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. Compass One Healthcare partners with Relay tech firm to boost service efficiencies
Compass One Healthcare has announced a partnership with cloud-based technology platform Relay to help its frontline teams improve communications, employee safety, and real-time operational intelligence. Compass One had already piloted Relay through its food services team at Mayo Clinic’s Saint Marys Hospital in early 2022, where visibility into route optimization increased the timeliness of meal deliveries by 36% within the first 90 days of the deployment. The system has since been launched in more than 20 other hospitals, with more expected in the next two years. In addition to the use of Relay for dining solutions, the technology is currently being piloted in Patient Transportation services and will soon roll out in additional service lines across Compass One.
2. Mobile ordering driving boom in vending
The rise of mobile ordering is enabling vending machine operators to capture occasions that would once have gone to costly-to-operate traditional restaurants, says Shriya Gupta, CEO of Toronto-based vending machine artificial intelligence (AI) provider Daily Blends. Indeed, many consumers are open to ordering cooked meals via vending machines, and advancements in AI technology can help ensure the machines meet diners’ expectations. “The demand for these grab-and-go formats has gone through the roof,” said Gupta. “People are really looking for healthy and affordable meals on the go.” The move comes as the traditional food service model faces new margin pressure from rising prices, making it harder to afford the cost of running a fully staffed restaurant, and these challenges are affecting the customer experience.
3. Children’s hospital develops all-in-one app to aid families with appointments, finding services
Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha recently combined its new Children’s GO wayfinding app and its Children’s Connect app—its branding of Epic’s MyChart app—under a single digital platform. "Now, parents can use the app to navigate from their home to the point of care, remember their parking space, locate dining services on-site, find the best provider to meet their child’s needs and schedule appointments online, including virtual visits," explained Jerry Vuchak, executive vice president and chief information and innovation officer.
4. Drone delivery gearing up as pilot sites show promising results
Wing, a drone delivery company owned by Google parent company Alphabet, is testing its app-integrated drone technology for select DoorDash users in Australian neighborhoods, where they are able to order groceries, snacks and coffee on apps that are then delivered by drone. Amazon is on a similar path and plans to start delivering orders by drone after Amazon Prime Air began operating in Lockeford, Calif. and College Station, Texas over Christmas 2022. Drones promise to reduce shipment between the final storage hub and consumer’s home from $2 all the way down to only $0.05 per mile, according to research firm GlobalData.
5. Japanese sushi restaurants turn to AI to help lick problematic customer behavior
Japan's leading maker of sushi conveyor belts has teamed up with a security camera company to use artificial intelligence against unsanitary pranks that have shocked the Japanese restaurant industry. Viral videos of the behavior, which include licking unused teacups and putting wasabi on other people's sushi, have made headlines in a country that prides itself on cleanliness and a unique food culture. Sushi conveyor belt manufacturer Ishino Group's partner in the monitoring effort is Daiwa Tsushin, whose security systems feature facial and motion recognition technology and the two companies aim to develop an AI-enabled system to detect problem behavior.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]