Technology & Equipment

Vending machine robot brings burritos to San Diego Comic-Con

The mobile robot will be stocked with California burritos and Gatorade.
sodexo robot
Image courtesy of Tortoise

Sodexo Live! is partnering with Tortoise, a mobile smart store, to launch a vending machine robot at the San Diego Convention Center.

The mobile robot is the first of its kind at a convention center and makes its debut during the in-person return of San Diego Comic-Con, taking place July 21-24.

“Tortoise gives us an opportunity to bring our fresh, chef-driven food directly to event goers in a way that is efficient and user-friendly. We know that fans are eager to attend this year’s in-person festivities, and we anticipate this innovative tech experience will be a big hit with those looking for high quality grab-and-go,” Steve Pangburn, CEO of Sodexo Live! for North America, said in a news release.

The Tortoise smart store will offer grab-and-go food and beverages to a crowd of approximately 135,000 attendees. The compartments will be stocked with California burritos created by Sodexo Live! Executive Chef Sufi Karaien and bottles of Gatorade.

Convention guests will be able to approach the cart and use tap-to-pay, either with a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, to retrieve their items—all in under 15 seconds, according to the release.

Additionally, the team said it aims to use locally sourced ingredients, often purchasing from area partners within a 150-mile radius of the convention center.

“Entering into the convention center space is exciting, and we look forward to delighting attendees with our seamless new future-facing solution,” said Dmitry Shevelenko, cofounder and president of Tortoise.

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