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:
- Airport opens nine-concept ghost kitchen to serve travelers
RDU International Airport in North Carolina has debuted a first-of-its-kind getREEF Virtual Food Hall (i.e., a “ghost kitchen”) offering meals and coffee from nine different brands, including six international concepts and three local ones. Food and drinks ordered through the virtual food hall are available to pick up at the food hall’s kiosks, which have specially marked lockers that are opened by the customer using a unique code sent directly to their phone. Customers can place and pay for their orders on their mobile devices or directly at the kiosks and get real-time text updates on the status of their orders.
- UCLA to add Jamba by Blendid robotic kiosk to retail mix
Blendid and Jamba have announced plans to expand their Jamba by Blendid autonomous robotic kiosk locations to UCLA, with the location opening this summer in preparation for the 2022-2023 school year in partnership with Associated Students UCLA (ASUCLA). “We think our Bruins will love being able to order plant-forward smoothies from their phones and then watch a robot prepare their customized orders,” said Cindy Bolton, Director of ASUCLA Food Operations. “We’re excited to finalize details for the official opening and to see how robotics and artificial intelligence technologies can help our food service operations keep pace with student and faculty needs.”
- Notre Dame retail sites going cashless
The University of Notre Dame says it will transition to a cashless retail environment beginning Aug. 1. The change includes transactions at Notre Dame food service locations, dining halls, concession stands and St. Michael’s Laundry, as well as dining services at Saint Mary’s College and Holy Cross College where the University manages operations.
- Capriotti’s chain to add pizza-making robots
Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop announced a partnership with automated pizzeria company Piestro to bring pizza-making robots to its restaurants. Piestro, which launched last year from Kitchen United founder Massimo Noja De Marco, is an automated, standalone pizza-maker that looks like a futuristic vending machine and uses temperature and humidity control sensors, programmable recipes and AI to make the pizzas from scratch. While Piestro has traditionally been found on college campuses, in food courts, in hospitals, etc. the technology (in the case of the partnership with Capriotti’s) can also be used to quell labor pressures in a restaurant kitchen.
- Drones to deliver medical supplies around Tacoma
Drones will begin ferrying medical supplies to addresses in Tacoma, Wash., starting in 2024, in the latest example of using unpiloted aircraft to move critical goods more quickly than conventional transportation. Startup drone maker Zipline and health care provider MultiCare said the service will whisk lab samples, medicines and test kits among Multicare's local facilities.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]