How Food Robots are Making Waves in the Restaurant Industry

Food robots might sound futuristic, but believe it or not, they’re already showing up in restaurants across the world. Offering both front- and back-of-house services, food robots work in a variety of roles, from cooking and cleaning up to bartending and bussing tables. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular food robots on the market today, and how restaurants can get their very own robot.

Cooking

    • Flippy: Meet Flippy, a robot that works at Caliburger in Pasadena, California. Flippy is capable of (impressively) frying 80 baskets of food per hour and serving 300 burgers a day. And Flippy can do more than just cook – it can even monitor food and clean up. Flippy helps the burger joint minimize headcount costs, as many short-order cooks were leaving the kitchen due to high temperatures (it’s worth noting that not one Caliburger employee has lost their job due to Flippy; in fact, Flippy requires humans to operate).

    • Vincenzo: Vincenzo is a pizza-making robot at Zume Pizza in Mountain View, California. Capable of creating 370 pizzas an hour, Vincenzo can press dough, dispense and spread sauce, and lift pizzas in and out of the oven, reducing delivery times to 5-20 minutes. Interestingly, there is no storefront for Zume Pizza; all pizzas are delivered via mobile kitchen food trucks.

    • Café X Barista Bot: Café X, a San Francisco coffeeshop, utilizes a one-armed assembly line-style robot that can create two drinks in under a minute. The café’s robot helps ensure complicated orders come out correctly, and apparently the drinks even taste good, too; according to Wired, “This robot barista makes a dang good latte.”

Bartending

    • Cyberdog Bartender Bot: When you step inside Prague’s Cyberdog, a two-level futuristic wine bar, you’ll soon realize it’s home to a robotic bartender that serves up drinks ordered via a smartphone app. The red robotic arm can pour up to four drinks simultaneously before they are placed on a tray and delivered via a mechanical system housed in the ceiling. Humorously, the robot can put on a show, too; if business is slow and the robot doesn’t have any orders to make, it gets “bored” and performs dances.

Serving

    • Penny: Created by Bear Robotics, Penny is a robot created to help complete tedious restaurant tasks. Penny serves food to diners tables in a fun and futuristic way, and can even bus the tables. Bear Robotics CEO Jon Ha said that waitstaff appreciate not having to lift heavy trays, and have experience higher tips because they now have more time and energy to dedicate to customer service.

    • Delivery Robots: In addition to serving customers in restaurants, fleets of delivery robots are hitting the streets to also deliver food (and other items) to consumers’ homes and offices. In 2018, the delivery robot market was worth $11.9 billion, and it’s predicted to be worth a whopping $34 billion by 2024. It makes sense, when you realize that more than 60% of a merchant’s customers live within three miles of one of their stores!

How Do Restaurants Get Their Hands on Food Robots?

Not surprisingly, robots can come with a hefty price tag. However, renting one (versus buying one) makes them surprisingly affordable. According to one robotics company, a robot can be leased, and that lease is reported to offer immediate return. The estimated price range for a lease is $15K-$50K (USD) per year, depending on the complexity of the duties wished to be performed. It still might feel futuristic, but quick-service restaurants where customers order and pay on kiosks, and eat food that is cooked and delivered by robots, is entirely possible.

Even if you’re unsure about employing a robot just yet, Star Micronics can help you automate other restaurant processes with self-service kiosks. Download our Kiosk Printing Solutions brochure to learn more about the durability, versatility, and industry-specific features Star offers.

cannabis legalization header

Cannabis Legalization Check-In: What’s New

It’s hard to believe that 2019 is almost halfway complete. Time is flying, and if one thing is true, it’s this: the cannabis industry is budding.

It seems like there’s a major cannabis legalization update with each week that passes. With that legalization (and cultural acceptance) comes dollar signs: it’s predicted that the global legal cannabis market will be worth $63.5 billion by 2024. Whether or not you’ve dipped your toes into the cannabis market, it’s important to stay informed, which is why we’ve compiled a mid-year cannabis legalization check-in. Discover what’s new in cannabis legalization in the U.S. and beyond below.

Cannabis Legalization: Where the U.S. Stands

At the time this blog post was written, the medical use of cannabis is legal in 33 states, four out of five permanently inhabited U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Meanwhile, the recreational usage of cannabis is legal in 10 states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington). And interestingly, a 2018 Gallup poll found that two-thirds of Americans feel marijuana should be made legal.

