Compass Group Ireland has unveiled plans to launch its first fully “frictionless” store in a workplace in early 2022.

The Irish store, a first for the foodservices sector, is set to open in Dublin in the New Year, and will be followed by sites in the UK during 2022. Frictionless units will be established within corporate clients’ offices as well as in the sports and leisure 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.

At the stores, customers ‘check in’ when entering and then freely wander through the store. There’s no scanning and no queuing to pay. Customers simply leave with their purchases and a receipt is delivered directly to their phone moments later.

Facial recognition is not needed with this technology. 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 established either at clients’ sites where vending-only food solutions exist currently, or where the new format can be part of a suite of solutions, including a mix of self-service and serviced meal options. Compass employees will be on-hand to provide support to customers on site.

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

Deirdre O’Neill, Managing Director of Compass Group Ireland, commented: “We’re incredibly excited to launch our frictionless store technology through our partnership with AiFi, and proud that our Irish operation is leading the way. Compass Group constantly looks at opportunities to offer the most convenient service to customers and to tailor food solutions to client needs. This cutting-edge technology means customers can pop into our store to pick up what they need, whenever they need it – it’s a great flexible solution for busy workers.”

Jon Braithwaite, Chief Innovation Officer for Compass Group UK & Ireland, said: “This food-to-go solution is the ultimate in seamless shopping and forms part of our long-term digital transformation plans. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to add real value to the customer experience through technology, by offering great quality food round-the-clock, while delivering an experience which is as quick and frictionless as possible.”

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