Wendy’s and Pipedream to Pilot Underground Autonomous Robot System


Wendy’s plans to test delivering mobile orders with an underground autonomous robot system.

The quick service restaurant (QSR) has partnered with “hyperlogistics company” Pipedream on a pilot program that will equip one existing restaurant with an underground delivery system that will carry digital food orders from the kitchen to designated parking spots, according to a Wednesday (May 17) press release.

“We know that serving orders quickly and accurately leads to increased customer satisfaction,” The Wendy’s Company U.S. Chief Operations Officer Deepak Ajmani said in the release. “Pipedream’s Instant Pickup system has the potential to unlock greater mobile order speed of service and accuracy, enabling us to consistently deliver hot and fresh Wendy’s products to our fans.”

With the Pipedream system, autonomous robots will transport meals underground from the kitchen to a car located at a designated Instant Pickup portal in a matter of seconds, according to the press release.

The system will allow digital customers to pick up their orders quickly and conveniently, without having to leave their car, and will free up restaurant crew members to do other things, the release said.

Wendy’s will be the first QSR to pilot the system, per the release.

“We’re proud to partner with an iconic, innovative brand like Wendy’s to bring the future of mobile order pick-up to the quick service industry,” Pipedream CEO Garrett McCurrach said in the release. “By solving order handoff, the final leg of the digital experience, our Instant Pickup technology allows Wendy’s restaurant team members to focus on what matters: serving delicious, high-quality food and connecting with customers in this digital-first world.”

PYMNTS research has found that some restaurant chains have begun implementing labor-saving automation to help relieve the burden on staff and free them up for more customer-facing tasks.

These innovations have been driven by the pivot to digital food ordering that shows no sign of ending anytime soon, and the national labor shortage that has made it harder to hire more staff, according to the “Order to Eat Tracker®,” a PYMNTS and Paytronix collaboration.

The report found that with the right improvements, restaurants can recover their investments in technology by increasing sales and eliminating bottlenecks.