Technology has played a key role in expansion at Starbucks and tech innovation remains on the front burner as the coffee chain works to increase traffic and sales. "They have a test, learn, and adjust mentality; they embrace change, and they don't worry about being perfect," said Tom Kneubuehl, an executive at UK-based cloud technology firm Preoday.
Emerging technologies such as facial recognition and robotics can help streamline operations and enhance the guest experience, panelists said during a session at The National Restaurant Association Show. Global trends expert Daniel Burrus moderated the panel discussion that included the chief executives of Bear Robotics and Cali Group, who showcased new technologies being tested in restaurants.
Coca-Cola has unveiled a fountain soft-drink dispenser that lets consumers create custom drinks using their smartphones. The machine, dubbed the Freestyle 9100, uses Bluetooth technology, and other features that could be unlocked in the future would let users place voice orders.
A growing group of startups that includes Eat Club and Peach contracts with companies to deliver lunch orders from local restaurants to office workers. The startups provide curated menus and take orders in advance, then they either make the deliveries, farm them out to delivery companies or place the orders for delivery with the restaurants.
Chef Ferran Adria transformed Spain's elBulli from a French restaurant into a gastronomic testing ground before closing it in 2011. During his years in charge, Adria and his team devised new words and methods to explore creativity, efforts that come into play in the current version of elBulli, which opened in 2014 as a foundation dedicated to exploring and sharing innovation.
American Express' Deborah Curtis talks about the company's focus on brand experiences and its collaborations with Justin Timberlake, the NBA and Coachella to engage with card members. Curtis also discusses the Amex Music app and how the brand uses "digital touchpoints to not only inform the experiences we create but also to connect these experiences for our customers to make them more personal, more meaningful, more joyful."
More than two-thirds of American internet users would like an online privacy law similar to the one the EU is preparing to implement, per a poll by identity management company Janrain. A majority of respondents said they were "very concerned" about data security and privacy.
Google Home has received an update that allows the devices to communicate via touch-tone signals for users in the US, the UK and Canada. The devices have been capable of making calls since last summer, allowing users to control the phone call option via voice.
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