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:
- Panera tests automated coffee brewing system
Panera Bread is piloting Miso Robotics’ new automated CookRight coffee brewing system, which uses artificial intelligence to monitor coffee volume and temperature while also providing predictive analytics that can tell the restaurant more about what kind of coffee its customers enjoy and when. Panera’s goal for the system is to give employees more time to devote to other tasks, says Chief Digital Officer George Hanson. “We never saw this as cost savings or a defense against the labor market at all,” he notes.
- DoorDash launches membership plan for college students
DoorDash has announced the launch of DashPass for Students, a new membership plan for college students that for $4.99 a month—which is half the price of a standard monthly DashPass membership—that lets them get DoorDash on-demand deliveries from on- and off-campus restaurants, convenience and grocery stores, and local and national retailers. DashPass for Students members will get access to always-on benefits and perks such as unlimited $0 delivery fees on eligible orders over the minimum subtotal plus 10% off order subtotals year-round from reduced service fees, 5% DoorDash credits back on every eligible Pickup order and members-only promotions and DashPass exclusive menu items. The DashPass for Students membership is eligible for all undergraduate and graduate students at accredited colleges and universities in the U.S.
- Survey examines consumer attitudes toward restaurant automation
Research based on a survey of 1,002 demographically representative U.S. adults found that respondents most liked restaurant automation benefits such as faster/speedier service and fewer mistakes/human errors but preferred employee contact for "friendliness." Baby Boomers and women are the most likely to prefer an experience that skews more human than technology, while younger generations and men are more likely to report feeling excited when they see more technology being used in restaurants. Among other results, more than half (52%) of respondents said they would do contactless payment through their smartphone and 37% remain open to accessing menus through QR codes at the table. Other ideas that excite them include insulated pick-up lockers, AI-powered drive-thru menu boards and proximity-based push notifications.
- Robot delivery expected to boom in North America, report predicts
The autonomous delivery robots market size is expected to grow by $16.86 billion from 2019 to 2024 at a compounded annual rate of 20%, according to a recent market report by Technavio. The report states that North America will produce 44% of that growth by offering a number of growth opportunities to market vendors during the forecast period, given the growing focus on reducing carbon footprint, the integration of automated delivery robots with parcel delivery terminals and an increasingly accommodating regulatory framework.
- U.S. firm’s ramen-making robots to debut in Japan
In a culinary version of the old saw about bringing coals to Newcastle, the California-based food tech firm Yo-Kai Express is giving its Yo-Kai Express autonomous ramen-making units the ultimate market test when they debut in three locations in Japan, following a successful deployment over the past six years at some 50 airports, hotels, hospitals, corporations, universities, and conference centers in the U.S. Yo-Kai Express units dispense contactless, freshly prepared meals with over 30 menu varieties, creating hot ramen noodles on-demand just like those served at street-side restaurants.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]