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:
- Chartwells expands campus dining tech partnership
Chartwells Higher Education has announced an expanded university partnership with food automation technology firm Picnic Works following a successful pilot program using cutting-edge Picnic kitchen equipment at Texas A&M and the University of Chicago. "Our team realized an unexpected benefit during the pilot," says Christopher Burr, VP of Digital Strategy for Chartwells Higher Education. "Due to the speed in which we were able to produce pizzas, we reduced waste at the end of the day by moving to a "just in time" production model." Beginning at the start of the upcoming school year, the Picnic Pizza Station will be implemented across an initial five university campuses: Texas A&M, University of Chicago, Missouri State University, Carroll University and Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis.
- Gordon Food Services to offer kitchen robot as labor solution
Major foodservice distributor Gordon Food Service Inc. is working with technology firm Dexai Robotics to offer Dexai's Alfred commercial kitchen robotic system as one solution for restaurants and food services grappling with workforce shortages. Alfred consists of a flexible robotic arm surrounded by several receptacles for food ingredients, all controlled by a tablet and app that users can program with their own recipes into the system ingredient by ingredient to assemble a wide variety of food and dishes, from burritos, pasta, ramen and salads to Mediterranean power bowls or even topping a pizza. Dexai has deployed three Alfred robots out in the field to date, including Travis Air Force Base in California, where it works in the cafeteria to create grab-and-go salads, and at a corporate cafeteria.
- Stanford adds digital ID that can sync with meal plans
Stanford University is adding a Mobile Key feature to its existing Stanford Mobile app to allow students to use their digital ID anywhere they previously needed a physical ID on campus, with the exception of student residences. In addition to unlocking doors, the Mobile Keys can be synced with a meal plan to enable mobile payments at on-campus dining halls.
- New York to offer robot companions to older adults
The New York State Office for the Aging is offering robot companions called ElliQ from Israeli firm Intuition Robotics to more than 800 older adults to suggest physical activities and relaxation exercises, provide medication reminders and offer assistance in connecting with family and friends among other services. The idea of using robots to support older adults in the wake of senior service labor shortages has already been tried in Japan, where they have been used in nursing homes to help care for residents.
- Israeli grocer debuts intelligent farm-to-store supply chain
Major Israeli retailer Shufersal recently became the first in the world to create an intelligent farm-to-store supply chain, continuously monitoring the location and temperature of produce to ensure freshness for customers by using the Reusable Transport Item (RTI) solution from Internet of Things (IoT) vendor Wiliot. The company's IoT Pixels device can durably attach to ordinary plastic crates and make them smart using Wiliot Cloud services, allowing businesses to continuously track not only their reusable shipping assets, but also the contents within. The IoT Pixels built into the RTI solution’s plastic crate are self-powered, postage stamp-sized computers that communicate wirelessly with the Wiliot Cloud and can sense a range of physical and environment conditions, such as temperature, location changes, as well as if the crate is full or empty.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]