"Drone delivery is a sexy thing to talk about, but it's not realistic to think we're going to see drones flying all over the sky dropping pizzas into everyone's backyards anytime soon," said Ido Levanon, the managing director of Dragontail Systems Ltd., the technology firm coordinating Pizza Hut's drone trial. Pizza chains and tech startups have spent years sketching visions of food descending from the sky instead of being yanked from the back of a moped or car. Drones would zip above road traffic, widen restaurants' delivery areas and cost less than human drivers. In 2016, a Domino's Pizza Inc. franchisee flew a drone over Whangaparaoa, New Zealand, and deposited two pizzas--peri-peri chicken and chicken and cranberry--into the backyard of Emma and Johnny Norman. Get weekly insights into the ways companies optimize data, technology and design to drive success with their customers and employees.
A company that developed a monitoring technology to make sure fast food employees were doing a good job putting toppings on pizzas has found a new use for its AI-based computer vision quality management system during the pandemic. As worries about cleanliness upend the traditional restaurant ecosystem, smart cameras can be used to ensure cleanliness and sanitation in food prep. The company, Dragontail Systems, already has contracts with brands like Dominos and Pizza Hut. The expansion from operations management to hygiene will enable those brands to better position themselves amid fast-shifting customer expectations. "Dragontail Systems' technology will empower fast-food services and restaurants of any size to address the growing concern of health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic," explains Ido Levanon, CEO and Director of Dragontail Systems.
By now you've seen the big news about the world's largest fast-food chain by revenue. It was a bit shocking that it took this long to happen, but McDonald's (MCD) is finally embracing advanced technologies like artificial intelligence to boost sales. The guy credited with the turnaround at the 65-year-old restaurant behemoth since 2015, Steve Easterbrook, was behind the technological push that saw McDonald's not only embrace digital innovation but acquire two AI companies this year. This is big news for a few reasons. Before this year, it had been nearly two decades since the company made its last acquisition of a mediocre fast-food chain called Boston Chicken.
Editor's Note: Tech Tracker looks at different technologies that are disrupting the industry and changing the way restaurants operate and interact with customers. Through a partnership with online reservation platform Resy, several critically acclaimed and buzzworthy restaurants across the country are hosting "Off Menu Week" throughout the year starting in late February. Off Menu Week was designed as an alternative to traditional restaurant weeks, which occur in various cities throughout the year. Off Menu Week, by contrast, celebrates experimentation and risk. "As diners, we crave connection to the creative people behind our favorite restaurants. We thought, let's throw out the dated premise of restaurant week and bring to life a program that's fundamentally about that connection and creativity," Resy co-founder and CEO Ben Leventhal said in a statement.
If you walk into Capitol Hill's restaurants like Emilie's or Kevin Tien, you'll find yourself alone. It is because only one customer can enter at a time due to the coronavirus pandemic. There will be an employee to greet you, wearing a mask and gloves. If you order something, they deliver your food in a new white paper bag. Demonstrating these cautions helps them to win customers' trust that their food is safe from coronavirus.