Panera Bread Begins Scanning Its Customers’ Palms

Panera Bread Begins Scanning Its Customers’ Palms
Slashdot reader quonset writes:

In an effort to more personalize a customer’s experience, the U.S. restaurant chain Panera Bread is rolling out palm-scanning technology which will link the palm print with the customer’s loyalty program. According to Panera Bread CEO Niren Chaudhary, the move will allow a “frictionless, personalized, and convenient” evolution of Panera’s loyalty program, which boasts 52 million members. The claim is this will allow the company to offer menu choices based on a customer’s order history, allow staff to personally greet the customer, and offer further suggestions. Privacy advocates are not so sure. From the story:

Panera says the technology will securely store its customers’ biometric data. However, digital rights activists worry that information could be tapped by federal agencies or accessed by hackers. “Federal agencies like Customs and Border Protection have experienced devastating hacks where large databases of biometric information have been stolen,” Fight for the Future told CBS MoneyWatch in an email. “Do we really expect Amazon, or Panera, to have better cybersecurity practices?”

The scanners are already installed at locations in St. Louis, Panera announced Wednesday, and scanners will “expand to additional locations in the coming months.” (Panera has 2,113 locations in 48 states.) “After a simple scan of the palm, Panera associates will be able to greet guests by name, communicate their available rewards, reorder their favorite menu items, or take another order of their choice,” the announcement gushes, “extending the guest experience into a true and meaningful relationship.

“When they are done ordering, guests can simply scan their palm again to pay.”

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