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:
1. Report finds robotic delivery market set to boom
The rise in online food ordering and delivery services has created a demand for fast and accurate processes, driving many eateries to seek out innovative solutions for optimizing their delivery pipelines. Cue the robots. The delivery robots market is poised for explosive growth in the coming years, according to a report by MarketsandMarkets. The report states that the market is projected to grow to $1.8 billion by 2028, representing a compound annual growth rate of 33.7%.
2. Walmart to automate 65% of stores by 2026
Walmart Inc. has said it expects about 65% of its stores to be serviced by automation by the end of its fiscal year 2026, just days after it revealed plans to lay off more than 2,000 people at online order fulfillment centers. The move comes as Walmart has increasingly been using its huge stores to handle online-order deliveries and investing heavily in automation to eliminate the time it takes to process orders at its e-commerce fulfillment facilities.
Read more: Walmart to Automate 65% of Stores by 2026
3. Restaurant operators expect to automate at least half of store tasks by 2025
The recent 2023 Connected Restaurant Experience Study by Incisiv, conducted in collaboration with Verizon Business and Cisco, shows that customers' rapid adoption of digital technologies is increasing the complexity of managing restaurant operations. Brands recognize that they need to increase their technology investment to support the new normal. According to the report, the top three areas where operators will invest are supporting the fulfillment of digital orders, improving kitchen operational efficiency and improving checkout speed.
4. Just Walk Out goes down under…
Automated concessions service is going global. The Australian Football League (AFL) has announced that Marvel Stadium in Melbourne will become the first venue in the Southern Hemisphere to introduce Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology for checkout-free purchases through concessions firm Delaware North. The new technology will be available at two outlets known as ‘The Runner’—one food and beverage and one bar—in time for the early rounds of the 2023 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.
5. Costco looks to automate the free sample station
Instagram account @costcodeals spotted a new version of a sample server at a Washington State Costco recently: a sample kiosk, no human to be found—loaded up with snacks. According to their post, they were told this was a result of staffing issues but does it suggest a shift away from human sample servers in Costcos across the country? Are we going to end up with Costco robot servers soon, similar to how many fast food restaurants are on the path to operating? This may be the first sign pointing to yes.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]