The future is now! Just in the last month, China has introduced commercial jetpacks, security robots and hi-tech trash cans, all culminating in what promises to be the fast food restaurant of the future.
You can get a taste of this glorious future by heading down to Shanghai’s National Exhibition and Convention Center. Inside you’ll find a KFC restaurant, decorated in classical Chinese-style, but designed with the help of Baidu (nice timing) to be completely digital!
And when we say completely digital, we are talking about at least three aspects. The first, and the most noticeable right off the bat, is that your order will be taken by a voice-activated robot. Unfortunately named Dumi, this is a sophisticated automaton, capable of handling order changes, but not the English language, Sohu reports.
We just hope that Dumi improves his language skills before he’s kicked out into the cold like his robotic waitress counterparts in Shenzhen, forced to eek out a living as a tuhao’s shopping assistant.
Anyway, you can also make payments on your phone, using Alipay, Tenpay or Baidu Wallet, which is nice. And, finally — here’s where things get really far-out — you can charge your phone without wires! If your phone is capable of wireless charging, you can place inside the charging area at your table, and then relax as you are serenaded by songs specially chosen by Baidu, China Daily reports.
This new concept store is being called “Original+” because Joy Wat, CEO of KFC China, says it “combines both the company’s “Original Recipe” chicken and innovative technologies.”
The hope is that it will attract more young, hip customers to dine at China’s favorite fast food chain. To seal the deal, KFC has hired heartthrob Lu Han to hang out with Dumi. Check out their ad below:
It is these kind of high-minded concepts that have made KFC a runaway success in China. Yum Brands has 7,205 stores in China, 5,019 of them being KFC franchises. Yum China accounted for nearly half of total revenues, with a staggering $1.3 billion dollars in the first quarter of 2016 alone.
In fact, they have become so successful that even the Chinese government has taken notice. Last month, a consortium that is backed by China Investment Corporation (CIC), the country’s sovereign wealth fund responsible for investing from national currency reserves, announced it was interested in buying Yum China.
Unfortunately, while KFC is upgrading its infrastructure, decor and technology, the food remains the same.
[Images via Weibo]