The Post-COVID Future of Quick Service and Fast Casual Restaurants

As we start to think about life in a post-COVID world, one of the main questions is what part of our revamped lifestyles are here to stay? Financial crises, natural disasters, and societal developments always lead to innovation and transformation, and COVID-19 is no different. Among the trends that will be long-lasting is the shift away from touch-based interactions toward touchless ones. We believe that the future is touchless everything.

In the quick-serve restaurant (QSR) industry, touchless everything means the whole experience from ordering, menus, payment, drive-thru and pickup. As dining in has been limited, the demand for drive-thru and pickup has increased exponentially. Increased demand, though, has its downsides. Long lines mean poor customer experience and lost sales opportunities as drivers may be deterred from waiting.

In fact, according to one study, the use of digital menu boards, which shaves off 12.3 seconds of throughput, can result in nearly $28,000 in savings per location, equating to hundreds of millions of dollars for large QSRs. The reverse is true in an industry that saw wait times increase by nearly 30 seconds across the board. This means that digital innovation is key to removing friction from the ordering, payment, and pickup interactions so brands can serve more customers, faster and safer.

In addition to digital menus, the use of mobile technologies paired with biometrics provide other opportunities for improved customer experiences. For example, with facial recognition, a guest may simply drive-up to the digital menu and be automatically identified to gain access to personalized special offers, recall a previous order, redeem loyalty rewards and make a payment. This saves time and gives the customer the type of experience that drives incremental sales and creates strong brand loyalty.

Creating Wow Experiences with Facial Recognition

The NEC I:Delight platform is specially designed to create these wow experiences. Adding the I:Delight platform to new or existing apps is simple. Users can easily register by taking a quick selfie for their online profile to create a Digital ID. Once registered, they can simply log-in to the mobile app with their face, or in store at a kiosk, to place an order and approve payment using their secure Digital ID. If a guest is picking up their order in-person, a simple glance at a tablet can alert staff that they have arrived to ensure they receive their order quickly and safely.

Drive-Thru Ordering and Payment

The NEC I:Delight platform can also be incorporated at the drive-thru for enhanced, personalized service and operational efficiency. When a customer pulls-up to the drive-thru, the platform recognizes their Digital ID and alerts staff to the customer’s arrival. Stored preferences and targeted promotions appear on the digital menu screen, and staff can greet the customer by name. If a payment method is saved in the customer’s loyalty account, face verification or a saved PIN is all that is needed to complete the transaction.

According to a recent study commissioned by the Kellogg School of Management, Columbia Graduate School of Business and Harvard Business School, every 7 seconds saved in drive-thru wait times equates to about 1 percent increase in sales. This makes both the customer experience and business value benefit of the NEC I:Delight platform hard to overstate:

  • Increases throughput of customers with a more personalized experience.
  • Easily monitors customer purchasing behaviors to better anticipate customer needs and offer targeted promotions.
  • Brings up pre-order or previous order for faster transactions times, minimizing the time for order customizations.
  • Offers seamless, contactless payments for a faster and safer experience.

NEC is a trusted leader in facial recognition, ranked number one in biometric innovation by NIST for five consecutive years. With over 1,000 deployments in 70 countries around the world and $2.6 billion invested annually in research and development, NEC is the preferred partner for fast-casual restaurants looking for facial recognition-enabled solutions for an enhanced customer experience.

Below is a three-page preview of our eBook. Click here to lean more about our touchless solutions or complete the form below to download the entire eBook.

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From Vision to Fruition: Creating Biometric CX Solutions

NEC is looking at ‘reopening’ from the perspective of returning stronger!

A top priority for businesses today is to create touchless touchpoints that deliver a frictionless, personalized, secure and seamless customer experience.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many industries around the world to change their best practices. Now more than ever, it is imperative for businesses to have a clear reopening plan that isn’t just “reopen the doors” and “return to normal.” Instead, these plans need to address customer and employee concerns simultaneously.

The first step toward creating a unique customer experience is understanding the current business challenges and new innovative possibilities. NEC has partnered with Fresh Consulting to deliver a “Design Thinking” process that reduces risk and maximizes the opportunity to deliver an improved customer experience.

Throughout the discovery process, we will work with your organization to determine how to align internal stakeholders, capitalize on opportunity, mitigate risk and deploy efficiently to maximize ROI.

This proven process includes the following methodologies:

  1. Research
  2. Strategy
  3. Rapid Prototyping
  4. Evaluation
  5. Deployment
  6. Future Roadmap Development

NEC has been a leader in advanced biometric recognition solutions for more than 50 years. Our touchless technology portfolio is used across multiple industries.

