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:
- Burrito chain plans AI-based kiosk units in commercial sites
Commercial restaurant chain concept Freebirds World Burrito is partnering with AI/robotics firm Now Cuisine to install AI-based robotic burrito bowl kiosks in Texas commercial buildings, each with a capacity of 130-150 meals that are served hot and made to order in minutes. “Restaurant-branded Takeout Stations will likely be placed in multifamily and office buildings, with plans to later expand to college campuses, airports, hotels, and other locations,” the companies said in a statement.
- Automated bar set to debut in NFL stadium
An automated bar that serves mixed drinks quickly and efficiently is set to make its debut at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville this weekend when the Jacksonville Jaguars host the Denver Broncos in an NFL regular season game. The portable, 10-foot-long TendedBar unit can hold 10 liquors (20 liters per type) and 18 mixers at a time to make cocktails for fans ordering from four touch screens where they scan their driver's license and a credit card, then have Trueface facial recognition technology store all the information so they don't have to repeat the process the next time they order.
- AI-based food system will make personalized meals on the go
Robotics and AI startup Wings is planning to launch Nectar, a smart AI food-making system that will be able to learn customer preferences, make personalized meals and time food preparation for exactly when and where their customers will be, after it raises at least $10 million in seed funding. The human and kiosk-free device could be a game changer for customers, says company founder/CEO Haitham Al-Beik. “The menu that shows up [on your smartphone] is for you: you have a unique based on your allergies and personalization,” he explains. “And you just talk to Nectar and say, ‘I want my usual coffee with extra sugar’ or ‘I don’t feel like having my usual avocado sandwich today’ and Nectar can change it.”
- Study: surgery patients satisfied with remote follow-up appointments
A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons involving 289 patients who had appendix or gallbladder surgery between 2017 and March 2020 found patients who had video follow-up appointments were just as satisfied with their care as those who made a trip to the office—and they appreciated the convenience of skipping the commute and the doctor's waiting room. The COVID pandemic has accelerated the use of such "telemedicine," which does have the side effect of reducing the number of potential retail customers in healthcare facilities even if/when those institutions return to allowing pre-COVID levels of visitors to their premises.
- Sodexo acquires digital gift voucher firm in Europe
Sodexo through its Sodexo Benefits & Rewards Services subsidiary in France has acquired a majority stake in French start-up Wedoogift, which offers digital gift voucher services to companies, work councils, public organizations and employees. "Sodexo is strengthening its strategic position in the market and continuing to digitalize its offerings to provide gift experiences that best meet the expectations of our clients and our users," noted François Gaffinel, CEO of Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services in France. "We are taking a new step in the transformation of the market's business model.”
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]