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:
- Fresh Ideas contract firm plans sidewalk robot meal delivery
FM Top 50 firm Fresh Ideas Food Service Management and last-mile logistics automation company Tortoise have announced a partnership to use Tortoise fully electric sidewalk robots to offer delivery to customers without a significant allotment of labor. The units, which can carry up to 150 pounds at a speed of 3-7 mph, is slated to launch in the next few months. “This partnership can change the way we do business, maximize labor and add new ordering options and opportunities for our clients and guests,” says Bob Love, Chief Technology Officer at Fresh Ideas.
Read more: Fresh Ideas Partners with Tortoise, a Logistics Automation Company
- Paris restaurant uses robot kitchen to save space, costs
A restaurant in Paris (France, not Texas) of all places is using a robot to produce meals in its kitchen, saving space and cost, according to the owner. “With three metres squared, we can serve 1.2k meals an hour,” says Ylan Richard. “A traditional McDonald’s restaurant is 125m2, and usually they can serve 550 meals an hour.” The robot means Cala saves 60% on real estate costs, which it says it puts into spending more on the cost of food ingredients, allowing it to serve higher quality meals at a better price.
Read more: The robot that can make pasta and sauce — and save restaurants 60% on rent
- Disney Epcot restaurant simulates eating on a space station
Space 220, a restaurant that simulates the experience of dining in the Centauri Space Station 220 miles up from the Earth, was recently opened by Patina Restaurant Group and its parent company Delaware North at Disney's Epcot Center in Florida. To reach the Space 220 dining area, diners board a "Stellevator" in a circular room with portals in the floor and ceiling that show the elevator capsule rapidly ascending, then emerge into a futuristic corridor and pass the Grow Zone, a slowly-rotating cylinder planted with "space greens" such as lettuce and cabbage, ending up in a large dining room with 11 large rectangular windows through which the curve of the Earth's horizon can be seen.
Read more: Imagining space tourism at Epcot's new Space 220 restaurant
- Discover/Phood deal expands meal/flex plan use off-campus
Digital banking/payment firm Discover will be supporting Phood’s new meal delivery program for college students by opening up access to merchants that run on the Discover network. The partnership will provide a mobile app that allows students to easily sign-up and load their meal plan and flex plan dollars for use on meal delivery services such as DoorDash and at local restaurants that accept Discover. Students will use a Phood Discover prepaid card loaded with their campus meal plan, as well as flex plan dollars that can be used for off-campus and delivery purchases, managed through the app.
Read more: Discover Expands its College Payment Solutions through Partnership with Phood’s Meal Delivery Program
- Freshly partners with NFL team as preferred meal delivery service
Chef-prepared meal delivery service Freshly has announced a multi-year sponsorship with the NFL's Baltimore Ravens, the brand's first-ever sports team partnership, that will make it the Ravens' preferred meal delivery partner for corporate partners, staff, players and fans through brand activations and exclusive promotional offers. Freshly has been making inroads into meal delivery for onsite and remote working employees of businesses, positioning itself as a potential competitor in the emerging hybrid corporate dining market.
Read more: Freshly Teams Up with the NFL's Baltimore Ravens in First-Ever Sports Partnership Deal
Bonus: Viewpoint: It’s a Brave New World for Campus Dining
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]