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Software connects the Fresh Food Robot to food service staff through email, letting them know when supplies are running low on any of the toppings, which are stored in tubes, waiting for instructions. More frequently used items, like romaine lettuce, can take up more space inside.

How salad-making robots are expanding the reach of food service of at Mayo Clinic Hospital

A conversation with robot project lead John Matis about the new Fresh Food Robots program gives us a look into robotics, food service and the future.

A fiesta chicken salad, a Caesar salad, a garden salad, a spinach salad or a spicy chopped salad? Those are the choices awaiting employees and visitors at Mayo Clinic Hospital-St. Mary’s Campus in Rochester, Minn. And it’s a Chowbotics robot taking the orders and making the salads, in case you were wondering.

freshfoodrobot2.jpgPhoto: The Fresh Food Robot, by Chowbotics, can be right at home where a salad bar once stood, offering a different but still delicious way for customers to get their leafy green fix.

The Fresh Food Robots—four installed last week at the hospital—have been making a big splash throughout the hospital, especially from late-night workers and those really missing the retail café’s old salad bar. We got the full story from Morrison Healthcare’s John Matis, system director and project lead for the new Fresh Food Robots program at Mayo Clinic.

Matis, a Minnesota native, tells us about planning for the robots last fall—before any of us could have comprehended the way the pandemic would soon affect food service—and seeing the need for them as contactless commerce is the norm for now. Just a couple of weeks into the program, employees have been embracing the robots as a new solution for meals during a busy day (or night). We find out how they work and why they’re working quite well right now as a food service trend.

Contact Tara at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter @Tara_Fitzie

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