Don't Say a Word: Pizza Hut Knows Which Pie You Want

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Pizza Hut's New 'Subconscious Menu' Tracks Eye Movement

Can't make up your mind about the type of pizza you want? Need some help? Pizza Hut (YUM) is happy to help with new eye-tracking technology that notes what consumers look at and builds a suggested dish in response, according to a news release from Pizza Hut and vendor Tobii Technology.

Pizza Hut has tested the system for the last six months in the U.K. and is now rolling out to refurbished locations there. The Subconscious Menu uses a tablet.

A customer follows a Pizza Hut logo over several locations to calibrate the session, and then the tablet presents an array of toppings. The release claims 20 are displayed, but the video shows only 18.

Your Favorite Among the 4,896 Choices Is ...

In 2.5 seconds, the system measures which items you look at the longest and then combines them for one out of 4,896 pie choices that should suit your mood. The companies claim a 98 percent success rate. If the Subconscious Menu gets your theoretical order wrong, you can look at a re-start button and begin the process again. Or, presumably, just tell someone there that you want a large sausage and mushroom.

"Finally the indecisive orderer and the prolonged menu peruser can cut time and always get it right," read a company statement sent to the Washington Post. Pizza Hut said that digital orders were 40 percent of its delivery and carry-out business last quarter.

However, it's unclear how necessary or important such advances might be. Most people looking for pizza manage to order without difficulty. But the Post notes that such automated ordering can make it easier for people to see and order extra items on impulse.

Tablets are being seen by others in the fast food industry as a potential tool, as experts say that people will buy more if they can order directly from a screen. McDonald's (MCD), which has been in a heavy slump, is testing a tablet ordering concept in which people tap what they want on the screen and an employee brings the order to the table, according to the Post. Chili's (EAT) has installed more than 45,000 tabletop tablets in locations across the U.S.

Next up: the completely digitized meal delivered online so you never have to make the effort to chew.
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