Chowbotics’ fresh food robot offers a safer and immersive mealtime experience with contactless ordering, unexpected culinary capabilities, and engaging smart video.
In response to demands created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chowbotics has unveiled new technological developments for its fresh food robot, Sally. Spurred by a need for safer self-serve experiences in vertical markets like grocery, healthcare, and higher education, Chowbotics has developed a mobile app for fast, contactless ordering. The company has also expanded the robot’s menu capabilities, elevating the culinary experience for ranging tastes. Chowbotics has also introduced a large format video interface for responsive marketing that creates an engaging customer experience, even when socially distanced. Through these new capabilities, Chowbotics continues to propel its mission of fresh food accessibility anytime, anywhere, bringing capabilities to foodservice and prepared food teams that were otherwise limited by new food safety challenges.
Chowbotics has developed a proprietary app to allow contactless ordering, creating a safer self-serve experience for patrons and faster throughput for operators. Users can now browse the menu and place an order with their nearest Sally from anywhere, through their own personal smart devices. Upon arrival at the robot, a QR code is scanned to complete the order. “We realized that with the pandemic there was growing demand for a contactless ordering experience,” explains CEO Rick Wilmer. “Customers greatly appreciate the custom nature of Sally’s made-to-order meals and easy-to-use interface, but they also want to reduce surface-contacts, which our contactless ordering experience provides.” Allowing customers to view the menu and place an order before arriving also greatly increases the throughput of the robot by reducing ordering time. The average time to order and dispense a meal with the app is reduced by as much as 50% resulting in higher meals served per day capabilities for operators. “The new contactless app for Sally is a great innovation for university dining and adds convenience and another level of safety for our customers,” says Scott Rossen, Director of Dining Services at Ferris State University.
Inventive New Menus
Since its inception, Sally the Robot was designed to work alongside culinary teams to provide a relatively easy and inexpensive way to expand their capabilities to new hours and places. Now, as self-serve stations become obsolete, Sally’s technology has become even more important for those teams, as it provides a means to not only continue, but elevate the self-serve experience with new cuisine choices.
In response, Chowbotics’ Michelin-pedigreed culinary team has created new menus that reflect customers’ changing tastes and needs, including quick, easy meals to bring back to their desk at home. Examples include dishes like Three Bean Salad, Thai Noodle Salad, Poke or even a Smoked Brisket Bowl. “Sally also offers some very unique capabilities and opens a new, creative world for foodservice teams. We’re working directly with clients to develop menus that cater to their specific audiences and address their dietary preferences,” notes Kang Kuan, Vice President, Culinary.
Responsive Marketing Video Interface
Not only does Sally the Robot engage with operators through the Chowbotics’ robot cloud management platform, a new video interface included on all new robots (and available as an add-on to existing ones) will allow operators to proactively engage with patrons and market specific items based on the menus they are running. This could mean displaying breakfast bowls in the morning and a BBQ bowl in the early evening to boost incremental sales. It also allows operators to engage new users with the fresh food robot from a distance, and highlight ingredient sourcing or other partners. This new capability uses the powerful effects of video marketing paired with data to increase awareness, engagement, and ultimately sales.
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