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The SJSU Ginger Market at San Jose State University (SJSU) has been transformed into an autonomous retail experience that enables students, faculty and staff to grab the items they want and go without having to scan anything or wait in line to pay.

5 tech things: Retrofitted automated c-store opens at San Jose State

This and the expansion of Jamba by Blendid autonomous robotic smoothie kiosks to university campuses for the first time 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. Retrofitted automated c-store opens at San Jose State

The SJSU Ginger Market at San Jose State University (SJSU) has been transformed into an autonomous retail experience that enables students, faculty and staff to grab the items they want and go without having to scan anything or wait in line to pay. The store sells such campus food/beverage essentials as a variety of pan-Asian snacks and meals, made-in-house sushi, poke bowls, locally roasted coffee, popular beverages and mochi. SJSU worked with Chartwells Higher Education and computer vision platform Standard AI to retrofit the market without ceasing store operations or altering its layout, and Standard AI was able to integrate fully with retail operations, including inventory management systems and visual merchandising.

Read more: Chartwells Higher Education at San Jose State University Opens New Autonomous Retail Experience

  1. Jamba by Blendid robotic smoothie kiosks expand to college locations

Jamba and Blendid have announced the expansion of their partnership to the college/university market with the addition of Jamba by Blendid autonomous robotic kiosk locations at Georgia College and Kennesaw State University (KSU), expanding their market beyond the current pilot locations in a shopping mall and big box retailer and taking the next step in their plans to open more kiosks in a variety of non-traditional venues such as gyms, hospitals and airports. Guests at the Georgia College and KSU kiosks can choose from among seven plant-forward smoothies, as well as Jamba’s popular Boosts and have access when ordering to the macronutrient breakdown based on their order customizations. Both locations will be open extended hours and guests can place orders in person at the kiosk or order ahead with the Blendid app and make a payment using their respective college’s dining cards.

Read more: Jamba and Blendid Expand Pilot Launch of Robotic Smoothie Kiosks to Colleges and Universities

  1. White Castle to expand Flippy robot rollout to 100 units

QSR chain White Castle has announced plans to further expand its work with foodservice automation firm Miso Robotics and install Flippy 2 units that take over the work of an entire fry station in 100 standalone White Castle locations, the latest advance in the partnership, that began in September 2020 with the deployment of the original Flippy to a White Castle unit in the Chicagoland area. “Our partnership with Miso continues to lead the way on what’s next for back of house restaurant operations looking to empower team members with technology to better satisfy customers,” said White Castle COO Jeff Carper. “Having Flippy 2 be a new hire at 100 of our White Castle locations keeps us on a path to achieve big goals at White Castle.”

Read more: White Castle Expands Partnership with Miso Robotics to Install Flippy 2 in 100 New Locations

  1. LA-based robot delivery service expands to Texas market

Digital solutions platform Lunchbox has announced the auction to the Bareburger casual-dining chain of what it claims is the first-ever NFT (Non-Fungible Token) restaurant offering a digital animation of a walkthrough fast food restaurant. “Our NFT virtual restaurant is a completely new concept made for restaurant brands who’re interested in getting involved in the metaverse,” Lunchbox Founder Nabeel Alamgir told Nation’s Restaurant News. “Brands like Bareburger have a desire to reach customers in new and creative ways. A regular virtual restaurant only operates online and is synonymous with third-party delivery companies like Grubhub and Uber Eats.”

Read more: Lunchbox auctions off the first NFT restaurant to Bareburger

  1. Hotel uses robots to deliver meals to guests from adjacent mall food court

The new AC Hotel Miami Dadeland has announced a room meal service for guests through which they can use a QR code they receive at check-in to order food through the Cartken and FanFood app from participating restaurants within the adjacent Dadeland Mall Dining Pavilion and have it delivered to the lobby by the hotel's fleet of robots within 10-15 minutes. Guests receive text message updates as their order progresses and are provided with a link to track the delivery in real time, then use a unique PIN to unlock the robot's lid to retrieve their order.

Read more: Miami Dadeland and the AC Hotel Offer Robot Food Delivery to Guests

Bonus: Viewpoint: Tech advances in food delivery drive engagement, limit enviro impact

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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