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5 Things

5 tech things: Grocer opens checkout-free employee store in fulfillment center

This and a food prep robot in an Air Force kitchen are some of the tech-related developments you may have missed over the holidays.

In this special edition of its 5 Things series, Food Management highlights five recent technology-related developments affecting the foodservice world.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. Grocer opens checkout-free employee store in fulfillment center

Ahold Delhaize USA’s Retail Business Services (RBS) arm has opened a 450-square-foot checkout-free employee grocery outlet inside its Giant Direct e-commerce fulfillment center in Philadelphia. RBS's “Lunchbox” frictionless technology in the store enables the center’s 125 employees to buy fresh and shelf-stable food and beverages such as sandwiches, salads, vitamin waters, milk, fruit cups, soup and snacks in seconds by scanning in to enter, shopping and walking out.

Read more: Ahold Delhaize USA opens checkout-free food store in Giant e-commerce hub

  1. Compass set to launch first workplace “frictionless” store

Compass Group has unveiled its plans to launch its first fully “frictionless” store in a workplace in Ireland, followed by additional sites in the UK over the next year, including units within other corporate clients, as well as in the sports and leisure and defence sectors. The stores, which will utilize AI-powered computer vision technology that allows shoppers to purchase items in-store without having to wait in line or stop to scan or pay, will typically stock a selection of both hot and chilled grab and go dishes, drinks and confectionery.

Read more: Compass Group to Launch First ‘Frictionless’ Store

  1. Food prep robot debuts in Air Force kitchen

California's Travis Air Force Base's Monarch dining facility has become the first in the Department of Defense to acquire an automated food preparation robot called "Alfred," which uses hygienic robot arms to automate food preparation activities. It was designed and created by Boston-based Dexai Robotics to reduce food waste and lower risks of viral transmissions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more: Food prep robot 'Alfred' joins kitchen staff at Travis Air Force Base

  1. Chipotle set to open first no-indoor Chipotlane Digital Kitchen

Chipotle plans to open its first Chipotlane Digital Kitchen unit in Cuyahoga Falls in Ohio. Chipotlane Digital Kitchen unique from other Chipotle units in that it has no indoor options but only a walk up window and a drive-thru where customers can pick up digital orders, plus outdoor patio seating.

Read more: New Summit County Chipotle will be company’s first Chipotlane Digital Kitchen with no inside seating

  1. Robotic pizza food truck developed by SpaceX engineers set to debut

Stellar Pizza robotic pizza restaurant concept designed by a team of former SpaceX engineers that can make a pie every 45 seconds and produce a finished pizza within five minutes out of four high-temperature ovens is set to open in early 2022 in Los Angeles. The menu for the Stellar Pizza Food Truck and its robot pizza makers has been created by Ted Cizma, former director of culinary services and executive chef at SpaceX, and pizza consultant Noel Brohner, and is designed to serve piping hot pizza at an economical price point using high quality components like homestyle dough.

Read more: Former SpaceX Engineer Opening Robotic Pizza Restaurant


Bonus: Top 10 technology stories of 2021


Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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