Using smart retail security cameras to boost customer experience in fast food

When fast-food operations become too fast for humans to be consistently monitored and executed, technology can help. Learn what AI Video Analytics can do for your business.

Customer experience Azena

How fast food store operators can use smart security cameras to boost operations and customer experiences

Major fast-food chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, etc, operate sophisticated systems to ensure safety and security in restaurants 24/7, running a standard-setting of security hardware and equipment for all locations. These include video surveillance systems, alarm systems, time-delay safes, fortified drive-thru windows, and robbery prevention training for the entire staff.


Technology evolves from “digital” to “smart” leveraging Artificial Intelligence to gain better insights into business operations and understand customer behavior. Major acquisitions of technology startups in the fast-casual and quick-service industry illustrate where the journey is headed: In 2019, McDonald’s acquired Dynamic Yield for $300 million, McDonald's largest acquisition in two decades. Dynamic Yield is a leading experience optimization platform to provide franchisees with data-driven "decision logic" technology.

For restaurant operators, consistent execution across an entire operation - whether it spans tens, hundreds, or thousands of locations - is critical to growing and gaining a competitive edge in today’s business environment. - Zenput, 2020 Restaurant Ops Report

Barriers to consistent store execution and customer experiences

Rising labor costs combined with high employee turnover and low training levels are causing small and mid-sized fast-food chains to seek technology solutions designed to help with consistent execution. However, only a little more than a quarter are taking full advantage of the opportunities that digital technology offers today.

What Zenput’s report says about the usage of technology to improve operations:

  • Just 27% of operators say their company is embracing technology to automate various aspects of their organization “to a great extent.”
  • 83% of operators who embraced automation say their experience has been positive.

Azena aims to simplify the automation and optimization of foodservice operations using AI Video Analytics, which turns regular retail camera systems into business all-rounders. All you need are cameras running our OS and apps from our application store designed for Smart Video Surveillance in your fast-casual and quick-service restaurants.

Smart Video Surveillance for fast-casual and quick-service restaurants, combining IoT security cameras and AI video analytics, helps operators automate monitoring and analyzing visitor and employee behavior. Gaining valuable insights from video data to optimize restaurant operations and customer experience has never been easier.

Applications for AI video analytics in fast-casual & quick-service restaurants

AI Apps from the Azena Applications Store, designed for security cameras in restaurants and stores, empower the devices with enhanced capabilities, for example, to monitor and analyze customer motion and detect suspicious behavior. Similar to smartphones, which can be easily upgraded, the possibilities for video analytics in security cameras are virtually unlimited. Here are some examples of applications in fast-food restaurants:

  • Reduce retail theft in checkout areas (in front of and behind counters), kitchens, and warehouses.
  • Avoid queues and waiting times at checkouts and allocate adequate staffing levels
  • Gain insights into customer behavior over time to optimize store layout.
  • Monitor store maintenance and daily preparations across multiple locations.
  • Ensure compliance with hygiene regulations (face mask, social distancing) during the pandemic.

Let's take a closer look at two of these applications and see what value retail surveillance cameras can add to your business beyond security and safety when empowered with AI technology.

Optimize restaurant and store layout

Security cameras equipped with AI Video Analytics enable operators to monitor visitor traffic in restaurants continuously. In real-time, smart cameras help to keep an eye on restroom loitering or suspicious behavior in “hidden” areas, for example. Analysis over longer periods can help identify weaknesses in restaurant layout and improve the overall visitor experience. “Heat mapping” provides a graphical representation of the data gained from camera systems, enabling operators to easily identify critical areas and take appropriate action to optimize the restaurant layout.

Example: Heat mapping visualizes visitor activities  


Source: RetailFlux Shopper Flow

Technology Insight: AI video analytics designed for visitor motion detection can differentiate between humans and objects as well as between moving and stationary objects. This is important, for example, when autonomous cleaning systems are used, which of course should not be covered by visitor movement analysis.

Worth readingHow smart video analytics helps retailers survive in tough times

Fine-tune and optimize personnel planning

Analyzing restaurant occupancy continuously is key to keeping enough staff on hand at all times and creating superior customer experiences. Smart security cameras that detect visitors entering and leaving a restaurant and analyze restaurant occupancy over time, enable managers to plan staffing based on actual demand, rather than just gut feeling. 

Example: Measuring visitor occupancy over time


Source: RetailFlux Shopper Counter

Smart video technology helps automate measurements of visitor occupancy in restaurants, saving resources for counting guests, which are needed for more meaningful tasks. Besides, AI Video Analytics in the cameras provides very accurate data for various applications, such as admission restriction during pandemics, in real-time.

Find these and many other video analytics apps for security cameras in our Application Store!

Camera apps in our Application Store help operators in fast-casual and quick-service restaurants automate monitoring and understanding visitor and employee behavior. Smart video technology provides them with valuable insights into their business operations to identify areas for optimization and create superior customer experiences.

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