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September 10, 2004

HyperActive Bob


No, this isn't Microsoft Bob's edgy cousin.

Rather, HyperActive Bob is the name of a system created to let fast food restaurants predict when they are about to get busy, then tell them how much food to put on the grill.

The system uses rooftop cameras atop the restaurant that monitor traffic entering the parking lot and drive-through.

Currently, it's all about volume: if a minivan pulls in, there's apt to be more than one mouth to feed.

By this time next year, the system's creator, HyperActive Technologies of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, expects to be able to tell by the type of vehicle entering the lot whether its passengers are inclined to order a burger rather than a chicken sandwich.

HyperActive Bob's now in place at seven Pittsburgh-area McDonald's, a Burger King, and a Taco Bell.

"I've been a manager for 28 years," said Pat Currie, a manager at a McDonald's in Chippewa Township. "It's the most impressive thing I've ever seen."

It was installed at Currie's restaurant two years ago. Since then, waste has been cut in half and wait times at the drive-through have been reduced by 25 to 40 seconds a customer, Currie said - an eternity in the fast-food industry.

HyperActive Technologies last week set up the system at two restaurants in Florida.

Bonus: the time it takes to train new employees has dropped from three months to one week at Currie's restaurant, without all the yelling and screaming back and forth between the five people actually doing the cooking and the order takers.

September 10, 2004 at 09:01 AM | Permalink


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