Solutions such as contactless payment and face authentication, thermal screening for elevated body temperature (EBT) for customers entering a store or employees entering a warehouse, along with hygienic protocols, can all make a difference when returning to work.

NEC, along with Fresh Consulting, can help drive long-term success for your organization. To learn more and download our white paper visit www.necam.com/fresh.

Below is a three-page preview of our white paper. Click here to learn more or fill out the form below to download the entire whitepaper.

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Touchless Transformation – Creating a New, Safer and Seamless Customer Experience, Post COVID-19

I live and work in New York City, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. As a matter of fact, the first reported case of COVID-19 in the city was a relative of someone in the same grade as my own child, so this crisis hit home very early on with me.

I immediately began to think how to bring 25+ years of experience in biometrics to help address some of the challenges that have emerged in this pandemic. Fortunately, I did not have to look very far. The fact is, NEC has a wide range of cutting-edge biometric solutions that support a touchless transformation already deployed to help protect employees and consumers. In fact, we are already working with our customers to help reopen airports, airlines, hospitals, casinos, restaurants, stadiums, entertainment establishments and other customer-facing venues.

NEC’s mission is to enable touchless customer experiences. We do this via our new digital service platform, NEC I:Delight, that allows our customers to provide more hygienic and secure customer interactions.

Our customer experience platform provides the ability to validate an individual’s identity using pre-enrolled or opted-in identity information, for example, from a driver’s license or a passport. Once their identity is validated, they have the option to leverage their digital identity by accessing their personal profiles, which is fully encrypted and under the user’s control, for contactless permission-based interactions.

NEC’s proven identity management technology and expertise creates new, safe customer experiences.

Our face-based identification platform can be leveraged during travel, while attending events or shopping. Customers can simply use their faces as proof of identity at point of sale and access points  ̶  without physically touching other devices or surfaces, reducing transmission risk to them and the people around them.

Now, more than ever, we need to rebuild confidence in returning to public spaces, for employees and consumers alike. At NEC, we have the experience and proficiency to help support you moving forward.

Reduce Risk When Reopening or Returning to Work

As states start to reopen public areas and businesses begin opening their doors, retailers, restaurants, airlines, casinos, hotels and other businesses must take precautions to ensure a safe environment for their employees and customers. NEC can play a big role in reducing health risks when reopening or returning to work.

Touchless Access Management is a key challenge in responding to COVID-19 to maintain business continuity. NEC’s access management solution uses face-based biometric authentication to enable employees to enter secured buildings or restricted areas without requiring identification cards or touchscreens.

Contactless Facial Payment uses NEC’s award-winning biometrics technology to simultaneously verify the identity of individuals, without contact in-store or online. Additionally, customer loyalty is improved with personalized offers that are suggested to an individual based on their preferences or previous purchase history.

Elevated Body Temperature screening provides rapid, touchless, hygienic physical access in congested high throughput environments. Built with industry-leading thermal sensors and top-ranked face recognition software, NEC’s NeoFace® Thermal Express achieves fast results with exceptional accuracy. Powered by NEC’s artificial intelligence (AI)-driven video, thermal sensing and analytics, we can deliver a secure experience that does not involve physical contact.

NEC’s NeoFace® Thermal Express:

  • Detects elevated body temperatures (EBT) that may indicate a fever and alerts operators
  • Identifies personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks
  • Leverages advanced analytics to enhance performance and throughput
  • Equipped with the most accurate and proven face recognition technology*
  • Improves customer experience and decreases or eliminates lengthy queues

Scene Processing using AI analyzes and extracts data to identify people, objects and events. For example, it can ensure employees and customers are maintaining appropriate social distancing, capacity limits are being monitored and masks are being worn in mandatory areas.

NEC: Committed to Innovation and Touchless Transformation

NEC I:Delight, combined with our AI-driven analytics and identity management solutions, help create experiences that are seamless and safe. For decades, NEC has been delivering scalable, end-to-end solutions that enable safety and security.

NEC - Fresh

We are proud to work with Fresh Consulting, our strategic partner known for designing innovative experiences for top global brands. Using a comprehensive collaborative discovery process, we will work together with your organization to determine how to:

  1. Design your biometric customer journey
  2. Align key stakeholders and customer personas
  3. Capture technical and operational constraints
  4. Create a prioritized roadmap and ROI determination

Our commitment to innovation and touchless transformation is paramount!

