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Half of U.S. restaurant operators are planning to deploy automation technology to fill labor gaps in the next two to three years.

5 tech things: Half of restaurateurs plan automated solutions to fill labor gaps

This and a Parisian market testing drone delivery of fresh produce around the complex are some of the tech-related developments you may have missed recently.

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. Survey finds restaurateurs embracing tech to fill labor gaps

Half of U.S. restaurant operators are planning to deploy automation technology to fill labor gaps in the next two to three years, according to a survey of over 2,000 restaurant owners, operators, managers and guests across North America and Europe by foodservice tech firm Lightspeed. The company's Global State of the Hospitality Industry report also found that 90% of those surveyed believe technology adoption has been critical for survival throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and almost half of full-service operators and more than one-third of quick-service operators feel new technology is key for their businesses.

Read more: 2021 Global State of the Hospitality Industry Report

  1. Parisian food market tests drone deliveries of fresh produce

The gigantic Marché International de Rungis wholesale fresh food market in Paris is testing the viability of last-mile produce deliveries around the massive facility through a series of 50 trial drone delivery flights of vendor goods to far-flung parts of the compound. The effort is aimed at proving the viability of fast, safe last-mile unmanned deliveries of a range of perishable produce as well as urgently needed goods.

Read more: Drones make last-mile produce deliveries at ‘the stomach of Paris’

  1. Circle K retrofits store to offer touchless, autonomous checkout

Retail chain Circle K is opening its first retrofitted store with touchless, autonomous checkout in Tempe, Az. following the opening earlier this year of a newly built automated unit on the campus of McGill University in Montreal. "We are continually exploring ways to introduce technology that empowers our teams and shows our commitment to be a leader in retail innovation," says Chief Technology Officer Deborah Hall Lefevre of Circle K parent company Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. "In Montreal, we built and opened our first frictionless location. In Arizona, we are going the next step by retrofitting existing stores with autonomous self-checkout systems to gain further insights into how frictionless technology can both make it easy and save time for our customers and allow our team members to focus on delivering a great experience.”

Read more: Circle K opens automated store in Tempe; AI company opens Arizona office

  1. Aramark expands contactless platforms for coming NBA/NHL seasons

Aramark says it is planning on expanding the presence of contactless ordering and checkout at the nine NBA and NHL arenas where it operates through technology solutions such as checkout-free Drink Mkts, AI-powered self-checkout markets, mobile ordering/pick-up and self-order kiosks. The company debuted similar platforms at its NFL venues earlier this fall, accelerating a trend toward more touchless and automated F&B in large volume sports/entertainment venues.

Read more: “Say Cheese!”: Aramark Dishes Up Re-Invented Classics at NBA and NHL Arenas for Cheezin for the Season Campaign

  1. Chopt launches group order service for offices, events

The Chopt Creative Salad Co. has launched a new Group Ordering platform designed for offices, homes and social events in which each individual customer is able to receive his or her preferred dish. The service is being promoted to return-to-office workplaces for large meetings, events, client entertaining, etc. as an alternative to traditional catering services that provide bulk offerings such as sandwich plates.

Read more: Back To The Office - Chopt Launches (Revolutionary New Way) to Individualize Group Ordering

Bonus: Viewpoint: Ghost kitchens are no longer in test phase: Growing for the future

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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