The following states have bills to legalize (and for the most part, regulate) adult marijuana use:

  • Alabama
    • Bill(s): SB 98; would legalize less than two ounces of cannabis, but does not include a regulated system
  • Connecticut
    • Bill(s): HB 7371, SB 1085, HB 5595, HB 6863, SB 496, SB 690 SB 744; on March 25, HB 7371 passed out of the General Law Committee
  • Florida
    • Bill(s): S. 1298; proposes a constitutional amendment that would go to voters for adults to grow, possess, and use cannabis
  • Hawaii
    • Bill(s): HB 1515, HB 1581, HB 708, SB 606, SB 686, SB 702; these bills did not advance out of committee before a deadline
  • Illinois
    • Bill(s): SB 7, HB 902, HB 2477
  • Indiana
    • Bill(s): SB 213; did not advance out of committee before a deadline
  • Iowa
    • Bill(s): SF 469; did not advance before a legislative deadline
  • Kentucky
    • Bill(s): SB 80; the legislature adjourned without voting on the bill
  • Louisiana
    • Bill(s): HB 509, HB 564, HB 462; HB 462 would create a constitutional amendment to allow cities to call elections to legalize and regulate adult use of cannabis
  • Maryland
    • Bill(s): SB 771 and SB 656; HB 632 proposes a constitutional amendment that would go to voters in 2020
  • Minnesota
    • Bill(s): SF 619 and HF 420; HF 265 and HF 465 propose a constitutional amendment that would go to voters in 2020; the Senate bills were voted down in committee in a 6-3 vote
  • Mississippi
    • Bill(s): SB 2349 died in committee
  • Missouri
    • Bill(s): HB 157, HB 551
  • Montana
    • Bill(s): HB 770
  • New Hampshire
    • Bill(s): HB 481, which the House voted 200-163 to pass on April 4, 2019, sending the bill to the Senate
  • New Jersey
    • Bill(s): S 830, A 1348, A 3819; the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and the Assembly Appropriations Committee voted on November 26, 2018 to advance S2703 and A4497; both bills carried over to 2019; the Senate Judiciary Committee reported a revised bill out on March 18, 2019
  • New Mexico
    • Bill(s): HR 356, SB 577; the House approved HR 356 in a 36-34 vote, then the bill died in the Senate Finance committee; the legislature has adjourned
  • New York
    • Bill(s): A. 1617, S. 1527, and S. 1509 and A. 2009, which are budget bills that include taxing and regulating cannabis for adult use
  • North Carolina
    • Bill(s): SB 58
  • Pennsylvania
    • Bill(s): HB 50
  • Rhode Island
    • Bill(s): H 5828 and H 5151; H 5151 is a budget bill that includes taxing and regulating cannabis for adult use
  • Texas
    • Bill(s): SB 460, SJR, 8, proposes a constitutional amendment that would go to voters in 2020
  • Virginia
    • Bill(s): HB 2371, HB 2373, both of which died in committee
  • West Virginia
    • Bill(s): SB 143, HB 2331, HB 2376, HB 3108; these bills did not advance before the legislature adjourned

Adult-use legalization bills are predicted in Delaware and Wisconsin, as well.

Where Other Countries Stand

Here is where some other countries stand in terms of legalization:

  • Argentina: CBD legalized/partially medically legalized/decriminalized
  • Australia: Medically legalized/partially decriminalized
  • Canada: Full federal legalization
  • Chile: Medically legalized
  • Colombia: Medically legalized/decriminalized
  • Croatia: Medically legalized
  • Czech Republic: Medically legalized
  • Germany: Medically legalized/decriminalized
  • India: Federally illegal, but legal in some states
  • Israel: Medically legalized
  • Italy: Medically legalized
  • Jamaica: Partially medically legalized/decriminalized
  • Macedonia: Medically legalized
  • Mexico: Medically legalized/decriminalized
  • Philippines: Medical cannabis legislation in progress
  • Poland: Partially medically legalized
  • Puerto Rico: Medically legalized
  • Turkey: Medically legalized
  • Uruguay: Legalized

Looking to Grow in the Cannabis Market?

 

Star Micronics has what it takes to compete in the cannabis industry. Our cannabis point of sale offering includes everything from NTEP-certified scales and high-volume cash drawers to pre-printed cannabis labels and in-store marketing tools.

