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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | People Search | Personals | Travel | Yellow Pages  January 13, 2005
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Predictive technology meets fast-food nation
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PITTSBURGH Some fast food restaurants will soon test the theory that what you drive shows what you eat.

A Pittsburgh company has installed technology at fast-food restaurants to predict orders before customers even walk in the door.

The system -- known as "Hyperactive Bob" -- uses rooftop cameras that monitor traffic entering the parking lot and drive-thru. It currently tells restaurant workers when to expect a surge in orders.

By this time next year, Hyperactive Technologies expects to add software to recognize the type of vehicle to predict what customers will likely order.

One 28-year McDonald's manager calls the simulation "the most impressive thing" he's ever seen.

Estimating demand for food is essential to fattening profit margins. Overestimate demand and profits vanish in waste. Underestimate the need, and customers will be turned off by long lines.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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