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:
- Portable checkout-free store, automated cocktail bar among Aramark arena tech debuts
Aramark is bringing the latest in self-order and checkout solutions to NBA and NHL arenas where it operates this season with two additional autonomous, checkout-free Drink Mkt locations at Capital One Arena in Washington DC and portable versions of the concept at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa. Meanwhile, AT&T Center in San Antonio will feature AI self-checkout capabilities with self-dispensing popcorn machines selling Spurs Pop: Fiesta-Inspired Kettle Corn in two locations, and Spurs fans will be able to order cocktails via automated cocktail bars using facial recognition technology once registered with a valid government-issued ID. Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia will implement Club Level mobile ordering with delivery to all seats while PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh will launch MoBowl gluten-free, customizable rice bowls from its dual-chamber, temperature-controlled food lockers.
- Zippin self-checkout stores expand in NBA arenas
Six new Zippin-powered checkout-free stores are debuting in NBA arenas this fall, with Toyota Center in Houston recently launching two stores ahead of the Houston Rockets season opener, Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis closing out the final phase of the “Fieldhouse of the Future” renovations with two more frictionless shopping locations and Capital One Arena in Washington DC adding two Zippin Lanes in October. Other NBA arenas with Zippin locations include AT&T Center in San Antonio, where it has offered Spurs fans frictionless shopping since 2021; Barclays Center in Brooklyn, with five stores; Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, home of the original Zippin-powered store; Paycom Center in Oklahoma City, which launched checkout-free shopping in the 2021-22 NBA season; and the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, with two popular “Buzz City” stores for Charlotte Hornets fans..
- Texas hospital uses robot dietitian
For the past month or so, Medical Center Hospital (MCH) in Odessa, Texas has had a robot dietitian, a movable video monitor they call Molly where a dietitian named Amy Lofley appears. MCH COO Matt Collins says hospitals have had a hard time filling all sorts of jobs, dietitians being one of them, so in response, MCH and food service partner Morrison Healthcare developed the idea of using robots to supplement those services.
Read more: MCH using robot dietitian
- Robots designed for restaurant adapted to help out at library
At a public library in McKinney, Texas, robots made by Chinese high-tech company Orion Star serve as guides during busy hours and to fulfill library visitors' requests for assistance. Orion Star said the series of robots were designed specifically for restaurant use, but the two at the library have been adapted in accordance with its needs, providing information and helping keep things tidy by getting books back on shelves when readers finish reading them.
- Chartwells plans to expand mobile order, add order kiosks at University of Florida
Over the summer, the University of Florida and new food service provider Chartwells Higher Education have introduced “Florida Fresh Dining,” bringing local food concepts to campus while refreshing dining locations and making the “Taste of Gainesville” a permanent fixture in the Reitz Union. Now, Florida Fresh Dining is looking to introduce free-standing ordering kiosks and expand its mobile ordering app to increase speed-of-service.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]