Are you a reseller looking to cash in on cannabis point of sale? Discover what makes the cannabis industry different from other retail industries, what POS systems are required to legally sell cannabis, and more!

The Faster Payments Council: What You Need to Know

The payments industry is changing – fast. According to Statista, digital payments (including any payment made over the internet and payments made via mobile device at the point of sale) are expected to grow 12.7% year over year, and will account for over $6.5 trillion worldwide by 2023.

With the rapid growth of faster payments – or “payments in which the transmission of the payment message and the availability of final funds to the payee occur in real time or near-real time, and on as near to a 24-hour and 7-day basis as possible” – comes a variety of concerns, from accessibility to security. Not surprisingly, the industry’s leaders want a say in the path that’s being paved.

That’s where the U.S. Faster Payments Council (FPC) comes in. Lead by some of the payment industry’s key players, the FPC aims to enable all Americans to “safely and securely pay anyone, anywhere, at any time, and with near-immediate funds availability.” Let’s take a deeper dive into the FPC and its goals.

When Was the FPC Formed?

The FPC was created in November 2018 by the Faster Payments Task Force, a group of hundreds of stakeholders that came together – with Federal Reserve support – to form the Governance Framework Formation Team (GFFT). The GFFT was tasked with developing and implementing a governance framework that was inclusive of all of its stakeholders and facilitated faster payments in America, which is the FPC.

Who is a Part of the FPC?

The FPC is open to all stakeholders in the U.S. payment system, and it welcomes everyone from corporations to small businesses to individuals. Founding sponsors of the FPC include:

  • Bankers’ Bank
  • Ceridian
  • Corporate One
  • Early Warning
  • ICBA Bancard
  • Mastercard
  • NEACH
  • North American Banking Company
  • Open Payment Network
  • SHAZAM
  • Target
  • TD Bank
  • The Bankers’ Bank
  • The Clearing House
  • Visa Inc.
  • The Bank of New York Mellon
  • First Data
  • Goldman Sachs Bank USA
  • JPMorgan Chase Bank & Co.
  • Walmart

What is the FPC’s Mission?

Simply put, the FPC’s mission is to enable ubiquitous faster payments in the U.S. According to its website, the FPC has three pillars of guiding principles: inclusiveness and fairness; flexibility and responsibility; and transparency. More specifically, some goals the FPC has are:

  • Addressing issues that inhibit the adoption of faster payments
  • Enhancing the safety and security for service providers and users of faster payments
  • Developing guidelines to address opportunities and issues
  • Creating an education and awareness program to foster a better understanding of faster payments

Click here to view the FPC’s full framework.

What Comes Next

The FPC is planning to hold its first in-person meeting at the end of May 2019, so we expect to hear an update on its next steps shortly after. The council is also currently searching for its permanent Executive Director. During a time when payments are changing faster than ever, we’re interested to see how the FPC will affect the industry!

5 of the Most Beautiful Cannabis Dispensaries in America

The cannabis industry is huge in the United States – and it’s just getting started. In 2017, the industry employed 121,000 people and took in roughly $9 billion in sales. With more and more states legalizing its use, those numbers are expected to steadily rise and many more cannabis dispensaries will surely open their doors. Curious about the dispensaries already in operation? Let’s take a look at five of the most beautiful cannabis dispensaries in America – in no particular order.

1. Barbary Coast | San Francisco, California

When it comes to providing a safe, clean, and comfortable atmosphere for its clients, Barbary Coast goes above and beyond. With a wide range of lab-tested flowers, pre-rolls, premium vape cartridges, concentrates, edibles, and more, it’s no wonder this place became a hot spot in The City by the Bay.

Barbary Coast in San Francisco, California

Barbary Coast offers a dab and vape bar, as well as a stylish personal lounge for customers to relax, enjoy themselves with friends and family, and make new friends. Visitors may browse, receive one-on-one recommendations from staff, and experience the strong sense of community established in the dispensary.

2. Emerald Pharms | Hopland, California

According to its website, when you visit Emerald Pharms, “you might think you’re in an art gallery or a green technology wonderland rather than a medical marijuana dispensary.”

