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Restaurants' Future to Include Robots and Drones

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The restaurant industry is having a moment of evolution.

With the various devices consumers use in everyday life, it should come as no surprise that the food service industry is looking to get in on the game.

At the 2017 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, Cicely Simpson, the organization's executive vice president of government affairs and policy, and the Texas Restaurant Association's vice president of marketing and innovation, Anna Tauzin, discussed the digitalization of the restaurant industry and its effect on delivery.

As freestanding kiosks and mobile order ahead have popped up over the past few years, Tauzin shared the rising trend of digital restaurants. This new development means that these restaurants have zero customer seating and operate purely on a delivery-only model using a third party for delivery.

Think Uber Eats or Grub Hub.

While Manhattan-based Green Summit Group, which operates nine restaurants out of one kitchen, is gaining traction with funding and location expansions, the industry is opening up the doors for delivery technology innovation. These digital delivery projects include potential robotic-based delivery.  Starship Technologies is working on self-driving robots with Postmates, Flirtey is looking to deliver food via drones.

Simpson commented on how these technological advances in the hospitality industry are causing concern in governments because of regulatory concerns.  “This is a very active conversation within Washington right now,” she said. “While consumers and restaurateurs are evolving and technology is evolving with them, the government continues to fight with itself.”

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