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. Oklahoma State plans to include ghost kitchen in new dining complex
Oklahoma State University’s new Central Market Place, scheduled to open in Fall 2024, will include four dining concepts, among which is a unique “ghost kitchen" concept called Byte that can be thought of as a virtual restaurant operating as a digital storefront. The guest places their order via an app or kiosk and the food is prepared in the back of the house and delivered through a locker-style system. “We think that the food locker concept with ghost kitchen gives us more flexibility to change our menu offering throughout the semester,” said Vedda Hsu, director of UDS. “We can have student tastings and voting time to see what kind of trendy things we want to offer to students.”
Read more: Construction to begin on OSU’s new Central Market Place; to replace Kerr-Drummond complex
2. Minnesota senior communities embracing robot servers
Businesses from senior living centers to restaurants in Minnesota and the U.S. have started employing service robots. At the Commons on Marice assisted-living center, a BellaBot robot now delivers an average of 25 to 30 plates to the dining room per shift and has made more than 700 trips through the past month, saving its employees more than 11 miles of steps. Meanwhile, the Mayo Clinic began experimenting with two service robots at its Charter House senior-living center, where they primarily run a loop, transporting food from the kitchen to the dining room and returning with dirty dishes and allowing workers to spend more time with residents.
Read more: Minnesota restaurants, senior homes turn to robots amid labor shortage
3. Blendid brings automated smoothie kiosks to the athletic club market
Robotic food service solutions firm Blendid has announced its expansion into the athletic club industry, with The Bay Club Company, which operates 22 active lifestyle clubs along the West Coast, saying it will open Blendid kiosks at its San Francisco and Redwood Shores locations this spring. The new 8x8-ft. kiosks will allow members, staff and guests to enjoy freshly made smoothies customized to their distinct nutrition needs any time the club is open.
Read more: Blendid Expands into Athletic Clubs with The Bay Club
4. Robots deliver Uber Eats to Northern Virginia neighborhood
Residents of the Mosaic District in Merrifield in Northern Virginia are now able to have food delivered to them by autonomous robots, thanks to a partnership between Uber Technologies and AI-powered robotics company Cartken. “Our team at Cartken is excited to further partner with Uber Eats and expand our reach to serve the Fairfax community," said Cartken Co-founder/COO Anjali Jindal Naik in a release. "Cartken is at an inflection point, where we are rapidly bringing our AI, computer vision, and lidar-less autonomous robots to more places, like Mosaic District, in partnership with Uber Eats.”
Read more: Autonomous Robotic Food Delivery Debuts In Fairfax's Mosaic District
5. System designed to automate local restaurant operations launches in U.S.
Automation platform Orderbyte has announced its official U.S. launch, offering local restaurants the capability of independently offering an online experience like a Starbucks app. The company’s automation engine is designed to seamlessly capture and perform all essential operations that need to be taken into account when a restaurant receives, fulfills and delivers an online order, from automatically accepting omnichannel orders, managing order statuses and assigning delivery to an on-demand driver to receiving customer reviews and signaling the sentiment to the restaurant owners.
Read more: Orderbyte Is Revolutionizing How Local Restaurants Grow Online Orders: Hands-Off And On Autopilot
Bonus: How drones, robots and AI deliver what’s new in on-demand dining
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]