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. ezCater announces workplace catering partnership with Panera
Corporate food solutions provider ezCater has announced a partnership with Panera Bread to bring the latter's soups, salads, sandwiches and other offerings to the ezCater marketplace. Businesses can now order catering from nearly half of Panera’s bakery-cafes across the U.S. on the ezCater website and mobile app, and in the coming months, Panera and ezCater intend to continue to add hundreds more locations to the ezCater marketplace as they continue to roll out the partnership.
2. Sodexo looks to startups to enhance healthcare and senior living management
The Sodexo Healthcare and Seniors Accelerator program has selected three startups—ThriveMap, 1Huddle and Memory Lane Games—to pilot their solutions to help Sodexo with its management of healthcare organizations and senior living communities. ThriveMap offers personalized pre-hire assessments for high-volume, frontline hiring, 1Huddle is a training and development platform that uses quick-burst mobile games to quickly and effectively educate and upskill a workforce and Memory Lane Games produces customized quiz games to monitor and manage cognitive decline across neurological conditions, starting with dementia, for memory care facilities and in-home care groups.
3. Robot food deliveries all the rage at Notre Dame
After Campus Dining at the University of Notre Dame launched robot delivery through Grubhub last year, only two colleges in the country ordered more robot deliveries over the past year—the University of Arizona and Ohio State University, both with student populations over 40,000 (Notre Dame’s spring 2023 enrollment was around 8,900). Despite their popularity, the Grubhub robots have not evaded criticism from students, with one noting that "the robots are a prime example of choosing convenience over community.”
4. NHL team’s retail store to offer RFID enabled checkout
The Columbus Blue Jackets and Delaware North have announced a new, hassle-free checkout experience at the team’s official retail store, The Blue Line at Nationwide Arena, that consists of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology that instantly scans all the items for the customer. Fans shopping at The Blue Line will only have to select their items and place them into the bin to be automatically scanned, with the kiosk then showing the items and amount and be ready for payment, saving customers from slow-moving lines.
5. Drone delivery promises to make for better pizza, Papa John’s exec says
As restaurants look for more efficient and cost-effective ways to meet consumers’ desire for on-demand delivery, Papa John’s is tapping drones to keep the food hot until it gets to customers’ doors. In an interview with PYMNTS, Papa John’s Vice President of Digital Engineering and Services Yasaswi Pulavarti said as the restaurant tries out different delivery methods, an advantage of drone delivery with Autonomous Pickup is the speed it offers—an important factor, given how hot pizza needs to be kept for the consumer to enjoy it.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]