American fast food giant Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has opened a fully automated outlet of its popular franchise in Moscow featuring essentially zero contact between customers and employees, and a biometric payment option.
The ‘restaurant of the future’ — as KFC calls it — in Moscow comes three years after the company launched its first ‘naked payments’-ready store in Hangzhou, China, through a partnership with Alibaba’s Alipay and its Smile to Pay platform, which connects a user’s face biometrics to their payment account.
At the Moscow location, staff prepare the customer’s order in the kitchen, placing the food on a conveyor belt when it is ready. An automated robotic arm then takes the order off the belt, placing it into a cabinet that can only be unlocked from the customer’s side with a code provided to them.
Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and attempts by governments everywhere to mitigate its spread, restaurants around the world have had to close for several months. Moscow — where there have been 200,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 — is preparing to allow some restaurants to reopen this week, with restrictions to promote safety.
Though the new Moscow location is equipped with the ability for customers to pay using facial recognition for biometric authentication, it is not clear whether KFC and Alibaba are working together again with the Smile to Pay system in this case.
June 23, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis