Tech in Action: Ordering a burger with your face

CaliBurger uses facial recognition to connect loyalty data and make easy payments at its restaurants.

QSR chain CaliBurger has a stated mission to use technology to improve its dining experience, and it’s starting by using facial recognition to make ordering food almost instantaneous.

CaliBurger worked with NEC to install kiosks equipped with facial recognition technology into a location in Pasadena, California. Users can have their facial scan connected to their loyalty account, so simply stepping up to the terminal will bring up their most frequent orders and eliminate the need to navigate menus to find a meal option or to customize their order.

The facial scan is also associated with a payment method, allowing customers to pay instantly.

“Face-based loyalty significantly reduces the friction associated with loyalty program registration and use; further, it enables a restaurant chain like CaliBurger to provide a customized, one-on-one interactive experience at the ordering kiosk,” said John Miller, chairman and CEO of Cali Group, in a press release, adding the company has a goal to replace credit cards with face-based payments as part of a broader strategy to make the restaurant industry as convenient as digital retailers like Amazon.

The restaurant chain is also testing the use of AI and robotics to improve efficiency in its kitchens and the use of autonomous vehicles for delivery.

In addition to the trail run in California, CaliBurger will be bringing the kiosks to the NRF 2018 Big Retail Show next week. The chain has said that it may roll out the kiosks to other locations in the U.S. and internationally, depending on feedback from consumer testing.