Overkill or overkill like a fox?
The bakery business is quite fierce in Japan. Stores selling buns, tarts, and various other baked goods can be found virtually anywhere. As such a bakery must run at peak efficiency to stay competitive.
Take the checkout for example. Usually cashiers must manually ring up each item by hand. Bakeries can’t afford to wrap and put a barcode on these items, because they’d end up looking much less fresh and attractive.
However, all those split seconds lost at the register must amount to at least several hundred yen over a decade…unless you happen to have this woman working the till.
さとる@パソコンとWi-Fi屋さん (@iiizzzwww) April 08, 2017
So what’s a bread shop to do?
Install a state-of-the art bread recognition system, that’s what! Twitter user Imos discovered one such bakery at a highway rest stop in Gunma called Denen Plaza Kawaba.
いもす (@imos) April 08, 2017
As we can see from the photos, the register has a scanner set up that identifies each type of bread on the customer’s tray and adds up the total. Another Twitter user identified the device as the Bakery Scan by Tokyo based company, Brain.
The new device turned a lot of heads online with some commenting:
“I wonder if that still works if the bread is squished.”
“My company’s cafeteria has one of these too. It’s pretty cool.”
“I’d rather they use the money spent on the machine to give the staff a raise.”
A few years ago, we reported on a similar device being designed by Toshiba for use in supermarket checkout lanes. However, it would seem the challenges of eliminating background images and handling all the data of the large inventory of major supermarkets has been holding it back.
Bakeries, on the other hand, with their more limited selection and solid color trays providing a uniform background, make image recognition considerably easier. Bakery Scan boasts that it can identify and total up the cost of ten items in one second.
It’s pretty cool to see your custard buns and pork cutlet sandwiches highlighted in a Robocop targeting fashion, but one still can’t help but wonder if this is really necessary. It seems like a lot of bells and whistles just to ring up some croissants.
Then again it probably helps attract part-time workers to what must now be the cushiest cashier gig around. It also makes your bakery stand out among rivals, which in this crowded market can mean a lot.