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White Castle, Burger King Double Down On Digital Tech

Even as many QSRs have trimmed their menus to become leaner and faster, their digital capabilities keep expanding in the quest for better personalization and customer convenience.

The White Castle chain is among the latest to harness artificial intelligence to improve the customer experience. That comes in the form of a drive-through system that recognizes license plates, as Nation’s Restaurant News reports.

In early October, up to three White Castle locations will test technology introduced by Mastercard that can read license plates of customers who opt into the program via the White Castle app. Knowing who has arrived can help to customize menu offerings and alert restaurant staff that someone is there to pick up an order.

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According to Tech Republic, Mastercard’s partners in the tech offering include Rekor Systems, which helps police departments manage lists of stolen and uninsured vehicles. Rekor provides cameras for drive-through lanes.

“As a nearly 100-year-old family business guided by having a heart for hospitality, bringing technological empowerment to the drive-thru is the next chapter in innovation for our industry,” White Castle vice president of technology Susan Carroll-Boser said in a statement.

In addition to White Castle, Mastercard said it has pilot plate-recognition tests with the Circle K convenience-store chain and Dunkin’.

Burger King is going all-in on digital technology in its just-released glimpse of the chain’s pandemic-inspired “Restaurant Of Tomorrow” design, which will debut next year in Miami, Latin America and the Caribbean. 

The new model is an 100% touchless experience for diners, as QSR Magazinereports.

As seen in this video, the futuristic restaurants will provide multiple ordering and delivery modes on a physical footprint 60% smaller than a traditional Burger King restaurant building and site.

For drive-in service, guests will be able to park their cars in a dedicated area under solar-powered canopies, place their orders through the Burger King app by scanning a QR code at their parking spot, and have food quickly delivered to their car.

Advance orders placed through the mobile app will have dedicated parking spots for curbside delivery. Guests will be able to notify a restaurant team member upon arrival via the app as instructed on the parking signs.

Mobile and delivery orders can be picked up from coded food lockers facing the exterior of the restaurant. The food will come straight from the kitchen to the pick-up lockers.

“In March our in-house design and tech team accelerated new restaurant design plans and pushed the limits of what a Burger King restaurant could be,” Josh Kobza, chief operating officer of the chain’s parent, Restaurant Brands International, said in a statement. 

“We took into consideration how consumer behaviors are changing and how our guests will want to interact with our restaurants.”

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