InnovationQ and the IP.com Prior Art Database will be updated on Sunday, December 15, from 11am-2pm ET. You may experience brief service interruptions during that time.
Browse Prior Art Database

The use of Visual and RF identifiers for CRM in the Fast Food Industry

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000016021D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Aug-18
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21

Publishing Venue



Identifying people or groups of people for marketing and demographics in the fast food industry is desirable. However, identifying individuals or groups of individuals is difficult. In most cases, fast food transactions are made in cash; therefore, tracking the transactions through a credit card number is usually not an option. In addition, if a credit card is used, identification information is not available to the customer service representative until the credit card number is entered. Information about what the customer may have previously ordered is not available until the credit card is tendered. Thus, promotions and upsells based on customer past purchases cannot be made at the counter. In addition, customer mailings and other promotions require information based on customer buying patterns. Our invention uses the license plate as a visual identifier for drive through vehicles to track customer purchases. Although the license plate cannot necessarily identify each individual if a group is in the vehicle, it can in general track purchases to a group or individual level if only one person uses the vehicle. This allows automatic entry (or manual entry by a customer service representative) of a license plate number before an order is placed. The system is implemented through he use of a camera which captures the image of the license plate, optical recognition software which translates the characters in the image into a digital representation of the license plate which then is used as the identification of the customer. Information on past purchases by the customer may be retrieved from a database. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) functions may be carried out automatically or by a customer service representative. Thus, upsells, past order history, and targeted promotions can be presented to the customer based on past purchase habits. When the order is placed, this information is stored in the database to track the customer for future purchases or targeted promotions. The invention is not limited to the use of a visual identifier. RF identifiers in the form of a radio frequency identification tag may also be used. 1