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:
- Digital orders booming in restaurants and c-stores, says report
The “Paytronix Order & Delivery Report 2022: Navigating the Digital New Normal” from digital guest experience platform Paytronix Systems, Inc. found that digital orders have risen to one-third of total restaurant and convenience store food orders this past March, almost tripling the 12% generated pre-pandemic. The report also found that in the same time period, 55% of all digital orders were for takeout and dine-in sales dropped 42% in January 2022 compared to January 2020.
Read more: The Order & Delivery Report 2022
- Free online scratch cooking resource tool for K-12 launched
Chef Ann Foundation has launched the Scratch Cooking Assessment & Learning Evaluation (SCALE) digital platform that provides school districts free customized assessments, resources and recommendations to increase scratch cooking and improve nutrition in their school meal programs. Available at no cost to schools nationwide and hosted on Chef Ann Foundation's The Lunch Box website, SCALE focuses on key areas: Food, Scratch Cooking, Finances, Facilities, Human Resources, and Marketing.
- Multi-cuisine robotic station operates in 144-sq.ft. space
AI technology firm Nala Robotics has unveiled Pizzaiola, a fully automated, multi-cuisine, 7-axis robotic chef + kitchen that operates within a 12’ x 12’ space. “Pizzaiola is a fully robotic pizza maker that can cook up to 50 pizzas an hour, providing consumers with an endless array of customized choices and styles, from Chicago to Neapolitan and everything in between,” said Nala CEO/Co-founder Ajay Sunkara. “Most importantly, our model allows kitchens to seamlessly add friers, grills and other food making and prep stations within the same 144-square foot area to offer additional menu items, such as fries, bowls, burgers, wings, salads, pasta and more.”
- “Multi-brand food court in a box” set to make U.S. debut
Singapore-based robotic kiosk firm Xook has lined up $1.3 million in startup financing and is planning to launch its first pilot in the US by the end of this year with two initial food brand partners that will “use Xook as a channel to market” for different locations like offices and apartment buildings. Currently operating a pilot site in India where its automated kiosk has made 60 different types of meals and is currently offering 25 of the most popular dishes, Xook anticipates adding more food brand partners because of its technology's ability to handle a variety of foods. “There could be multiple brands who could be serving food in the same vending machine at the same time,” said company co-founder cofounder Ratul Roy. “The Xook is like a multi-brand food court in a box.”
- Hotels seeing robots as labor shortage solution
While travel demand soars as COVID rules ease in many parts of the world, robots may provide at least a partial solution to ongoing staffing issues in hotels. Hospitality expert Anthony Melchiorri said the pandemic has exacerbated an existing labor shortage in the industry, turning it into a “crisis,” and attitudes about robots have shifted. “Before it was like, ‘We’ll have a wait and see about robots,’ and then it was like, ‘It’s nice to have, I’m the cool kid on the block with a robot,’” he said. “And now it’s like, ‘Can I have 100 robots, please?’”
Read more: Hotels have gone to the robots
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]