Lehigh University Dining turned to robots and vending to create its new Convenience Corridor at the Siegel Gallery in Iacocca Hall. It’s filled with fresh food concepts offering everything from ramen bowls to coffee and salads, using tech to optimize accessibility.
“At a time when robotics and automatization are challenging the status quo, Lehigh has brought on quick-service vending solutions,” Marketing Specialist Evan Rehrig said in a statement.
Included in the lineup is Yo-Kai Express, a robot that churns out ramen bowls in variations including vegan and chicken in under two minutes. Also in the lineup are upgraded vending machines that offer freshly prepared salads and sandwiches, along with sushi, beverages and snacks.
Rounding out the Convenience Corridor collection is a Starbucks Serenade on-demand coffee brewer.
The Sodexo-managed dining program at Bethlehem, Pa.-based Lehigh had to make alternative options available when the school's Clayton University Center closed for renovations at the end of 2022. This latest foodservice solution meets the challenge of staffing shortages and offers students, faculty and staff 24/7 access to food and beverages.
The Convenience Corridor follows on the heels of several other updates.
In March, Lehigh Dining rolled out its newest food truck, The Talon. The menu features a global mix including a Cuban Reuben, gyro bowls and breakfast sandwiches. In addition, the newly rebranded Purple Pita food truck focuses on halal-certified meats, in response to feedback from members of the Muslim Student Association.
Lucy’s, a cafe tucked away in Linderman Library on campus, reopened in the spring semester following a renovation and offers students a variety of coffee, beverages, pastries and snacks to grab while they are studying.
Lehigh's goal is to meet students where they are on campus and offer accessible dining in these popular locations, said Rehrig.