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5 Things
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A RoboBurger vending machine that dispenses freshly grilled burgers debuted on March 28 at the Newport Centre Mall in Jersey City, N.J.

5 tech things: Burger-making vending machine debuts at New Jersey mall

This and an Arizona State food pantry using robots to deliver free food to food-insecure students are some of the tech-related developments you may have missed recently.

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:

  1. Burger-making vending machine debuts at New Jersey mall

A RoboBurger vending machine that dispenses freshly grilled burgers debuted on March 28 at the Newport Centre Mall in Jersey City, N.J., with plans to expand to airports, malls, colleges, offices, factories and military bases across the country. The robo-chef unit grills the patty, toasts the bun, dispenses the selected condiments, assembles the burger and delivers it piping hot in about six minutes for only $6.99.

Read more: It’s the RoboBurger: A vending machine burger — cooked fresh to order — by an AI-trained robot

  1. Campus food pantry uses robots to deliver free food to students

While a growing number of campuses are deploying robots to deliver paid food orders, the student-led food pantry Devil’s Depot at Arizona State University has launched pilot programs to have either DoorDash or Starship Technology robots deliver free food to food-insecure students living on or off campus once every other week. The Devil's Depot provides college students with a variety of hygiene products, nonperishables and fresh food items, with support from local food banks like St. Mary’s Food Bank and Matthew's Crossing Food Bank.

Read more: Devil's Depot Partners With Doordash and Starship to Deliver Free Food to ASU Students

  1. Marco’s Pizza piloting AI assisted voice to text ordering system

Marco's Pizza has announced a 50-store pilot of its proprietary voice-to-text ordering system with the goal of a systemwide rollout by the end of 2022. The speech-enabled application uses conversational artificial intelligence (AI) that yielded 100% order accuracy in initial beta testing as well as increased employee and customer satisfaction.

Read more: Marco's Pizza® Tests Automated Voice-to-Text Ordering Using Conversational AI

  1. Drone delivery of Brinker meals coming to Dallas suburbs

After operating in North Carolina for the past two years, drone delivery company Flytrex says it will expand its fast transport of food orders—it promises to get orders to customers' backyards inside five minutes—to suburbs around the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex as part of a geographical expansion of its existing partnership with restaurant group Brinker International. The initiative is part of Flytrex's strategy to stick to suburbs and smaller towns that are less structurally encumbered for drone flight than cities and also tend to be underserved by car delivery, while Brinker is looking to expand the market for its virtual brands like It’s Just Wings and Maggiano’s Italian Classics.

Read more: Flytrex launching automated drone delivery service in Texas

  1. Robot waiter spotted at Austin Chick-fil-A

CBS Austin (Texas) station KEYE reporter Bettie Cross recently posted a video to Twitter showing a robot waiter delivering food to tables at an Austin Chick-fil-A. It shows a Pudu brand robot with bags of Chick-fil-A food zooming around the restaurant delivering orders to tables and even telling one customer, "Food is on the way. Wait a minute, please."

Read more: Robot waiters are delivering food at Central Texas Chick-fil-A location

Bonus: Sodexo adds Eat>NOW autonomous grocery stores to its campus services

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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