The future of food delivery is currently rolling through college campuses, airports, and downtown areas all over the world. If you’re strolling through any of these locations, be sure to look down as you might bump into a food delivery robot wheeling past you. Although once an idea of the future, robot delivery has made its mark in the current off-premise dining industry. Convenient and contactless, many operators are looking to partner with food delivery robots in hopes of appealing to consumers looking for a touchless take-out experience.

Robot delivery has risen in popularity recently, as many restaurants and third-party delivery platforms have seen the benefits of automated delivery. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the food and beverage industry’s need to adopt more contactless forms of technology in their business models. Food delivery robots seem like the perfect solution for restaurants in enclosed spaces or busy areas with minimal street traffic. If you’ve been looking to invest in new avenues for off-premise dining solutions, robot delivery might the perfect option for your business.

How Does Robot Delivery Work?

Arranging tiny robots to deliver your customer’s orders might seem like a challenge, especially if you have only recently begun incorporating more technology into your business. However, using a robot delivery service is actually an efficient, and straightforward process. Research different robot delivery options to decide what company would cater best to your business’s needs. Once you’ve determined a robot delivery service to partner with and ordered your first bot, you’ll have to take some time to set up your program.

After your delivery robot arrives at your business, follow the standard instructions to connect the bot to your restaurant’s ordering system or third-party delivery platform. Customers will then be able to order from your restaurant and choose if they would like their meal to be delivered via robot if it is eligible in their area.

Once an order is ready for delivery, place the package into the robot’s secure carrying compartment, lock it and type in the address for delivery. Your delivery robot will notify customers when they are on the way, and some services even allow you to track their progress. Once the robot reaches its destination, it will notify the customer that their order has arrived, and will only be unlocked with a confirmation code. Customers can then unlock the secure compartment, pick up their order and complete the delivery process to send the bot back to your restaurant.

If you aren’t looking to purchase a delivery robot for your restaurant but are still interested in using bots for off-premise delivery, consider partnering with a local robot delivery service. They will simply send over robots to your business to pick up orders, deliver to customers, and head back to their home base. Ideal for ghost kitchens, food halls, or small restaurants, using a robot delivery service as a third-party delivery platform will cost your business less and allow others to handle the ins and outs of your delivery bot.

Where Can Delivery Robots Be Used?

Delivery bots can travel at a maximum speed under 10 mph, and use the same navigational features as a self-driving car: 360-degree vision, sensors, GPS navigation, measurement units, and other technology. Due to delivery robots still being in early stages, they can’t travel long distances or withstand being around an abundant amount of street traffic or be used in areas that don’t have sidewalks. There have even been instances where delivery bots have been harmed by passersby or even vehicles.

Due to those constraints, delivery robots are best used in limited geographical areas, such as:

  • College campuses
  • Airports
  • Small residential areas
  • Malls
  • Walkable areas

Delivery robots can also be used to fulfill “last-mile” deliveries, where they can fulfill the final step of moving an order from a transportation hub to their final delivery destination, within a 5-mile radius.

Why Robot Delivery Is Taking Over

With the ever-increasing interest in off-premise dining and contactless technology, fueled in part by the restaurant’s industry response to the COVID-19 pandemic, robots are quickly becoming a part of everyday life. For operators, robot delivery is a very viable option to meet the needs of their off-premise customers. Designed with contactless convenience in mind, robot delivery is a perfect non-human option for off-premise ordering. Even though third-party ordering platforms have risen in popularity, there has been a huge demand to fully integrate delivery bots all over cities in America and the world.

The Disadvantages of Robot Delivery

Even though there are endless benefits to using robot delivery systems, there are also some disadvantages that could possibly hinder your business instead of aiding it.

  • High Cost: Delivery bots are expensive, and might not be financially viable for your restaurant if you aren’t making enough revenue from off-premise dining to invest in a high-cost delivery system instead of other ordering platforms.
  • Undeveloped Technology: Currently, delivery robots are still in their early stages of development and might still be undergoing malfunctions that could impact your customer’s delivery experience and lead to bad reviews or a decrease in orders.
  • High-Traffic Areas: Your restaurant could also be in a location that experiences high levels of traffic or isn’t friendly to pedestrians, which means that delivery robots wouldn’t be able to service your customers properly.
  • Impacts Workforce: Delivery robots also impact the workforce of human couriers and delivery drivers, who have seen a decrease in wages due to robots replacing their jobs.

As much as robot delivery is a positive step into the future of the restaurant industry, you should consider these disadvantages before investing in your own delivery bot. Whether you choose to invest in a delivery bot service for your restaurant or look into other avenues for off-premise dining, just know that these tiny robots will continue rolling around a city near you!