In an unlikely place
The fast-food industry isn’t one in which you’d expect to find virtual reality, yet that’s exactly what Kentucky Fried Chicken is rolling out in the coming months. The goal?
To better train employees on how to cook without squandering resources.
Cooking in VR
The virtual reality program that KFC is currently using teaches employees how to review the chicken for blemishes, rinse the acceptable pieces, dry, bread, and rack the rinsed pieces, and then pressure-fry them—all within about 10 minutes.
The program’s runtime is around 15 minutes faster than the actual process of frying chicken, but KFC doesn’t seem too concerned with accuracy for accuracy’s sake; the program itself is merely intended to walk employees through the steps while burning neither chicken nor daylight.
Return on Investment
Regardless of how widespread the VR training notion travels, it represents a huge step forward for any company with a decent budget and disposable merchandise. Rather than pushing training employees to cycle through inventory while discarding their mistakes, VR presents the opportunity to mess up free of consequence.
Of course, one might reasonably argue that cooking is less cut-and-dry than a VR program might make it appear, but VR training will undoubtedly continue to evolve to represent increasingly complicated workplace challenges, both for the culinary world and for supported industries in general.
Reportedly, KFC will be using the Oculus Rift headset in conjunction with the training program. While perhaps not the most sustainable model as of now—especially if small businesses decide to emulate this training—as VR continues to become more normalized, prices will most likely drop to reflect the change.
Just a Stunt?
As it sits, only five VR sets are currently in use, but KFC is hoping to expand that number in the future to further supplement the existing cooking program.
Of course, there is always the possibility that KFC’s VR announcement is merely a play for publicity. KFC is notorious for goofy and unreasonably complicated technology implementation in their marketing campaigns. Only time will tell how far KFC’s virtual reality plan goes, or how many other companies jump aboard the VR training train.