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:
- Sodexo to expand Kiwi robots to 50 campuses by year’s end
Robotic sidewalk delivery firm Kiwibot has announced an expanded contract with Sodexo that will expand its fleet to more than 1,200 robots across 50 Sodexo college campuses in the U.S. by the end of 2022, up from the 200 units on 10 campuses it currently has. “The early success of our Kiwibot partnership has shown that automated delivery is not only possible and reliable, it’s desirable,” said Sodexo North America Chair Sarosh Mistry. “Sodexo is focused on meeting our clients and consumers where they are, and Kiwibot helps us do that. This year, more students than ever will benefit from autonomous delivery, and we’re pleased to be at the forefront of this emerging market.” Photo shows a Kiwibot unit at Sodexo's campus dining operation at Gonzaga University.
- Compass to expand high-tech hydroponic farms across its markets
Compass Group has formed a strategic partnership with indoor hydroponic farms vendor Farmshelf to introduce Farmshelf indoor farms at its foodservice locations in higher education, K-12 schools, businesses, healthcare facilities and event venues nationwide. Each Farmshelf has the ability to produce hundreds of pounds of leafy-greens and herbs annually, growing two-to-three times faster and using 90 percent less water than traditional farming. "Beyond the powerful educational and dining opportunities that come from harvesting produce directly from these tech-enabled farms, they further reduce our environmental footprint and support our client partner's reduced or net zero carbon goals," said Gary Snyder, CEO of Compass Education.
- C.H. Robinson explores autonomous trucking technology solution
Global logistics company C.H. Robinson and autonomous trucking/delivery technology vendor Waymo Via have formed a long-term strategic partnership to mutually explore the practical application of autonomous driving technology in logistics and supply chains. The collaboration will focus, initially, on running multiple pilots in the Dallas-Houston transportation lane, with Waymo Via autonomous trucks hauling C.H. Robinson’s customer freight. “This will provide much-needed capacity, help improve the carrier and driver experience and address the business challenges posed by long-term driver shortages,” company officials said in a news release announcing the partnership.
- Computer vision technology helps correct takeout order errors
Artificial intelligence firm Agot AI is using machine learning to develop computer vision technology that minimizes errors in takeout food orders by confirming order accuracy in real-time for online ordering and notifying employees if an order needs a correction, such as forgetting to add cheese or condiments. Since unveiling its technology, the company has worked with a group of large food service firms like Yum! Brands, with which it is partnering with to pilot the technology in about 20 restaurants, with plans to expand to 100 if the pilot is successful.
- AI-based system busts shoplifters at London store
An AI-based system, produced by the French Veesion firm is helping a British store owner catch shoplifters who had been costing his business £500 to £600 a week to thieves. The software checks customers for suspicious behavior such as putting products inside their jacket or trousers, opening a package and consuming the contents in the store or placing products in their own bag rather than a basket or cart. It films them and alerts staff through an app within 20 seconds so they can confront the shoplifter with video evidence.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]