Softbank is a Japanese multinational telecommunications and Internet corporation and is known for it's humanoid robot named Pepper. The robot which uses an advanced conversational AI is going to get its very first job as robot waiters at Pizza Hut. While this isn't the first time Pepper has worked (Softbank created a phone store with Pepper as salesmen), it is the first time Pepper is being used to serve customers at a restaurant. This is happening all thanks to a partnership between Pizza Hut and payment network, MasterCard. Through this venture, Pepper will be deployed to selected Pizza Hut stores in Asia by the end of the year announced MasterCard recently.
The humanoid robot will be able to do a list of things such as take and process customers orders, make recommendations, accept payments through MasterCard's digital payment service, MasterPass and even chat with customers. How it works is that Pepper will come up to customers and customers will have to connect their MasterPass Wallet account to Pepper or scan a QR code located on Pepper's Android tablet located on it's chest which was recently installed. From there, the customers may place their order while Pepper will make recommendations based on Pizza Hut's menu. While all this happens, Pepper will be speaking to the customer while making hand gestures. Once customers are done with their meal and ready to go, they may pay their bills through Pepper. Customers will have to authorize the payment through MasterPass which means transactions can be done in a convenient and secure way.
According to Tobias Puehse who leads innovation management at MasterCard Labs Asia Pacific, the robot's new job is to provide customers with more memorable and personalized dining experience beyond today's self-service machines and kiosks. While it is meant to complement the dining experience at Pizza Hut, it will not be replacing human employees. However, Pizza Hut isn't the only player in the food industry to turn to artificial intelligence as Domino's Pizza back in March announced plans to develop a four-wheeled robot vehicle with the capability to deliver steaming hot pizza's right to a customer's doorstep . This smart feature is currently being worked on by Domino's Pizza in Australia.