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:
- Farmer’s Fridge fresh vending growing rapidly in hospitals, airports
Showing how the phenomenon of automated fresh food service is growing, especially in onsite locations, this report from NBC Today tabulated the growth of vendor Farmer's Fridge to a current 178 machines vending salads, bowls other healthier fare in 118 hospitals and 60 airports, with plans to double those numbers in 2022. While selection varies by fridge, the full menu includes 10 salads, 10 bowls and an assortment of healthy snacks with most meals costing $10 or less.
- Robots to deliver hotel room service meals at Beijing Olympics
In addition to its robotic Olympic Village dining hall (see last week's 5 Tech Things), Winter Olympics 2022 participants staying in one Beijing hotel will have their room service food delivered by robots. The automated units go to the customer's room and wait until the customer enters a code that opens up the robot to reveal the food package.
- Chick-fil-A’s rail-based auto food delivery a TikTok sensation
A rail-based automated food delivery system at a local Chick-fil-A unit has become a sensation on the social media platform TikTok, garnering nearly 200,000 likes. In the uploaded video, a Chick-fil-A employee attaches a bag of food to a claw-like contraption that is a part of a very long automatic rail, which then takes the bag through the restaurant's ceiling to the customer.
- Panera Bread announces contactless dine-in initiative
Major casual dining chain Panera Bread is launching a contactless dine-in option that allows customers to order their food via the Panera app either when they arrive in the restaurant or when they are on their way, then get an email, text, and/or push notification when their food is ready at the counter. “This is part of a larger effort to create a digitally enabled café,” says George Hanson, senior vice president, chief digital officer. “Panera is a place where people do still want to gather. Our off-premise business has exploded, but we still have a very big dine-in portion of guests.”
- Pizza Hut Launches a Fully Robotic Restaurant-in-a-Box
Pizza Hut recently debuted a fully automated robot-powered ‘restaurant-in-a-box’ that operates out of the parking lot of a shopping mall in the Israeli city of Bnei Dror. The restaurant is fully self-contained, doing everything from dropping toppings to baking and boxing, with a capacity of turning out up to 50 pies per hour.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]