Flippy the robot was just the beginning.
Since introducing the burger-flipping machine at its CaliBurger chain in 2018, Cali Group has expanded into several other restaurant technologies under the leadership of John Miller, chairman and CEO. His latest venture is facial recognition technology, developed by Cali Group company PopID.
The cloud-based platform allows consumers to log in at a kiosk using facial recognition. They can then access their loyalty account, make payments and receive personalized recommendations. It has already rolled out to more than a dozen restaurant chains, including CaliBurger, Deli Time and Rounds Bakery.
“What we have leaned is that customers love it, and it’s had a real operational impact on the restaurant,” Miller said in a recent NRN Extra Serving podcast.
Customers give their consent to log in or pay using facial recognition each time they use it, which keeps it from infringing on state laws that restrict the use of the biometrics, he explained.
The next frontier could be the drive-through, where Miller sees strong potential for the technology. More sophisticated data analysis to inform order suggestions is also on the way, he said.
Meanwhile Flippy 2.0 recently made its debut, featuring a robot that moves on rails, as well as a two-robot kitchen with one robot each working the fry and burger stations.
“We are still very early in kitchen automation,” said Miller. “In time, it will continue to do more and more things.”