Chowbotics is packing up Sally the salad making robot and sending it off to college. Well, many colleges actually, as the food robotics startup is set to announce next week a bigger push into the higher education market.
Chowbotics told us that this school year, students at multiple colleges and universities in the U.S. will be able to buy salads and breakfast bowls from Sally the robot. Those schools include: Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH; College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA; the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada; Elmira College in Elmira, NY; the University of Memphis in Memphis, TN; and Wichita State University in Wichita, KS. These schools join Marshall University in Huntington, WV, which installed Sally in 2018.
Students can order from thousands of different custom and pre-made meals Sally can make from the 22 ingredients it stores. Sally will work with campus meal plans and accept credit cards for payment, but unlike the school cafeteria or on-campus restaurants, Sally can fit in the corner of a dorm lobby and feed people 24 hours a day.
Sally is part of two big trends we at The Spoon see accelerating. First it’s emblematic of the golden age of vending machines that we are entering. Advances in robotics and other technologies means that automated vending machines are no longer relegated to sodas and Snickers bars. Machines like Sally and Yo-Kai Express can whip up complex, high-end meals in just minutes and around the clock in high-traffic locations like colleges, hospitals and airports.
But Sally is also part of a bigger wave of robots heading off to college. In addition to the stationary Sally, delivery robots from Starship and Kiwi are rolling around more campuses delivering restaurant made meals to the student masses.
The bottom line is that eating at college is not only vastly different from when I went to school (long ago) — but pretty soon, it will also be a lot different from how people ate at college last year.