Food Robots Make Economic Sense

The Lempert Report
July 06, 2016

Here’s what’s happening this week in Food News.

No question that mobile apps and in-store kiosks make it easier and faster to order, or even preorder at Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Dunkin Donuts and scores of other QSR restaurants, but ordering food digitally has more benefits – it is easier for people to customize what they eat, and for the cooks to execute these requests and you can increase sales. 

I recently sat with Ryan Sheetz, of Sheetz to explore just how this chain of food and gas convenience stores has upped the game and created the ultimate – a gas station where people go for a high quality and creative dining experience. Another Sheetz family member shared with Fast Company why they introduced touchscreens for ordering, “People discovered toppings they didn’t know we have. We cannot show a menu with all possible scenarios, but we can in touchscreens.” People also tend to order more food when they order digitally, an added bonus. 

And then there is the over complicated way that customers order foods today. Hold the sauce, dressing on the side, gluten-free, peanut-free, dairy-free and the list goes on and on. When a customer specifies their order exactly the way the want it digitally, the chance for error – or liability – practically disappears. Another benefit on many of these restaurant mobile order apps is that you can save that order for future use, making it even faster to order next time and reinforcing the relationship and visits to that particular restaurant.

So why haven’t we seen this technology applied to our supermarket prepared foods counters or grocerants?