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Chick-fil-A Tests Robotic Sandwich Delivery to Meet Off-Premise Demand


Earlier this week, Chick-fil-A became the latest large restaurant brand to experiment with robotic delivery in order to meet demand in spite of substantial capacity constraints.

Robotic delivery provider Refraction has announced that it will test self-driving vehicle delivery at two of the chain’s QSR sites in downtown Austin, Texas’s chicken sandwich QSRs.

Owner and operator of Chick-fil-A 6th & Congress in Washington, D.C., Luke Steigmeyer, said, “Autonomous delivery employing Refraction’s robots presents an exciting new possibility to extend the Chick-fil-A experience to an increasing number of delivery guests. Because of it, we’ll have the ability to supply our customers within a mile of our restaurant with quick, high-quality meals at an affordable price, all while promoting environmental stewardship.


Robotic delivery has recently been revealed by big businesses such as Chili’s and Uber Eats. These include sidewalk rovers, self-driving automobiles, and drones. As the demand for restaurant delivery grows, increased pricing and a shortage of delivery drivers are putting pressure on the industry, necessitating these new initiatives. Many restaurants are unable to meet the demand for delivery because they lack the capacity.

Additional information: The leading QSRs are unable to meet the demand for dining.



In the March/April edition of PYMNTS’ Digital Divide series “The Digital Divide: Regional Variations in U.S. Food Ordering Trends and digital adoption, created in collaboration with Paytronix, which drew from a survey of more than 2,500 U.S. adults who regularly purchase food from restaurants, about one-third (33%) order food from delivery aggregators each month.

A new study shows that regional dining quirks matter in tailoring restaurant offers to local tastes.

In addition to lowering the cost of distribution, actions that reduce the channel’s manpower requirements can assist increase demand. Some 41% of those who do not use aggregation services say it is because they are unwilling to pay the delivery or service fee. This is according to research from PYMNTS’ 2022 Restaurant Friction Index created in collaboration with Paytronix, which drew from an October census-balanced survey of 2,100 consumers.


Find out why PYMNTS believes loyalty programmes are the most effective means of encouraging diners to spend more.

According to Insiders,

According to senior vice president and head of innovation at Brinker International, Wade Allen, the company announced the start of a Texas drone delivery test in partnership with Flytrex and discussed the need for such automated solutions with PYMNTS after Brinker announced the launch of the Texas drone delivery test.


Allen said, “Delivery is incredibly inefficient.” One half-ton truck, that’s all it is. If you’re alone, you’re likely to walk a distance of one to two kilometres for your meal. The price of gasoline is rising. There’s either a lot of pressure on labour or a lot of money involved with that. Using this method is a waste of time and resources. As a result, you begin to wonder, “Is there a better way to accomplish this?”

Additionally, Brinker International, the parent company of the Chili’s chain, says that automation is the ‘heartbeat’ of innovation.

To overcome reluctance to the new technology, Ali Kashani of Serve Robotics, a startup now testing self-driving robot deliveries with Uber Eats, says that it will take some time.


“There’s already a lot of interest…. Inevitably, it will happen. As he explained, “It’s just patience.” It’s necessary to go through this procedure, which includes putting the robots out, integrating them into the system, and making and distributing more robots. Engaging regulators and customers takes time… People need to know why this exists and why it’s important for it to exist.”

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