Before the COVID-19 pandemic, people mainly worried about where their food came from. Was it organic, locally raised, grain-fed, etc. (It was a simpler time.) But as the virus has spread, the bigger concern for consumers is who has touched their food, and were they wearing gloves and a face mask when they did so.
This is the socially distant, contactless delivery world that we now live in, which actually makes it the perfect time for Dragontail Systems to launch its new AI-powered camera that detects the sanitary conditions of food prep areas as the food is being packaged up for delivery.
You may remember Dragontail when its camera + computer vision system debuted at Domino’s in Australia last year. Dragontail’s camera is mounted above the workstation in Domino’s back of house where pizzas come out of the oven, are sliced up and boxed.
Back then, the Dragontail system was being used to assess quality control: that the pizza was the right shape with the right toppings, and that it was cooked properly. Dragontail’s camera took pictures of the pizza and Domino’s sent those pics to the customer as a way of showing hey, your pizza order was made properly and it’s heading out to you.
Now, in addition to the existing quality control features, Dragontail announced today that its camera system can check for sanitation conditions. The camera detects things like whether gloves and facemasks being worn, or how often a workspace is sanitized. The exact parameters of what to look for are up to the restaurant, as are how violations are communicated to the worker and/or manager.
So now, in addition to a picture of the food cooked properly, restaurants can provide a customer with a checklist of steps taken to show that the food was also handled properly. The end customer, then, can feel a little more comfortable knowing the restaurant followed proper cleanliness procedures.
We actually started seeing similar technology pop up last year in, of all places, China. As we wrote then, AI systems were installed in restaurants in the Shaoxing Province of China to monitor for unsanitary conditions like improper uniforms and mixed use of cutting boards. More recently in India, home cook marketplace FoodCloud launched a Kitchen Cam, which offers customers video footage of the kitchen and cooks as they make and package food.
Dragontail’s camera is currently being used in more than 2,500 stores across Australia, Canada, Singapore, the UK and Belgium. With today’s announcement, the company is ready to expand into the U.S. and work with restaurants of all sizes. The cameras cost between $500 and $1,000 and there is a $50 monthly fee for the computer vision systems.
As we’ve written before, the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating changes throughout the meal journey. With cameras like Dragontail’s likely becoming more commonplace, the meal journey will now include pictures.