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:
- Drone avoids road construction to deliver tacos to Florida family
Navigation service provider Skyway and Zing Drone Delivery recently made their first-ever product delivery to residents of Montverde in Florida, bringing an order of tacos from local food truck Tacos El Carro to a family isolated by road construction that had extended their drive to the nearest shopping options from 10 minutes to 45 on a good day. "It's great to see local logistics services move into the third dimension by taking advantage of emerging technologies like drone delivery," said delivery recipient Jeff Clark. "The time savings vs. having to make a normal trip for take-out offers such a huge incentive for providers of this kind of service."
- Retirement community dining hall tests robot server
Following the recent debut of a robot server at a Baltimore retirement community, the Brandon Oaks Life Plan community in Virginia has now begun testing a robot that will take food to residents in the dining hall, and take empty dishes back to the kitchen. “We’re like everybody else in the area where we’ve had challenges in regard to staffing,” explains Ben Burks, the executive director. “Instead of dwelling on who is not coming, we tried to look at other opportunities to come up with solutions. We found this opportunity to bring in a robot to help us.”
- Robot chef trained to “taste” food
A robot chef created at the University of Cambridge in England has been trained to 'taste' food at different stages of the chewing process, just like humans do. Experts used the robot to taste scrambled eggs during different stages of mastication, including a runny liquid as it would appear just prior to swallowing. According to the scientists, robotic chefs that 'taste test' dishes instead of humans could be a fixture of busy restaurant kitchens of the future.
- DoorDash opens first commissary with onsite dining option
Restaurant delivery firm DoorDash has opened its first DoorDash Kitchens commissary kitchen operation that also features onsite dining in Brooklyn, N.Y., where customers can choose from five local, regional, and national concepts—DOMODOMO, Kings Co Imperial, Pies ‘n’ Thighs, moonbowls and Little Caesars—as well as beverages from Birch Coffee, pastries from Kado Patisri and treats from Milk Bar. “While this location is delivery-forward in nature to enable the growth of restaurant partners, we’re looking forward to offering a dine-in area for upwards of twenty guests—a first for DoorDash Kitchens,” said Ruth Isenstadt, Senior Director of DoorDash Kitchens.
- Food delivery robots: diner boon or pedestrian bane?
A number of students at Brandeis University have reported having minor collisions with Kiwibot food delivery robots operating on the campus, though none have resulted in any significant injury and at least one was a deliberate test of the robot's ability to avoid running into a pedestrian. The issue has prompted the creation of @Brandeis_kiwibot_conspiracy, a semi-ironic, mostly-satirical Instagram account. “The Kiwibots are absolutely out for blood,” an anonymous representative of the account stated. “Once we learned their true purpose, we felt the need to collect all the evidence we could and share it with any potential victims.”
Read more: Are the Kiwibots out for blood?
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]