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Biometric payments grow in fast food, but threatened by online ordering

Biometric payments grow in fast food, but threatened by online ordering
 

Biometric scanning’s not uncommon to employees of fast-food restaurants, where they have been used for clock-in and -out. Customers have used their biometric identifiers to pay far less frequently, although that might be changing.

There are makers of AI software and chips for eateries (including school canteens) that see the enormous sector as fertile ground for algorithm use. And yet, while that would seem like a good bet, there are reports that algorithm-powered kiosks at burger joints could already be passé.

Processor-maker BrainChip Holdings is planning on a longer run for the use case, however.

The Australia-based company last week said it’s integrating its hardware and the AI/ML software of . BrainChip makes edge AI silicon, including its Akida processor, which company executives describe as the market’s first “fully digital” neuromorphic chip.

According to a statement released by BrainChip, Indian startup GMAC is writing code designed to make biometric scanning a mainstream payment option in fast-food restaurants. The product will be called QSRBot 247 (QSR stands for quick-service restaurants, the term the fast-food industry uses to describe itself).

GMAC reportedly will coordinate everything from taking orders to putting bags in customers’ hands – including recognizing customers’ faces, voices and vehicles. BrainChip’s Akida processor will translate everything into action, according to the chip company.

Digital identity is being pushed in fast-food outlets by SaaS customer service app maker Olo. Its software enables payment with a digital wallet now, and the company’s CEO speaks approvingly of future product expansion into facial recognition.

Noah Glass, the founder of Olo, said in a note last week to investors that each of the company’s product lines, Order, Pay and Engage, have been updated. The updates have given the firm its first on-premises, customer-facing products, which are available in kiosks supplied by Bite.

The kicker is that in the same article in which Glass comments on biometric scanning’s future in eateries, that future is questioned. The news item, in trade publication Pymnts, notes that executives at industry giant, Restaurant Brands International have said digital-ID kiosks are “already outdated.”

The counter kiosk “is becoming less relevant” in China, according to Pymnts reporting, although McDonald’s, an early adopter of biometrics, remains popular. Online avenues for ordering and paying already are usurping digital ID systems in stores, including biometric scanning.

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