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:
- Forbes examines tech solutions for hospital foodservice
Offering an enhanced cafeteria experience for patients and their families may be a differentiator for hospitals in an area where public perception often identifies a lack of quality and service. With this in mind, this Forbes article looks at what investing in IoT-enabled connected cafeterias—which are equipped with the capabilities of continuous asset monitoring, guidance for food process automation and automated kitchen appliance operation—would look like for hospitals in order to demonstrate that they are creating better experiences and improving patient satisfaction.
- Partnership brings zero-waste takeout to campuses
Food order/delivery service Grubhub has announced a partnership with reusable packaging management platform Topanga.io to provide integrated zero-waste takeout services on college campuses through Topanga.io's ReusePass program. Through the arrangement, diners who place a to-go order from on-campus dining locations via the Grubhub app will be able to select having their meals packaged in a reusable container using Topanga.io's track-and-trace technology, which allows them to keep track of what containers they have and when they need to be returned. This program is currently available at The Ohio State University and Colorado State University, with plans to expand to more campuses throughout the year.
- Penn State launches mobile student ID card
Penn State students can now use their iPhone, Apple Watch, or Android to access residence halls and common buildings, use LionCash, access their meal plan, make purchases at vending machines, and pay for laundry through a new mobile ID feature. “The University is one step closer to a seamless student experience,” says David Snyder, assistant vice president for Auxiliary and Business Services. “Now, students can use their mobile id+ card to access resources and complete transactions with just a simple tap of their device, giving our students the freedom and convenience of a digital campus.”
- Robotic pizza solution designed for small spaces
AI tech firm Nala Robotics, high-speed oven manufacturer Ovention Inc. and foodservice equipment vendor Hatco Corp. have announced the development of a compact, fully autonomous robotic pizza making system for convenience stores, quick service restaurants, ghost kitchens and other commercial settings. Slated to be on display at this year's NAFEM Show in Orlando, the joint solution is contained within a 10' x 10' footprint that can be configured to include variations of dough, sauces and toppings. The AI-based robotic arm selects and presses the dough, adds the sauce, cheese and toppings, and cooks the pizza in an Ovention oven. The pizzas are then sliced, boxed and stored in Hatco's Pizza Locker System.
- High-tech micro-farm sprouts in UNL dining hall
To help do its part to become more sustainable, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) last fall started growing some of its own produce inside a micro-farm in one of its dining halls. The farm has organic lettuce, basil, pea shoots and other greens at all different growth stages. Farmers plant and harvest the products when they’re ready before the final product makes its way to students’ plates.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]