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Pepsi’s Touchless Technology Is The Next Step For Self-Serve Innovation
02/04/22

Pepsi’s Touchless Technology Is The Next Step For Self-Serve Innovation

A new gesture-based kiosk from PepsiCo, powered by Ultraleap technology, gives consumers a more hygienic touchless experience. 

Consumer appetite for convenience is only growing, and within the quick-service restaurant (QSR) landscape, convenience is what reigns supreme. That’s why PepsiCo in partnership with Ultraleap’s touchless solutions for interactive kiosks created a first-of-its-kind restaurant menu that is controlled wholly by the customer’s hand gestures. Without having to physically touch the screens, users can place an order just by moving their hands – the next-generation technology uses computer vision to track how the customer is moving their hands and sense where they are pointing to on the menu. 

Developed in response to health and hygiene concerns coming out of the pandemic, as well as to take advantage of the evolving consumer familiarity with new technologies like digital kiosk ordering, the brand’s touchless system was recently trialed at a KFC in Poland. The results were impressive, with customers able to place their orders in as little  as 40 seconds on average.  The QSR industry overall is moving increasingly toward digital kiosk ordering. Their use can lead to a reduction in wait times for customers and an improvement in overall efficiencies for restaurants. However, as many as 80% of consumers consider public touchscreens, with their finger oil smears and other left-upon detritus, to be unhygienic. In response, brands are looking to and developing other digital kosk options that provide the same seamless experience, without the necessity of being the hundredth person to swipe through the same screen that day. Low contact technology and innovations that enable interactions and transactions with minimal human contact offer an attractive solution. 

The Pepsi and KFC trial is the first to use a touch-free gesture Kiosk interface in a QSR setting. The innovative pilot was used in part to gather insights around how such a novel technology could scale across franchise chain locations, or be used to supplement and enhance the curbside and drive-through experience. Learnings like where best to position the kiosk in a restaurant, what happens to the computer vision platform’s hand-tracking when customer are wearing gloves or holding something else in their hand,  as well as the kiosk’s height and accessibility, will be important for wider adoption and deployment. The company’s takeaway seems to be that the gesture-technology is an effective and efficient way to order, and that the touchless digital kiosks offer a viable alternative. 

Modern applications of classic vending machinery and digital tools are helping brands and retailers create automated customer experiences that offer convenience through streamlined purchase processes. By outfitting displays, kiosks, and stores with a mixture of AI, computer vision and mobile-activated features, retailers are empowering consumers to use their own devices to access product information, make selections, and complete transactions in a frictionless manner that prioritizes consumer safety. 

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This article originally appeared in the PSFK iQ report, Enhancing CX with Frictionless Retail Automation.