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5 tech things: In-seat ordering and delivery expands in minor league ballparks

This and a historic White Castle being replaced by a high-tech one 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.    Minor League ballpark adds in-seat ordering and delivery

In-seat ordering, delivery and payment solutions firm Ordr has announced a partnership with the Gwinnett Stripers Minor League Baseball team—the Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves—that brings the Ordr app to the entirety of the team's Coolray Field home ballpark following a successful pilot program that drove both concession revenue and fan satisfaction. QR codes on the back of seats now direct fans to the Ordr app, allowing them to purchase and pay for food, beverage and merchandise, and have it all delivered to their seats.

Read more: Ordr Continues U.S. Growth, Expanding In-Seat Ordering, Delivery and Payment Solutions For All Gwinnett Stripers Fans at Coolray Field

2.    Out with the old and in with the new for Chicago’s oldest White Castle unit

In a dramatic sign of the changing times in the fast food world, the Chicago area's oldest White Castle unit, which was built in 1935 and featured the chain's original restaurant design, is being replaced by a new White Castle that has a robot making French fries and a menu board in the drive-thru lane that's powered by artificial intelligence. White Castle said the new technologies let employees spend more time on customer-facing responsibilities and have not eliminated any positions.

Read more: Replacement for White Castle's oldest Chicago area restaurant in Whiting opening, features AI and robots

3.    Chicken chain to use advanced AI to reduce theft and fraud

Following a successful pilot rollout in 15 Church's Texas Chicken company restaurants, intelligent video surveillance, analytics and loss prevention services provider DTiQ will now further expand across company-owned restaurants, and be a preferred provider for the franchise system. Programmable into any remote video system, DTiQ’s technology maps and marries point-of-sale data with advanced video to identify fraudulent transactions, resulting in what the company says is an average of 1% to 2% in bottom-line cost savings. “From the pilot launch, we measured locations against comparable business periods and recognized a proven reduction in both cash and product theft, resulting in noticeable improvements in food-related costs," said Bill Mitchell, Church’s Texas Chicken's vice president of company restaurant operations.

Read more: DTiQ named by Church’s Texas Chicken® as an approved corporate supplier of intelligent video and loss prevention solutions

4.    Most fast food jobs will be automated within 5 years, AI firm founder says

Artificial intelligence advances will allow computer kiosks and robots to replace most fast food jobs within five to 10 years, according to AI entrepreneur Rob Carpenter, founder of Valiant AI. "We are going to see AI jump from back-office processing and manufacturing facilities to consumer-facing, front-facing, traditionally human-only jobs," he says. Fast food restaurants such as McDonald's, Taco Bell, Chipotle, Popeye's, Domino's and Wingstop are already using AI while Wendy's started a partnership with Google earlier this month to "revolutionize the drive-thru experience with artificial intelligence" through a pilot program that will employ Google Cloud's AI to speak with customers and take their orders.

Read more: Millions of fast food workers could lose their jobs within 5 years. Here's why

5.    Drone firm founded at MIT will deliver takeaway food and groceries in remote areas of Norway

Drone logistics company Aviant has announced the launch of its Kyte home delivery service to deliver groceries, takeaway food and non-prescription medicines to sparsely populated areas and vacation homes in Norway. It also landed $1 million in funding from Innovation Norway to autonomously deliver vital prescription medicines directly from pharmacies to people in remote and suburban areas. Aviant was founded in 2020 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has operated over 2,500 autonomous flights covering more than 35,000 km in Norway and Sweden, including helping transport COVID-19 tests and blood samples between district hospitals and central hospitals in Norway during the pandemic.

Read more: MIT-founded drone company launches home delivery service in Norway

Bonus: Yum CEO: ‘AI is going to change how we run our business’

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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