*NEC NeoFace face recognition algorithms have been ranked #1 by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for nine years – https://www.necam.com/AdvancedRecognitionSystems/NISTValidation/FingerprintFacial

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NEC at NRF 2020: Seamless Retail Customer Experiences with Greater Operational Efficiency

NEC was one of the early pioneers in biometrics technologies since the 1970s. Today, NEC is the world’s leading provider of biometric solutions to both governments and commercial entities, which include air travel, theme parks, stadiums, casinos and more. Next stop: retail, where we are leading new initiatives to transform the Customer Experience (CX).

Looking Customer Loyalty Right in the FaceAt NRF 2020, visitors to NEC’s booth got a glimpse of how retailers are using facial biometrics to deliver an improved CX and achieve tangible business benefits.

Several years ago, we deployed a Customer Experience initiative aimed at transforming the way consumers transact in physical spaces, from entering theme parks and stadiums, to boarding planes, accessing benefits and making payments, interactions that require security as well as streamlined convenience. Today, we see this visionary concept in several very high-profile implementations. And what we saw at NRF this year, is that the retail space is ready to embrace this trend, with facial recognition as the enabler for an item-of-interest to become an item-in-hand with minimal effort and delay. Our leading technology makes it possible to deliver on this promise.

Customer Experience Starts with Fast, Frictionless Transactions

To kick off their booth experience at NRF 2020, visitors self-registered by simply taking a picture of their face, creating a digital ID on our facial identity management platform, NEC I:Delight. This one time enrollment enabled multiple touchpoints and experiences throughout the booth, providing for faster, more secure transactions for applications such as loyalty and payment.

As customers progressed through the booth, they experienced our facial recognition enabled Self-Checkout solution. This self-checkout lane recognizes the items a customer has placed in their shopping bag via RFID, calculates payment and then activates the charge without the customer ever stopping or swiping a credit card. As they walk through the lane, the customer has the option of scanning a QR code on their device or using their face as the “method of payment." NRF attendees also had the opportunity to interact with NEC’s technology partner, POP ID, a Cali Group company. POP ID’s self-ordering kiosk makes recommendations based on past food orders for faster decision-making, reducing wait times, increasing customer loyalty and revenue opportunities. Customers simply register once on their mobile device, and then use the kiosk to choose items and pay without pulling out a wallet or device a second time. Available at numerous quick-service restaurant (QSR) locations today, POP ID’s “Face-pay” concept is enabling unique and memorable customer experiences and generating a fast return on investment.

Experience Advanced Analytics

NEC also showed how facial technology can be applied to enhance data analytics and assist retailers behind the scenes to improve business operations. By analyzing key aspects of the shopper population, either in-store or in front of a particular display, retailers are able to send offers or engage customers in real time based on their individual interests. These types of up-to-the-minute data analytics help retailers survive and thrive in this competitive marketplace. Reliable sales data enables tailored in-store offers to customers, plus aids in managing inventory and staffing.

Retail … the Next Facial Recognition Frontier!

Finally, visitors could see NEC’s next-generation, modular point of sale (POS) design. Our POS design includes a space-saving footprint that can transform from a manned-POS station into a self-service POS just by turning around the peripherals. The embedded facial recognition option enables seamless payment. Both single and double-display versions are available.

Which of these retail trends does your organization plan to embrace in the coming year? Talk to an NEC expert to hear more and engage in our Biometric CX Discovery & Strategic Planning Process as a first step in realizing your vision. Simply fill out the form below, and we’ll get in touch!

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The Fate of Airport Customer Service Isn’t Terminal

Today’s air travel is marred by long lines, time-consuming security checks, and constant stress.  Travelers are queued up at the check-in counter, at the self-service kiosk, when they drop off their bags, when they navigate the TSA screening lines and when they board the plane.

64% of surveyed passengers prefer a #biometric interface for as many #travel activities as possible. #CX Click To Tweet

unique biometric key

However, these necessary security checks waste precious passenger time and impact an airport’s bottom lines. With NEC’s Advanced Recognition Systems, a simple scan of your face becomes a single, unified biometric key that unlocks an enjoyable experience that is:

o Safe & Secure
o Seamless & Frictionless
o Engaging & Personalized

In the infographic below you can find more information regarding facial recognition technology in airports that allows for an elevated passenger experience.

Also, check out this recent Wall Street Journal article that takes an in-depth look at NEC’s use of facial recognition in U.S. airports and other venues.

 

Download today our informative whitepaper to learn why it’s time to take a new look at facial recognition.

facial recognition

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Time to Take a New Look at Facial Recognition

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