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Outback Steakhouse minds the store with computer vision


A casual-dining chain is tracking customer interactions in real time.

Outback Steakhouse is piloting Presto Vision, a computer vision solution that uses discreet cameras placed in the lobby and other areas of a restaurant. Hosts, staff, customers, and other individuals are automatically tagged in real-time and their motion is analyzed. Interaction effects such as host availability, individual wait times, and customer bounce rates are measured and a guest experience score is forecasted.

By analyzing staff and customer interactions at a granular level, Outback will obtain data-driven insights on performance metrics and noteworthy events, such as excessively long waits, untidy lobbies, unavailable hosts, and customer bounce rates (i.e., the number of customers who leave without being seated or greeted). 

In addition, managers will gain the ability to flag and address problems immediately, if required. Outback also hopes to use visual content it collects with Presto Vision to identify potential coaching and training opportunities. Initially, Outback is focusing the pilot on lobby analytics, but is likely to expand to other parts of the restaurant, including back-of-house, curbside and dining areas. 

Data captured by the cameras is stored only temporarily for the analysis and is automatically deleted after 30 days. No personally identifiable information is tracked or recorded on any individual. The system models individuals as abstracted entities, and only monitors attributes directly relevant to restaurant operations. The computer vision technology used in Presto Vision is already in use in Amazon Go cashierless stores.

“Deeper guest interactions and superior hospitality are top priorities for us,” said Jeff Jones, president and CEO of Evergreen Restaurant Group, an Outback Steakhouse franchisee. “Presto Vision brings cutting-edge computer vision technology to the restaurant industry for the first time in my experience. It has the potential to set new standards for service and operations at our franchise restaurants.”
 





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