to reevaluate health and safety measures. In the future, restaurants will continue to look for new and creative ways to improve customer experience and ensure customer loyalty. Facial recognition technologies like FaceMe are empowering restaurants to reinvent old processes, creating healthier, more efficient, and more enjoyable experiences.
Read our ultimate guide on facial recognition for a complete overview of facial recognition, how it works, and how to deploy it. For other facial recognition use cases, check out the Top 7 Use Cases for Facial Recognition in 2022.
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