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Compass Group launches ‘frictionless’ store

This store, a first for the food service sector, is set to open in Ireland followed by additional sites in the UK over the next year

Compass Group UK and Ireland, part of the world’s leading foodservice business Compass Group, has unveiled plans to launch its first fully “frictionless” store in a workplace in early 2022.

This store, a first for the food service sector, is set to open in Ireland followed by additional sites in the UK over the next year, including units within other corporate clients, as well as in the sports and leisure and defence sectors.

The new stores will utilise AiFi’s AI-powered computer vision technology which allows shoppers to purchase items in-store without having to wait in line or stop to scan or pay. The stores will typically stock a selection of both hot and chilled ‘grab-n-go’ dishes, drinks and confectionery.

Customers will ‘check in’ when entering and then freely wander through the store selecting from the assortment with no scanning and no queuing to pay.

Facial recognition is not needed with this technology, so customer anonymity is assured. Once inside, computer vision cameras anonymously track the shopper, adding the selected items to a virtual shopping cart. No facial recognition or biometrics are used, ensuring privacy.

The frictionless stores will be utilised either at sites where vending-only solutions exist currently, or where the new format can be included as a part of a suite of options for the client, looking for a mix of self-service and serviced meal options. Compass employees will remain on hand to provide support to customers on site. The stores will typically stock a selection of hot and chilled ‘grab-n-go’ dishes, drinks and confectionery.

A Compass Ireland client workplace in South Dublin was selected as the first location for this new foodservices solution. It will open as soon as working for home advice is lifted, hopefully early in 2022. Trials have already been successfully carried out.

Ian Cranna, future of food director, Compass Group UK and Ireland, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be launching our frictionless store technology through our partnership with AiFi. At Compass we’re constantly looking at opportunities to offer an even more convenient service to the millions of customers we serve every day, while continuing to provide access to great food and drink.

“This cutting-edge technology will provide customers with additional convenience and the ability to quickly pop into our store and pick up what they need – it’s a great solution for busy workers.”

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