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:
- Uber to expand robot delivery service
Uber has announced that it will be expanding its robot delivery capabilities with a new partnership with autonomous electric vehicles firm Nuro that will launch this fall with deliveries in target markets including Houston and Mountain View, Calif.. This will be an expansion of Uber’s foray into robotics, following test pilots in partnership with Serve Robotics’ sidewalk robots and Motional’s autonomous vehicles for longer-distance deliveries, both of which were announced in Los Angeles earlier this year and are “seeing great progress,” according to Uber.
- B2B meal vendors look to accommodate new workplace culture
Restaurant aggregator DoorDash and Nestlé-owned meal solution Freshly are making changes to their services to accommodate the new corporate work culture. New features for the DoorDash for Work product suite include self-serve onboarding for businesses, a streamlined expensing solution, a catering option and upgraded group ordering tools. Meanwhile, Freshly announced the launch of B2B arm FreshlyWell, offering on-site and remote solutions for employers and a wide range of institutions.
- Robots return to University of Arizona
New self-driving rovers are now bringing food delivery back to the University of Arizona campus and community six months after the school severed ties between GrubHub and the Russian robot company Yandex following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The rovers' return to campus comes after GrubHub inked a deal with Silicon Valley-based startup Cartken, which rolled out its line of self-driving AI robots in spring 2021. The move follows one announced a few months earlier by Ohio State, which had also severed ties with Yandex last spring, to resume robotic food delivery this fall with Cartken.
- Restaurant operator embraces tech as permanent solution
While most of the restaurant industry has been set back by labor shortage woes, Capriotti’s and its sister brand Wing Zone have spent much of the past year investing in automation and digital solutions. “I don’t think the labor challenges we're facing are ever going to get better,” CEO Ashley Morris said. “What the pandemic did for the industry, good or bad, is allow people to develop skills and start businesses online or find some other way to make money. … It’s a natural progression happening at a pretty rapid scale. So, automation is becoming necessary for the industry in order to perform the jobs that need to be performed inside the restaurant space.”
- Drone “superhighway” to open over England by mid-2024
Drone deliveries will soon be a reality as the world's first automated superhighway is slated to begin operations in the UK by mid-2024 as authorities have agreed to link up airspace between towns and cities along a 165-mile corridor that will allow drones to fly unpiloted across the Midlands and southern England. Project Skyway is part of a $330 million aerospace investment by the UK government, which includes autonomous drone deliveries of mail and medical supplies, as part of a transition to low carbon flight technologies.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]