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:
- Supermarkets begin robot rollout
A pair of ShopRite stores in Pennsylvania plan to test delivery robots from automated logistics specialist Tortoise for online grocery service, while Midwestern grocer Hy-Vee is piloting Simbe Robotics’ Tally shelf-scanning robot at five its stores to provide autonomous inventory management. In Pennsylvania, plans call for Tortoise to first start providing contactless service at one ShopRite store and then launch the delivery robots at the other store later in October. Meanwhile, at two Hy-Vee stores in Iowa and Nebraska—and three more in the coming weeks—the Tally robots travel the entire floor up to three times daily to scan tens of thousands of products to check in-stock status and ensure they are placed properly and display the correct prices and promotional information.
- Robot kiosk feeds up to 4,000 in corporate cafeteria pilot
Robot tech firm Karakuri in partnership is deploying its Semblr food-service robot at the headquarters of British online grocery Ocado to feed up to four thousand employees in the company’s canteen (cafeteria). The kiosk unit assembles up to 110 customized prepared meals per hour—and up to four concurrently—from various cold and hot ingredients, offering dishes such as Asian fusion bowls assembled from 17 different ingredients from which customers can choose. The company notes that the technology especially makes sense in a corporate cafeteria environment, where a lot of customers have to be served in a short time window, ingredients can be prepped in advance and staff can restock throughout the day.
- NFL team partners with Grubhub on in-seat ordering
The NFL's Washington Football Team has announced the launch of a partnership with online/mobile order service Grubhub at its FedExField home stadium that will allow fans to place an order with select vendors near their seats—identified with geo location—through the Grubhub app or by scanning QR codes on the back of seats and around the stadium, pay directly through the app and then pick up their orders through designated concession lanes. Approximately 20 vendors will be available for the service and FedExField also will have four food concession locations exclusively for orders placed through the Grubhub app.
- Syracuse deploys hand scanners for contactless dining hall entry
Students interested in an expedited entry into Syracuse University’s dining centers now have a new high-tech option available with the installation of Morpho hand scanners in nearly all dining centers to facilitate a quicker, contactless entrance at mealtimes. The use of this technology is entirely voluntary and available for students on unlimited and block plans, and hundreds reportedly have already registered their hand scans with the Housing, Meal Plan and I.D. Card Services Office and begun using the system.
- AI-based automated store debuts in NFL stadium
Concessions firm Delaware North is working with Mastercard to bring the latter’s AI-based Shop Anywhere platform to a checkout-free convenience store at the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars’ TIAA Bank Field, where fans will be able to get a variety of prepackaged, grab-and-go food and drink items. In announcing the partnership, the companies noted that the new store, dubbed MRKT, is “the world’s first commerce experience within a sports venue to feature Mastercard’s Shop Anywhere platform, which allows fans to shop and pay without waiting in line or stopping to check out.”
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]