KFC’s New Concept Now Accepts Faces as Payment

Global attempts to do away with dat cash money continue.

By Ethan L. Johns
September 06, 2017

Image: Yum China

September 6, 2017 —
Rumor has it that some aboriginal tribes believe a photo is capable of stealing a part of your soul. Now, with new technology from Alibaba introduced at a Hangzhou KFC on September 1st, a photo can take more than that… It can take the money directly out of your bank account. Yes, by flashing your best Blue Steel into an electronic ordering kiosk, you can pay with your face. Try explaining that one to Derek Zoolander.

Everything about the situation is cutting edge: the KFC is not really a KFC but a KPRO, the first restaurant location of a new concept by Yum China which promises to offer a “fresh, seasonal menu to a new generation of sophisticated diners.” And the new “Smile to Pay” technology from Alibaba’s Alipay is like Apple Pay, only without the Apple Pay. Simply present your mug to the 3D camera and voilà, you have been charged for your meal (assuming you have already set up the app on your smartphone). Careful not to lose your face, though, because the Many-Faced God will clean out your bank account before you can call up the bank and ask them for a new one.

But hold on, can we take a minute to study this menu?

You can get a seasonal mango salad:

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Or this “Chef-Recommended” set that has a grilled chicken sandwich and a salad with… is that shrimp?

Sounds nothing like KFC, not that it’s a bad thing. But if you’re one of those people who’d like to order at a counter (like this writer), you’re SOL. At KPRO, ordering is done exclusively through digital kiosk or through your mobile phone, “enabling customers to enjoy their experience, without distraction.”

After abandoning the longform version of the brand’s name, it seems as though KFC is hell-bent on distancing itself from both “Kentucky” and “Fried” foods (and from interacting with its clientele). Looks like the future of KFChicken is grilled.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns