Imagine pulling up to the drive-through of your favorite fast-food place and finding that everything you were about to order has been freshly prepared especially for you and all you need to do is pay for it. This idea seems way too far-fetched right now, but the concept has already been tested out in some places. How are fast-food businesses able to predict what every customer is going to order? They’re able to do this with license plate recognition technology.
What is License Plate Recognition?
Every registered vehicle has a unique license plate number. License plate cameras are special cameras that are capable of capturing these numbers in a variety of speeds and weather, but these cameras don’t do anything more than this. Without license plate recognition, the numbers will just stay numbers without any meaning. License plate recognition refers to the software that takes the numbers that the camera captured and matches it up to a database. Doing this can have many uses, like finding a car that was reported as stolen or automatically allowing a car onto private property.
Making Fast-Food Faster
License plate recognition has been around for decades, but different industries are continuously finding more uses for it. Now, the fast-food industry is starting to use this technology to make their service even faster. But how does this work?
In a sense, license plate recognition works like how face recognition helps retailers to identify repeat customers. In this process, customers can sign up to make a customer profile and register their vehicles. When the customer pulls into the parking lot, license plate recognition cameras will be there to read the plates and send their profile to the kitchen. The kitchen will then be able to see their order history along with their payment method and begin to prepare food that they are likely to order. This method has been proven to be successful since only about 10% of customers choose a different order.
In addition to saving time on food preparation, this concept also improves upselling. By looking at previous orders, fast-food establishments are able to determine each customers preferences. They can then use this information to tailor menus to each customer to suggest items they might like.
This technology has already been widely used in industries like law enforcement and transportation, but experts predict that it will become more prevalent in our everyday lives. What do you think about this concept? Is it convenient or is this an invasion of privacy? Some critics claim that this is another step towards complete surveillance, but it’s definitely an interesting and innovative idea.