Skip navigation
5 Things
starship-robot-header.jpeg Wichita State
Wichita State University Dining is rolling out robotic food delivery on campus through a partnership with Starship Technologies.

5 tech things: Wichita State latest campus to add robot delivery

This and how the quick-service mentality automating drive-thrus impacts restaurant business strategies 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.    Wichita State latest campus with food delivery robots

Wichita State University Dining is rolling out robotic food delivery on campus through a partnership with Starship Technologies. Starting Aug. 14, Starship’s fleet of autonomous, on-demand robots are available to deliver food from seven campus restaurants for a $2.49 fee to any campus location.

Read more: Robotic food delivery service starts at Wichita State

 2.    Drive-thrus leading restaurant industry’s tech-driven push for quicker service

The push for more efficient drive-thrus at some of the country's biggest chains reflects massive consumer demand for quicker service, so more restaurants are testing automation tools like artificial intelligence and the use of conveyor belts to deliver orders taken on apps. They are also testing more curbside delivery, walk-up pickup models and restaurant concepts that eliminate dining in.

Read more: Drive-thru mania pushes chains to rethink restaurants

3.    Campus dining automation a way to keep up revenues in face of declining student numbers, study suggests

According to a study released by CBORD, more than half of institutions plan on turning to automation in the next two years, driven in part by the looming enrollment cliff. With fewer students on campus, opportunities for dining revenue decline, according to Lorena Harris, CBORD’s chief marketing officer. “The dining rooms aren’t getting as much traffic; students are going off campus and living off campus more,” she said. “The kiosks and food trucks and everything else come into play when schools are trying to keep that revenue...they want to make more services available to keep that money flowing.”

Read more: Pizza-Hauling Robots and App Ordering as Campus Dining Goes High Tech

4.    Robot waiters lead to bigger tips for human waiters, restaurant CEO says

“Robot waiters are proving to be beneficial for one Florida restaurant chain whose CEO claims they’re leading to larger tips for human servers,” Fox Business reports. The chain, called Sergio’s Restaurant, is optimistic about keeping the robots long term. As president and CEO Carlos Gazitua explains, “With robotics, what we've been able to do is basically run the food back and forth so our wait staff has been able to spend a little bit more time with our guests, getting to four to five tables.”

Read more: A Florida Restaurant Chain Introduced Robot Waiters. Now Their Human Servers Are Getting Higher Tips

5.    Penn State students develop app to promote dining hall meet-ups

Dining halls have traditionally been places to foster campus community building, and a group of students who competed in Penn State’s HackPSU have developed a tech-based tool to ease the process of making new friends across the dining table. Their Meet & Eat app matches students with peers planning to eat at the same dining hall at the same time and who share similar interests. The students hope to have it in the App Store and available at Penn State this year with possible expansion to other college campuses further out.

Read more: Thanks to This App, Finding People to Eat With on Campus Might Be Easier Than Ever

Bonus: Back to School: Quality, convenience, tech and sustainability trends drive campus dining

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.