Quick service chain KFC has partnered with Baidu, China’s leading company in search and AI technology, to create a new concept store in Shanghai that uses conversational robots as servers. Billed as “the world’s first human-free fast food restaurant,” the new KFC store Original+ replaces human cashiers with small robots named Du Mi, which can take orders and process payments. The pear-shaped robots are designed to be cordial and engaging, ushering customers through their ordering process.
Why Brands Should Care
This innovative store by KFC offers a new example for how brands, especially those operating physical storefronts, can partner with tech providers to incorporate emerging technology – such as voice-activated conversational interfaces in this case – into their in-store experience. As consumers continue to seek out new experiences, brands need to be mindful of the new technologies that can help modernize the customer experience.
Source: Digital Trends
Apple Pay continues to gain momentum as Apple announced today its planned roll-out in Starbucks, KFC, and Chili’s locations across the country. Apple’s mobile payment solution will be tested in a few select Starbucks outlets later this year, with a nationwide roll-out in 2016. Both KFC and Chili’s will also start supporting it early next year. Given the early success of Starbucks’ own mobile app, which includes features such as a loyalty program and, more recently, mobile ordering, it will be interesting to see how Starbucks will integrate Apple Pay into its existing mobile assets.
These new partnerships, especially the one with Starbucks, will undoubtedly broaden Apple Pay’s reach and help accelerate the mass adoption of Apple’s mobile payment. For retailers, this means now is the time to start thinking about incorporating your existing reward and loyalty programs into new point of sale systems, in order to give your customers a frictionless shopping experience.
KFC has released the Chicken Corsage which pairs baby’s breath flowers with room for a drumstick. The corsage costs $20 and comes with a $5 gift check for the poultry adornment. Clearly KFC’s aim is not to sell more chicken through the corsages directly, although wearable food does seem like a good investment. In reality, it drums up a great deal of buzz as they connect with a younger audience around the awkward hilarity of prom. So far, the marketing stunt has garnered over 200K views on their YouTube video also hosted on a microsite.