KFC's Bluetooth Placemats: 10 Better Ideas - InformationWeek
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5/24/2015
01:06 PM
David Wagner
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KFC's Bluetooth Placemats: 10 Better Ideas

KFC is testing a placemat that acts as a keyboard, allowing you to type while you eat without getting grease on your smartphone or tablet. What could be better? Here are 10 ideas.

10 Ways IT Drives Everyone Else Crazy
10 Ways IT Drives Everyone Else Crazy
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In case you missed it, KFC has invented a placemat that doubles as a Bluetooth keyboard for your smartphone or tablet. it's being tested in the quick-service restaurant's outlets in Germany.

The idea is that this will keep grease off your mobile device and allow you to work while you eat that finger-licking good chicken.

This leads me to a couple of questions: Why KFC Germany, first? I would assume American KFC customers are messier. Also, what happened to eating with one hand? That's what I do when I'm using my smartphone in a restaurant.

(Image: KFC via Daily Mail)

(Image: KFC via Daily Mail)

The placemats are washable and reusable, bendable and free to any customer to use in the store. Now, if they only made them out of cookies, like they do their coffee cups, we'd have it made.

[ Remember when KFC made an edible coffee cup? No? Read IT Pros: Live Long And Eat Your Coffee Cup. ]

I expect KFC is going to spark an arms race of technology-driven fast-food innovations. So I got to thinking about what I'd like even more than keyboard placemats to keep my phone nice and clean. Here's my list:

10 Things Better Than KFC's Placemats

1. Napkins. Seriously people. Are we really so intent on crushing all that candy while stuffing food in our mouths that we can't just pause and wipe our fingers for a second?
2. Smart Gloves. To use while eating with your hands so you don't get your smart watch greasy.
3. Forks. Hey America (and Germany), let me introduce you to an invention. It is called the fork. Europeans have used it since the 16th century. It has been used in parts of the world since the 9th century. It is for keeping your hands clean while you eat.
4. The Cup Mouse. If the tray is the keyboard, your soda has to be the mouse right? Just move it along the table to move the cursor on your laptop.

(Image: Nemo via Pixabay)

(Image: Nemo via Pixabay)


5. Grilled Chicken. Isn't the worst part of this story really the idea that we're eating at a place that serves such greasy food it knows it has a problem? I mean, the company's "finger-licking good" slogan implies that we're meant to enjoy slurping the fat off our fingers as a special treat. Maybe a grilled cutlet would keep our hands nice and clean and make us all a bit healthier.
6. Tablets As Placemats. If the whole point is to keep grease off our tablets, why don't you make the tray a tablet instead of a keyboard? It really solves the whole problem.
7. Newspapers. They are informative and entertaining. And most of all, they are absorbent.
8. Smartphone Wipers. I've been waiting for Apple to do this for ages. Why not have little windshield wipers, like on your car, for your phone or tablet. Lunch isn't the only way touchscreens get dirty.
9. Sandwiches. As legend has it, the Earl of Sandwich invented the sandwich because he didn't want to stop playing cards. He needed something he could hold and not get the cards messy, or have to put them down to eat. This is what is known in the technology field as a solved problem.
10. Biodiesel Smartphones. We have cars that can run on straight fast-food grease. Phones have limited battery life. Why not solve this problem by running your phone on the grease from lunch? Genius!

What do you think? Would you use a KFC typing placemat? What is the best solution of the bunch? Tell me in the comments section below.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio
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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/2/2015 | 12:59:42 PM
Re: crispy vs. grilled
@Joe- And you know what, it seems to work with salaries, too. Executives always listen to their higher paid consultants over their own people.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
6/1/2015 | 11:54:23 PM
Re: crispy vs. grilled
@David: Cialdini writes about that phenomenon in his seminal book on social psychology, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

One of the first examples he gives is a jewelry store owner in New Mexico who couldn't unload a particular line of jewelry no matter how hard she tried.  Finally, when going on a trip, she left a note to her assistant to mark the jewelry as 1/2 off.  The assistant misunderstood the note and doubled the prices.  The owner returned to find that the jewelry had sold out.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/31/2015 | 12:23:59 PM
Re: crispy vs. grilled
@Joe- Yeah, that experiment gets done all the time. It has been proven over and over that if you pay more for something (especially food) many people will automatically like it more. Personally, I think I see that concept alive and well in the iPhone.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/31/2015 | 12:21:30 PM
Re: crispy vs. grilled
@impactnow- Oh please, do not let our lunch breaks degenerate into 30 people sitting alone at tables dictating to their phones. 
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
5/30/2015 | 11:46:36 PM
Re: crispy vs. grilled
Hmmm my question is why no just use voice dictation its getting pretty accurate now and saves the tedious typing!
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
5/30/2015 | 10:59:07 PM
Re: Ridiculous
Allow me to let Jim Gaffigan rebut: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YDTfEhChgw

;)
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
5/30/2015 | 10:56:35 PM
Re: crispy vs. grilled
@Broadway: Nope!  Found it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cr0e8D2Td3g

(NSFW language)
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
5/29/2015 | 11:43:13 PM
Re: crispy vs. grilled
I think you're thinking of the Pizza Hut commercial when they launched their pasta line and fed it to people in a fancy restaurant setting, and the people were raving how delicious it was. Speaking of KFC, they are approaching their new marketing across a couple lines. First, there's this bluetooth gimmick. Then, they're also pushing the all-natural, wholesome food idea --- for instance, listing in their stores what regional farms the chickens came from.
asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
5/29/2015 | 3:09:26 PM
Ridiculous
And let's add #11:  Step away from the phone for the 10 minutes it's going to take to shovel all that GMO garbage from KFC into your pie hole? 

 

 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
5/29/2015 | 2:30:44 PM
Re: crispy vs. grilled
I recall an episode of a documentary TV show (I think it was Penn & Teller's old series on Showtime) in which they took a bunch of anti-fast-food people, and then fed them repurposed dishes made up entirely of fast food with gourmet presentation, and the people raved about how delicious it was and that they'd expect to get it from a five-star restaurant.
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