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:
- Starbucks opens first Amazon Go-enabled cashierless store
Starbucks has opened its first “Starbucks Pickup with Amazon Go" cashierless outlet utilizing Amazon Go’s Just Walk Out technology, which allows customers to grab what they want from the store's Amazon Go section and leave without a checkout process. The store, in New York City, also serves pre-ordered beverages made by baristas that customers can take as in a typical Starbucks, as well as an expanded seating section with divided workstation.
Read more: Starbucks has opened a store with Amazon Go
- Multi-cuisine robot kitchen opens in Illinois mall’s food court
What is being characterized as the first multi-cuisine robotic kitchen in the world recently opened in the Mall of India in Naperville, Ill., where an artificial intelligence powered robot chef prepares dishes ordered by customers from human counter employees who then transmit them to the automated unit. It then pulls the recipes for the desired dishes from its database, grabs the ingredients from a high-tech pantry and prepares the food. The robot kitchen currently serves two restaurants—One Mean Chicken for wings and fried chicken, and Surya Tiffins, which menus South Indian breakfast foods—with a third, Thai76 serving Thai cuisine, set to open at the beginning of December.
Read more: Robotic Chef Serves Up Meals At Naperville Food Court
- Disabled operators guide cafe's robot staff from their homes
The DAWN (Diverse Avatar Working Network) cafe in Tokyo is staffed by robots operated remotely by operators with severe physical disabilities from wheelchairs or beds in their homes, using a mouse, a touch tablet or even gaze-controlled remote. The experimental business won the grand prize in the prestigious Good Design Awards this year, with the judging committee saying it expects “the cafe will serve as a starting point for further expansion of contact between people with various disabilities who want work, companies, and consumers.” The cafe’s teleworking model could also be a path to employment for people saddled with child care and homeschooling duties or those who, for health reasons, can’t be in public during the COVID-19 pandemic, suggests CEO Kentaro Yoshifuji of Ory Laboratory, the tech start-up behind the project.
Read more: A Japanese robot cafe shows how avatars can foster human connection
- University of Arizona latest with robot delivery of Grubhub orders
The University of Arizona is the latest university—and one of the largest with some 35,000 students—to deploy food delivery robots, becoming the second campus after the even larger Ohio State University to use delivery platform Grubhub combined with Yandex Self-Driving Group delivery robots, according to Todd Millay, executive director of Arizona Student Unions. With the service, students will be able to order from on-campus retail dining locations IQ Fresh, Einstein Bros Bagels, On Deck Deli and Sabor using the Grubhub app and get it delivered to locations such as dorms and libraries as well as others that most cars cannot reach.
Read more: Grubhub, Yandex to Bring Robot Delivery to University of Arizona
- Pizza champion chef oversees autonomous restaurant’s offerings
Paris pizzaria Pazzi bills itself as the "world's first autonomous restaurant," relying on cloud technology and machine learning to make some 80 pizzas an hour without human contact and serving each in 45 seconds to customers who place their orders via kiosk. Notably, the restaurant worked with three-time world pizza champion Thierry Graffagnino as executive chef to develop the recipes and select ingredients.
Read more: This Paris restaurant serves pizza in 45 seconds with all-robot staff
Bonus: The new corporate holiday gifts include virtual experiences in cooking, gardening
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]