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Yum China launches new restaurant concept, including pay-by-smile option

KPro is a new restaurant concept from Yum China.

Yum China Holdings, the licensee of KFC parent Yum! Brands in mainland China, has launched a new restaurant concept, KPro by KFC, in Hangzhou, which is intended to appeal to urban professionals with a seasonal menu, ordering kiosks and a pay-by-smile option.

According to a press release, the menu includes seasonal produce and made-to-order salads, paninis and roasted chicken, as well as freshly squeezed juice, gourmet coffee, craft beer and premium ice cream.

The store is designed with a welcoming "greenhouse" layout and an open kitchen, creating what Yum China called a “friendly and vibrant food market atmosphere.” KPro also allows customers to order at digital kiosks or with their mobile phones by scanning QR codes and ordering at their tables.

One of the most notable features, however, is the integration of mobile payment platform Alipay's Smile to Pay facial recognition payment option. Yum China said Alipay's payment technology utilizes a multi-step authentication process including a facial scan and mobile phone number to verify identity and facilitate payment. This marks the first commercial application of the facial recognition payment technology.

"Smile to Pay will bring another level of convenience for customers," said Jidong Chen, Ant Financial Service Group's director of biometric identification technology, in a statement. Ant Financial operates Alipay.

Johnson Huang, general manager of KFC, added: “Elevating the customer experience through new design, flavors and technologies has always been central to our approach at KFC in China. We are excited to partner with Alipay to bring the world's first commercial application of the facial recognition payment solution to our customers. "

Designed to offer a fresh, seasonal menu to a new generation of sophisticated diners, Yum China said it wants to provide a “modern and fully immersive dining experience.”

"We are excited to launch KPro – an exciting and fresh new concept for young, tech savvy consumers who are keen to embrace new tastes and innovations," said Joey Wat, president and chief operating officer of Yum China, in the release. "Developed to cater to China's burgeoning population of urban professionals, KPro offers a creative, modern and seasonal menu with a wide range of dishes that are freshly made to order.”

Yum China has exclusive rights in mainland China to KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.