Over the last decade or so, foodie culture, globalization and fad dieting have combined to make eating out on the town an increasingly complicated endeavor. With the ability to add bacon or some other gourmet topping to virtually every kind of entree and/or sidestep a food allergy in the process, customizing your order at a fast-casual or QSR counter has never been so involved. CaliBurger, the West Coast provider of SoCal-style burgers and seasoned fries aimed at usurping the established In-N-Out Burger Empire, has tailored its future restaurant model around this developing reality and is making its mark first in terms of ordering technology. The restaurant chain’s new point-of-sale (POS) system is called the “FACE” AI Kiosk, and it has the ability to function as a friendly cashier while also suggesting additions and customizations from the menu based on facial recognition and your order history.
Upon their first visit, diners are prompted to attach their face to their account using NEC’s NeoFace biometric software. This not only allows one to automatically and securely pull up past orders with a simple scan of the mug, but it also lets you earn points (or Calicoins) towards free food down the road. The implementation of FACE also presumably cuts down on the number of potential human errors that cashiers can make when manually punching in a customer’s burger specifications. CaliBurger customers still have to use their credit card for the time being, but the company hopes to replace this with face-only payment later this year.
FACE is being test-driven at CaliBurger’s Pasadena location, but widespread adoption and expansion plans are only a matter of time assuming customers respond well to the quick and personalized approach. Check out the video below for a demonstration. The kiosk commercial’s director, Ashley Avis of Winterstone Pictures, took a page out of Rob Reiner’s book and had several actors break the fourth wall to talk about the real-life complications and stress of ordering at mealtime and how the POS kiosk streamlines the process as they scrunch into a furnished sofa and echo the domestic banter of lovable couples from When Harry Met Sally.