MasterCard and Pizza Hut hire robot waiter

pepper, the white humanoid robot sits next to a couple at a cafe table drinking coca cola

This week, MasterCard came up with the first commerce application for SoftBank’s humanoid robot ‘Pepper’: taking orders and processing payments at Pizza Hut.

If Terminator crashed back in time in 2016 and swung by the nearest Pizza Hut in Asia and saw a robot taking humanoid robots taking food orders, he could be forgiven for believing this was then Skynet formed.

The pizza restaurant chain has partnered with MasterCard and its MasterPass checkout service to let Pepper, SoftBank’s humanoid robot, take people’s orders and process payments by the end of 2016. If it is successful, Pepper would be able to handle the whole customer order from beginning to end.


How does the robot work?

The interaction begins with the customer greeting Pepper and then pairing their MasterPass account by either tapping the Pepper icon within the wallet or by scanning a QR code on the tablet that the robot holds.

After the pairing is complete, the customer can say what they want to eat and Pepper will even make recommendations and highlight special offers. The robot will also be able to initiate, approve and complete a transaction by connecting to MasterPass via a Wi-Fi connection and the entire transaction happens within the wallet.

Amusingly, Pepper can read out the calorie content of the food, so the consumer can really feel guilty understand what they are consuming.


“I have always wanted to work in a MasterCard café!”

Throughout the order, Pepper has a lovely robotic voice, think Siri on helium, and even moves its arms and fingers. This is actually a pretty nifty feature as more human-like behaviour is likely to put people at ease.

“With an order-and-payment-enabled Pepper, customers can now come to expect personalized ordering at our stores, reduce wait time for carryout, and have a fun, frictionless user experience,” said Vipul Chawla, Managing Director of Pizza Hut Restaurants Asia.

The app was built by the MasterCard Labs team in Singapore and is a further example of the company’s push to expand payment capabilities to consumer gadgets and products. Earlier in the year, it worked with Samsung to create a smart-fridge that can order and pay for food.


Source: MasterCard News


“The app’s goal is to provide consumers with more memorable and personalised shopping experience beyond today’s self-serve machines and kiosks, by combining Pepper’s intelligence with a secure digital payment experience via MasterPass,” said Tobias Puehse, vice president, innovation management, Digital Payments & Labs at MasterCard.

At last week’s Google I/O conference, SoftBank announced that Pepper will be compatible with Android and it also said the robot will have a home in San Francisco.

Watch Pepper in action below:

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