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Thursday, September 7, 2017

KFC pilots smile-to-pay in China

The launch of KPRO by KFC as a new restaurant concept from Yum China Holdings Inc. represents a landmark moment for the quick service restaurant category. The Hangzhou, China-based restaurant plans to cater to China's burgeoning population of urban professionals by offering seasonal, made-to-order dishes and delivering integrative technologies such as Alipay's new Smile to Pay facial recognition payment solution.

"We are excited to partner with Alipay to bring the world's first commercial application of the facial recognition payment solution to our customers," said Johnson Huang, General Manager at KFC. "With the adoption of the facial recognition payment solution, KPRO customers can experience this ground-breaking technology while enjoying fresh and tasty meals prepared in our open kitchen."

Instead of reaching for a wallet, Alipay's unique technology enables KPRO customers to utilize multistep authentication, which includes a facial scan and mobile phone number, for self-identification and to facilitate payment. Ant Financial Services Group unveiled an early beta version of Smile to Pay at the 2015 CEBIT technology expo in Germany and an advanced version earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"Yum China has a history of adopting innovative technologies to enhance the in-store dining experience, and we could think of no better place to pilot this advanced technology," said Jidong Chen, Ant Financial's Director of Biometric Identification Technology. "Smile to Pay will bring another level of convenience for customers."

Fresh food, fresh tech

Yum China President and Chief Operating Office Joey Wat described KPRO as "an exciting and fresh new concept for young, tech savvy consumers who are keen to embrace new tastes and innovations." In addition to offering facial recognition payments, cutting-edge technologies have been implemented throughout the restaurant to provide a convenient and connected in-restaurant experience, the company noted.

For example, instead of having to wait in line at a traditional counter to place orders, counters have been eliminated in the new concept store. KPRO customers can order food at strategically located digital kiosks or use their mobile phones to scan quick response codes and order directly from tables once inside the restaurant. KPRO staff will then serve the food directly to the table to create a distraction-free experience, according to Yum China.

Huang added that "elevating the customer experience through new design, flavors and technologies has always been central to our approach at KFC in China." KPRO is expected to draw Chinese customers seeking healthier alternatives to KFC's signature fried chicken. end of article

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