Facial recognition and biometric tech appears in eateries

Innovation in machine learning and A.I. is presenting new opportunities to integrate biometric and facial recognition technology into consumers’ everyday lives, from checking into an airport lounge or checking out of a self-service store to tracking emotional or physical health. Additional programs are incorporating such tech into restaurant services to increase efficiency and improve convenience.


Digital payment is preferable to cash among young consumers, and Sthaler’s Fingopay system is an innovative method allowing shoppers to leave their wallet at home. The British fintech firm collaborated with Danish debit card company Dankort to put its biometric finger payment system into the restaurant and coffee shop on campus at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, turning it into a self-service location. Fingopay has also been implemented at Brunel University in London for checkout at the on-campus grocery store.


Pivoting a year ago from interactive digital restaurant menus to facial recognition food ordering kiosks, startup company Bite, which graduated from the Food-X accelerator program, has about a dozen of its kiosks in pilot programs at quick-service restaurants. The kiosks, which can save a user’s preferences, unlock loyalty programs, upsell products, and use machine learning to present the most relevant options first (i.e., showing vegetarian choices to a consumer who often orders from that category) are intended to improve customer service but not replace human staff like at self-service eateries.


Entrepreneur Geoff Cropley purchased Bahista Cafe 231 in Sydney, Australia three years ago but soon realized the coffee shop was missing a scalable way to implement a personal touch and sought a technological solution. Cropley and a former colleague came up with facial recognition ordering software using algorithms and A.I. learning, producing NoahFace. NoahFace remembers consumers and their ordering preferences and tracks their loyalty program data, sharing the information with the barista behind the counter so they can use it to improve customer service, walking the fine line between bots and nots to increase efficiency while maintaining a human touch.