A group of self driving robots traveling across a college campus.

Why Food Delivery Robots Are the Latest Campus Trend

Food delivery robots are one of the latest trends to hit the restaurant industry. These small, self-driving vehicles are popping up on college campuses around the United States, delivering pizzas and burgers with a futuristic flair. Equipped with sophisticated sensors, GPS and navigational cameras or scanners, they can navigate pedestrian areas and sidewalks safely.

If your on-campus dining program is looking for a way to improve, the rise of autonomous delivery vehicles is a trend that’s worth your attention. These compact units can increase speed, boost safety and reduce labor costs. They also bring an element of novelty and convenience to the process, making it easier to engage with students.

As you consider whether food delivery robots are right for your campus, it’s helpful to understand the benefits.

Fresh Food Delivered Fast

Because robot delivery is coming from the campus to the campus, the delivery origin to the drop off point is closer than traditional delivery, which adds extra speed to the app-ordering process — a critical factor when you’re catering to a college crowd. After all, Gen Z consumers are notoriously impatient

Robots provide the instant gratification your college-age customers crave. When an order is ready at your campus restaurant, there’s no need to wait for a driver to come and pick it up; you can simply pack the food into the robot and send it on its way.

This process helps you overcome some of the key obstacles to traditional food delivery on college campuses: congested streets, lack of parking. While delivery drivers need to navigate traffic, wait for stoplights and find places to leave their cars, robots travel more seamlessly. They can cruise along sidewalks and roll right up to the front door of a building on campus, delivering each order to students in less time.

In addition to the shorter delivery time, robots offer greater protection for meals. From the moment it leaves your restaurant, the food sits safely in a sturdy enclosure that keeps the contents out of the wind, rain or snow. At the same time, the climate-controlled interior keeps each meal at the correct temperature. Whether customers order salad or a hot pizza, their food arrives tasting fresh and delicious, keeping hungry students happy.

Modern and Secure Delivery Option

Technology is an integral part of a modern college student’s life. In fact, Stanford University found that during a standard week of in-person classes, students spend 50% of their daytime hours on their phones. These young consumers are accustomed to high-tech solutions for everything from banking to communication. Autonomous robots fit perfectly into this constantly connected lifestyle, offering a modern solution for food delivery.

Robots also allow your customers to design a dining experience that’s tailored to their personal preferences. If they’re already in the immediate area of the restaurant they’d like to eat from, they can choose pickup. When they’re deep in study mode, they can opt for a human-free robot delivery option.

Students and professors everywhere have a heightened awareness of health and safety post-pandemic, making self-driving robots an even more attractive option. When a robot delivers your order, you reduce the number of people who handle the food. For people who are sick or need to minimize contact, robots are a safer solution. They also offer extra security compared to other contactless delivery options.

Restaurant business on campus benefits, too. Because the student selects their defined drop-off location, the address is already connected to their order and reduces the potential for human error. The robot locks automatically to protect the contents from theft or damage; it can only be unlocked using their app. Students can feel confident in the integrity of the food, strengthening your on campus restaurant’s reputation. 

Students Love It

Robots make a routine task — food delivery — feel more exciting. These rolling robots bring a futuristic feeling to the experience, which adds extra appeal. It’s hard to underestimate the value of fun, particularly when you’re selling to a young crowd.

The inherent novelty of automated deliveries can give you a competitive advantage in a crowded university market. After all, students are highly attuned to new trends and developments. A food delivery robot could be just the thing to help your campus stand out to prospective new students.

The increased attention can do wonders for your business, particularly considering that students are masters of word-of-mouth marketing. If they’re enthusiastic about an experience, they’re more likely to create social media posts about it. This translates to free publicity for on campus restaurants. It can also drive more orders; 28% of Gen Z consumers are influenced by social media when making buying decisions. Self-driving robots are beloved on several campuses and are frequently posted on social media.

Self-driving robots also speak to another key concern for young diners: the environment. The Pew Research Center found that 54% of Gen Z believes human activity is driving climate change. Electric robots fulfill young diners’ desire for ethical consumption; they eliminate emissions, providing an eco-friendly option that doesn’t sacrifice convenience.

Getting Started With Food Delivery Robots and Grubhub On Site

If you’re currently using Grubhub On Site on your college campus, integrating delivery robots is quick and easy. The robots connect to your school’s ordering system, so students can pay with their meal plans or campus cards. You can manage and track all orders through the Grubhub On Site platform, eliminating the need for staff to learn new technologies. If you’re not using Grubhub On Site, a member of our team would be happy to discuss your options for getting started quickly. 

Ready to learn more? Contact us to find out how to elevate your campus dining experience with Grubhub On Site and self-driving food delivery robots.