Pizza Hut Asia customers may soon be ordering their stuffed-crust pizzas from a robot. The company has announced that it will be piloting a program in which a humanoid robot named Pepper will take customers' orders.
The program will be tested in select Japan stores by the end of the year and is powered by MasterPass, MasterCard's digital wallet and mobile payments platform.
According to Pizza Hut, consumers can interact with Pepper simply by greeting him (according to the robotics company that designed it, Pepper is male) and either tapping an icon within the MasterPass digital wallet or scanning a QR code on a tablet the robot holds. A rep for MasterCard Labs tells the Wall Street Journal that Pepper "can use facial recognition systems to judge a customer’s mood and perhaps offer add-on products, trying to capitalize on how the customer is feeling." (Cool, yes, but also kind of creepy.)
Restaurant chains seem to be leading the robot uprising around the globe. Customers at a new KFC store in Shanghai can order their fried chicken and mashed potatoes via a voice-activated robot named . Domino's in Australia has unveiled a delivery robot that can autonomously transport pizza to customer's homes. Chains in the U.S. has been slow to add robots to their roster, relying instead on self-serve kiosks and no-clicks-required pizza-ordering apps.
Watch Pepper in action below: