Cafe uses facial recognition software to make sure customers get the right coffee

EDWARD BOYD
The Daily Telegraph
July 13, 2018 12:00am

Café’s are now using a new way to tackle one of the biggest problems a barista faces during the morning rush — remembering a customer’s name.

Cafe Bahista in the Sydney CBD uses facial recognition software to identify customers, remember their choice of coffee and keep track of their orders so the barista knows when its time to give them a freebie.

“I bought this cafe about three years ago, and on day one, week one, month one, I thought — I have a shocking memory for names,” Mr Cropley said.

He scoured the internet for a face-scanning solution but struggled to find anything within his price range.

“The applications were for big corporations that were focused on identifying bad guys in public places … they were millions of dollars … and that wasn’t going to fly in a three or four person cafe,”

The My360Manage tool uses biometrics to recognise the customer’s face within half a second of their facial features being scanned by the camera, which is attached to an iPad at the cafe’s counter. “The tool gets you to the point where you become familiar with the face and the name, and then all it’s doing is tracking the loyalty, so the system is telling the operator — hey this one’s on us,”.

He said customers can also choose whether they want their identities to be entered into the database, and so far nobody from Sydney has declined.
Using the tool has helped him boost revenue by allowing him to rote learn the names of all his regular coffee drinkers who are catalogued in the app.

“The cafe has gone from a $500,000 per year business to a $1.4 million business since I bought it … as a business principle, we focus on getting to know people’s names and it’s now so much easier.”

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The software costs about $1.50 per day to operate.

The system can also be adapted to other purposes, including checking in at an airport lounge, picking up a friend’s child from childcare without paperwork, and when entering pubs and RSL clubs.