Gaithersburg, Md., March 28, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sodexo makes a massive play to innovate campus foodservice by bringing eat>NOW autonomous grocery stores, high tech vending, and virtual dining concepts delivered by robots to campuses across the U.S. this spring.
“Students want three things: convenience, choice, and quality – often in that order,” explained Kevin Rettle, Global Vice President, Sodexo Innovation and Digital, Universities. “Sodexo is in the business of helping our clients meet those needs head on, so we’re introducing campuses to the latest in innovative foodservice with eat>NOW autonomous grocery stores, high-tech vending, partnering with the top brands that students are looking for, and delivering it to their doors.”
Eat>NOW Autonomous Campus Grocery Stores
In partnership with AiFi, the most flexible AI platform enabling autonomous shopping solutions, Sodexo introduces eat>NOW, a frictionless, checkout-free grocery and convenience offer. Among the first campuses to host this AI-powered retail is the University of Denver with a grand opening on April 6.
“We’re proud to partner with Sodexo, a leader in innovating campus foodservice,” said Steve Gu, AiFi’s CEO and co-founder. “This partnership allows AiFi to bring our leading technology to campuses across the country with a proven leader in food services. With Sodexo, we can bring today’s students the ultimate convenience they’re looking for.”
In partnership with Yo Kai Express, Sodexo clients will now be able to offer students high-tech vending machines, with 80-plus ramen and udon noodle bowl combinations. Already on campuses, including New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM, Yo Kai Express kiosks allow guests to place their orders and make payments via touch screen. With this technology, Sodexo is able to provide students with 24/7 access to delicious meals, particularly late at night when demand is highest and options are limited.
Virtual Dining Concepts
In Partnership with Virtual Dining Concepts, Sodexo will now offer campuses three delivery-only options available on Sodexo’s Bite App for Universities. Virtual Dining Concepts is a collection of concepts such as MrBeast Burger, Mariah’s Cookies, and Buddy V’s Cake Slice. Already in place on Sodexo campuses like Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA, these concepts bring the brands students are asking for delivered to their dorm rooms.
“Virtual Dining Concepts is excited to be part of Sodexo’s mission to further innovate the college dining experience,” said Trish Giordano, Co-Founder of Virtual Dining Concepts. “Our MrBeast Burger, Mariah’s Cookies, and Buddy V’s Cake Slice concepts offer students great variety and convenience since they are delivered via existing delivery robots on Sodexo’s campuses.”
AiFi provides the most flexible AI platform that enables retailers to affordably deploy and scale autonomous shopping solutions across their businesses. Leveraging computer vision, AiFi adapts to existing store formats without the need for shelf sensors, and provides advanced tracking algorithms that can scale up to 10,000 square feet to support various shopper journeys such as an app, credit card, gated, or hybrid entry. AiFi works with top retailers worldwide such as ALDI South Group, Carrefour, Compass Group, Morrisons, Żabka Group, REWE, and Verizon. AiFi has the highest number of computer vision powered autonomous stores across the globe. The company has raised a total of $80 million from investors including Verizon Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, HP Tech Ventures, Mithril Capital, Cervin Ventures, TransLink Capital, Plum Alley, Duke Angel Network, Reaction, GS Future, Drive Catalyst, and Evolution. For more information, please visit aifi.com.
About Virtual Dining Concepts
Virtual Dining Concepts is the creator of virtual restaurant brands poised to expand the revenue of independent kitchens. The delivery-only infrastructure, exclusive online platform (with third-party delivery interface), and marketing strategy services guide existing restaurant operators from set-up to inception. Virtual Dining Concepts include celebrity-owned and non-celebrity brands with menus deriving from diverse cuisines. Menus are available for order online through their individual websites, proprietary apps, and most major third-party delivery services. For more information, please visit www.virtualdiningconcepts.com
About Sodexo North America
Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 56 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, government, Sodexo Live! and other environments daily. The company employs 125,000 people at thousands of sites in all 50 U.S. states, Canada, Puerto Rico and Guam, and indirectly supports tens of thousands of additional jobs through its annual purchases of $20B in goods and services from small to large businesses. Sodexo is committed to supporting diversity, equity, inclusion and safety, while upholding the highest standards of corporate responsibility and ethical business conduct. In support of local communities across the U.S., in 2021, the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation mobilized more than 11,000 volunteers to distribute 1.8 million meals to help 2.5 million children and adults meet their immediate food needs. Since 1996, the Stop Hunger Foundation has contributed $38 million to help feed children in America impacted by hunger. To learn more about Sodexo, visit us.sodexo.com, and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.