Invasive Fast Food Tech Is Becoming The Norm

Burger King and others are getting more comfortable in your personal space.

Fast food chains have been dipping their toes in the AI tech pool for the last few years, and it looks like some are ready to dive into the deep end. In a possible sign of what's to come, Marketing Dive reports that Burger King in Brazil recently used facial recognition technology as part of its latest campaign.

Leading up to and immediately following New Year's celebrations, Burger King Brazil launched its Hangover Whopper campaign. The chain partnered with creative agency DM9 to create a microsite that could be accessed through the Burger King app. The technology used facial recognition to scan customers' faces and measure their "hangover level" on a scale of one to three. The technology would then offer up a corresponding combo coupon for the Whopper Jr. Double, Whopper, or Whopper Double.

The coupons offered could only be used through the chain's mobile app, and only for BK Delivery (because presumably the customer is too hungover to leave the house). Burger King Brazil launched this cheeky campaign to drive engagement with the brand's app and delivery option.

This is not Burger King's first campaign making use of advanced technology, however. In 2019, the brand ran a "Whopper Detour" campaign in which it used geofencing to steer people away from McDonald's locations and promote its order-ahead feature, Marketing Dive reported at the time. People who came within 600 feet of a McDonald's location were sent a mobile notification from Burger King offering them a Whopper for $0.01. This campaign led to 1.5 million app downloads for the brand.

Burger King also isn't the first or only fast food chain to get all up in people's business. McDonald's has been experimenting with AI technology in the drive-thru since 2021, using voice recognition to take customers' orders, though not with 100% accuracy. Similarly, Carl's Jr. and Hardee's announced this past year they would be rolling out AI-powered voice recognition technology to their restaurants.

Plus, Xenial, a restaurant tech company, recently debuted its smart drive-thru concept at a showcase in Atlanta. The system uses cameras to track cars to ensure customers get their correct orders, and an AI-powered menu board suggests items based partly on the type of car the customer is driving. Xenial supplies to Burger King, Jack in the Box, Wendy's, and other chains, so even more invasive drive-thru tech could be just around the corner.