Emerald Pharms is a one-of-a-kind dispensary that focuses on natural, sustainable, and locally grown cannabis. The site manages a 12-acre Solar Living Center which features renewable energy sources, eco-friendly buildings, biodynamic gardens, and more. Customers can even refuel their cars with recycled biodiesel, or charge up their electric vehicles (via solar panels).

Emerald Pharms in Hopland, California

At the Pharm, visitors can walk across the lush landscape and view thousands of organically grown edibles, wildflowers, and ornamental plants. All are welcomed and encouraged to explore the off-the-grid “permaculture oasis” and attend its events including product demos, yoga, art classes, picnicking, and more.

3. The Herbal Cure | Denver, Colorado

The Herbal Cure is a family-owned business that takes great pride in its work and is committed to its award-winning marijuana strains. The dispensary’s mission is simple: to provide the highest quality cannabis and customer service to its clients.

On the exterior, visitors see a log cabin-style depot with a “cannaboose” train car on the property that was inherited with the land. The back of the dispensary features local graffiti and murals, which are rotated through the year. Inside, clients are introduced to exotic strains, fair prices, and the result of dedicated professionals perfecting their craft. Shoppers will also find a strong family-like vibe among the staff, or as they are called, “The Cure Crew,” who make it a priority to make every visitor feel welcome, comfortable, and secure.

The Herbal Cure in Denver, Colorado

4. Om of Medicine | Ann Arbor, Michigan

What makes Om of Medicine stand out is its ambition to create a collaborative, safe, and inspiring environment that promotes the rights of its patients and improves their quality of life. Establishing a welcoming environment for all ages and bridging the gap between nature and technology, Om of Medicine captures the duality of life and perfect balance.

Om of Medicine in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Notable features within the dispensary include a living wall installation, an aquarium, and local art galleries. Together with its state-of-the-art products and its compassionate staff, the dispensary holds events such as medical research sessions, grow seminars, comedy shows, yoga classes, film showings, and more, to not only serve the community, but to be a part of it.

5. Hashtag Cannabis | Seattle, Washington

The first thing you notice about Hashtag Cannabis is COLOR! The bright purple exterior of this cannabis dispensary features a colorful fish mural and a neon blue door to boot. With two locations in Fremont and Redmond, Washington, Hashtag Cannabis offers customers smokable flower, concentrates, infused edible products, capsules, tinctures, and lotions.

Hashtag Cannabis in Seattle, Washington

Designed to provide product to both customers seeking recreational cannabis, as well as those who need assistance with medical issues, Hashtag Cannabis strives to improve its customers’ quality of life. The dispensary also aims to help its community, and has raised thousands of dollars for non-profit organizations focused on hunger and immigrant family rights.

Some call it art, some call it science, but no one can deny the increasing consumer demand for cannabis dispensaries in the United States (and beyond) today. Are you a reseller looking to cash in on this booming industry? Download our e-book today.

Why E-Commerce Brands are Moving to Brick-and-Mortar

We’ve all heard of the term “retail apocalypse.” When you hear that phrase, you probably imagine brick-and-mortar stores shutting their doors. But guess what? That’s simply not happening (if brands innovate!). In fact, the opposite is occurring: e-commerce brands are opening physical stores, and fast. There are approximately 600 stores across the United States that belong to former online-only brands! Let’s explore why.

Online Saturation – and Expense

We probably don’t need to tell you that the online market is saturated … really saturated. Approximately 77% of marketers use at least one social media channel to market their business, and the overall organic reach you’re able to obtain on social media apps is falling as the platforms change newsfeed algorithms so users see more from their friends, and less from brands.

On top of the fierce competition in the world of online advertising, placing ads in the digital realm is also very expensive. In recent years, the cost for online ads on search engines and social media platforms has skyrocketed – it can be 10 times more expensive to acquire a new customer online than it is in a physical store!

Experiential Opportunities

No matter which way you cut it, an online shopping trip can only be so interactive. On the contrary, physical stores offer the added benefit of allowing shoppers to engage with products, interact with employees, and soak in the brand’s culture.

Brick-and-mortar stores are home to immersive experiences that will create a lasting memory for shoppers. For example, Casper, an online mattress store, is opening 200 physical stores so that customers can book naps and test out mattresses before buying. A creative, unforgettable in-person experience is priceless (especially when it includes naps).

