Earlier this year, KFC pulled its “finger lickin good” ad campaign because during a global coronavirus pandemic, touching your face, let alone putting your fingers in your mouth, is not such a great idea.
Now it looks like a KFC in Moscow is going one step further and reducing the number of fingers ever touching your food. Bloomberg uploaded a video this week of the inner workings of said KFC, which uses conveyor belts, an articulating arm and cubbies to move food from the kitchen to consumer.
This KFC actually shows off a number of technologies restaurants are implementing as they move towards a more contactless experience. Customers order via self-serve kiosk. Conveyor belts and the robotic arm then move the tray of food out of the kitchen, and an enclosed cubby holds the order and unlocks when the customer enters a code on the touchscreen.
The KFC is not entirely humanless, however. It looks as though there are still people (with masks and gloves) in the back of house preparing and assembling the order. And the process is far from contactless as customers still need to enter their orders and pickup codes on touchscreens with their fingers.
But this peek inside KFC does point to a direction that we could see more QSRs headed. Fears over the coronavirus are pushing restaurants to create fewer points of human contact inside their stores.
This type of automation isn’t cheap, however. Cost was one of the reasons Flippy’s first iteration didn’t make a lot of headway with restaurants. But at least in the U.S., where the pandemic doesn’t show signs of abating, operators may decide that the cost to implement more tech is worth it to keep the business going.