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Biometrics are moving the restaurant industry beyond cards and phones

Biometrics are moving the restaurant industry beyond cards and phones

In an era of rapid technological advancements, biometric payment methods are emerging as a game-changer for the restaurant industry. Integrating palm scanning and facial recognition technologies into payment and loyalty systems offers a faster, more secure, and more reliable means of identifying customers. By eliminating the need for physical cards, PINs, phone numbers and manually entered data as identification methods, these biometric systems provide convenience, streamline operations, reduce the risk of identity theft, and enhance the overall guest experience. Companies like Panera and Steak ‘n Shake are among the popular restaurant chains adopting these cutting-edge solutions.

Panera, in collaboration with Amazon One, has introduced palm biometrics scanning to some of its cafes, integrating it with its 52-million-member loyalty program. With palm scanning, customers can make payments and access their loyalty rewards effortlessly. This technology reduces the possibility of human error when looking up a customer’s account and has improved the speed and accuracy of loyalty identification and registration, the company told Restaurant Dive. According to George Hanson, Panera’s chief digital officer, “It’s shortening up the time of order. It’s increasing the accuracy of that loyalty identification and it’s confidently enabling the associate to deliver a personalized experience to that guest. You take the stress away from the associate, take the stress away from the guest, and it’s just easy.”

Steak ‘n Shake has partnered with PopID to enhance its self-service kiosk experience and loyalty rewards program, according to a company announcement. Through the opt-in service called PopID Check In, guests can scan their faces to automatically sign into their loyalty accounts and view their past orders. Moreover, customers can use facial recognition with PopPay, a payment feature that allows for automated transactions. This streamlined process eliminates the need for ID cards, passwords, or loyalty numbers during the ordering phase, providing a fast and convenient experience, the company says. By incorporating facial recognition technology, Steak ‘n Shake aims to deliver a streamlined and personalized ordering experience for its guests.

Adopting palm scanning and facial recognition technologies in loyalty programs and payment systems brings numerous potential advantages. First and foremost, these biometric-based methods offer a faster and more reliable means of identifying customers compared to traditional methods. Unlike credit cards or smartphones, palms and faces cannot be misplaced, stolen, or lost, reducing the risk of fraud. Additionally, eliminating physical cards and smartphones simplifies the checkout process and enhances convenience for customers and staff alike. By reducing the time spent on identification, these technologies enable associates to deliver personalized experiences and quicker service, increasing customer satisfaction.

Integrating biometric technologies into loyalty programs and payment systems could mark a significant step forward in the evolution of the restaurant industry. With advancements in security and accuracy, these systems have the potential to transform the way customers engage with restaurants, making transactions and rewards more accessible and convenient than ever before.

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