A new collaboration between Rakuten and Kourakuen, one of Japan’s major ramen restaurant chains, was just announced today, January 28th. At the center of the collaboration, all 517 Kourakuen stores will start accepting Rakuten Super Points for payments, purchases at the store will become eligible for collecting Rakuten Super Points, and a special Rakuten Point Card with a Kourakuen design will be released, all starting from January 29th. In addition to this, the two companies have agreed to collaborate further by combining the strengths of their various services in new ways going forward.
The details have not been confirmed yet, but we are happy to announce that one of these potential collaborations involves Rakuten Institute of Technology and our image recognition and digital signage solutions. At the official press event held today, we demonstrated our technology to attendees in the form of an AI-powered photo booth, where they could have attributes such as age and gender analyzed via a camera. The system uses this data to predict which of the Kourakuen menu items suits the person, and prints out a personalized coupon including a photo of themselves for the item.
The plan is for us to demonstrate the same technology in select Kourakuen stores in the near future, where customers can have the system predict and print a personalized coupon for the item for them. Not only does it give the customer a discount coupon, but it should also bring an extra touch of entertainment to the experience of eating out.
We have created similar solutions before for limited Rakuten events, but this would open the experience up to the wider public. It is an interesting way of bringing shopping personalization into the physical world, and it has always gotten a great response from users in tests. We really look forward to seeing this potential collaboration come to fruition, so that more of you can experience it.
You can find a link to the official press release, and a video describing and showing the experience, both in Japanese, below.