Technology & Equipment

Sodexo brings virtual kitchens, high-tech vending and more to campus this spring

The foodservice provider has partnered with Eat>NOW autonomous grocery stores, Yo Kai vending machines and Virtual Dining Concepts to give students access to convenient meal options.
Sodexo robot
Photo courtesy of Sodexo

Sodexo is partnering with three tech-driven companies to innovate foodservice across college campuses.

Eat>NOW autonomous grocery stores, Yo Kai ramen vending machines and Virtual Dining Concepts, which operates brands including MrBeast Burger, Mariah’s Cookies and Buddy V’s Cake Slice, will be available this spring at select college dining programs managed by Sodexo.

“Students want three things: convenience, choice, and quality—often in that order, Kevin Rettle, global vice president of Sodexo innovation and digital for universities, said in a statement.

Eat>NOW autonomous campus grocery stores provide frictionless, checkout-free orders and payment. Among the first colleges to host this AI-powered retail is the University of Denver, with a grand opening slated for April 6. 

In what it’s billing as autonomous restaurants, Sodexo and Yo Kai Express will offer students vending machines able to create more than 80 ramen and noodle bowl combos. New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, N.M., already has the high-tech kiosks in place, providing students the ability to order meals via touchscreen 24/7—especially handy for late-night munchies.

The third innovation is the introduction of three virtual brands, available through Sodexo’s Bite App. Virtual Dining Concepts has a collection of delivery-only restaurants, and MrBeast Burger, Mariah’s Cookies and Buddy V’s Cake Slice are the ones destined for campus. Students at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., already have access to these brands, with menu items delivered by Sodexo’s on-campus delivery robots.

“Virtual Dining Concepts is excited to be part of Sodexo’s mission to further innovate the college dining experience,” Trish Giordano, co-founder of Virtual Dining Concepts, said in a statement.

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