Other examples of physical experiential retail include:

  • Nike Live Concept Store: The athletic brand offers personalized advice, in person, to align customers with the best possible products to meet their fitness goals.
  • Wayfair: The online furniture retailer is opening its first physical location in fall 2019, which will allow customers to meet face-to-face with design experts, try out furniture in person, and more.
  • Warby Parker: The eyewear brand saw huge success when it opened its first pop-up in 2013, and it now operates dozens of physical stores and claims it gathers the most valuable data in person, and realized retail isn’t dead, it just needed a “creative makeover.”

A Fruitful Fusion

Sometimes the perfect place for an online brand is in a physical store. Take Glamsquad, for example.

Glamsquad in CVS

Glamsquad, an on-demand, in-home beauty service, recently partnered with CVS to offer express versions of its services. This is a great way for the brand to meet new customers in person, especially those who may not yet be aware of the online brand’s services (why not fill your prescription and get a manicure?).

Another benefits for e-brands taking up physical shop has to do with returns. Instead of simply mailing back a returned item, customers may opt to return the merchandise in person at the physical store, which presents a valuable opportunity: the opportunity to make another sale.

Make the most of your brick-and-mortar store with Star! Click here to learn how Star and Cohub streamlined one candy shop’s inventory management processes.

Infographic: The Rise of Online Ordering

Here’s something you probably already know: the online ordering industry is booming. Here are some things you may not have known, though: 86% of consumers use off-premise services at least monthly, and food delivery in particular is expected to grow 12% year-over-year in the next five years. And last but not least, digital ordering and delivery has grown 300% faster than dine-in traffic!

If you’re looking to learn more about the online ordering industry as a whole, you’re at the right place. The below online ordering infographic explores the history of online ordering, industry key players and revenues, customer demographics, and more – including what point of sale features restaurants looking to jump into the growing industry should look for. Enjoy!

Click here to discover how Star teams up with 3B Apps to provide restaurants with an easy online ordering and payment solution.

Online Ordering Infographic:

Curious how Star can help you launch your own online ordering services? Contact us today!

Why You Need a Cannabis Dispensary Printer

The legality of cannabis is on the rise – but just because medical and even recreational cannabis use may be legal in some areas, there are still laws that must be followed, such as consumers proving their cannabis was legally obtained, and dispensaries staying in compliance with advertising.

So, what’s the solution to staying legal during this ever-changing era of cannabis? Printers! Simply put, printers are critical for every cannabis dispensary – they help businesses and consumers alike stay safe. Here are two major reasons printers are a necessary component of cannabis dispensaries:

1. Printers Provide Proof of Legal Purchase

When it comes to cannabis, proof of legal purchase is key. For example, it is illegal in Canada to possess cannabis deemed illicit (or illegally produced, sold, or distributed) by the law, and guess what? All cannabis without a proof of purchase is assumed to be illicit! Furthermore, if you are found to be travelling with cannabis without a proof of purchase, you can face up to a $5,000 fine or a five-year prison sentence. In the United States, laws vary greatly by state and must also be carefully obeyed.

Simply put, proof of purchase is necessary – and there’s no better way for dispensaries to provide it than with a receipt printer. Receipts offer a quick, easy-to-carry way to show law enforcement proof of purchase. So, what should be included on a cannabis receipt? It varies by region, but common items to include are store name and address, product category/name, and the appropriate tax code/identifier. And when you choose a sleek, modern printer, lawfulness and elegance coexist to strengthen your brand.

2. Printers Can Deliver Cannabis Advertisements – Legally and Effectively

Speaking of what to include on a cannabis receipt, another valuable piece of information you can provide with your cannabis dispensary printer is an advertisement – directly on your receipts!

Everyone within a dispensary must be an adult, so when you print promotions from your dispensary printer, you’re automatically advertising legally and to the right people. Did you know that:

  • In California, at least 71.6% of cannabis advertisement audiences must be 21 years or older,
  • In Colorado, at least 70% of the audience must be over 21,
  • And in Oregon, each advertisement must include the statement, “For use only be adults age twenty-one years of age and older.”

On top of offering advertising capabilities that help you avoid the headache, expense and reputation damage caused by a lawsuit, your cannabis dispensary printer can also automatically deliver ads to an ideal (and legal) target audience.

Think about it: by printing promotions on a sales receipt, you’re delivering your ads directly into the hands of someone who is already shopping in your store and interested in your product. Marketing delivered on a slip of paper that, legally, consumers must keep close to them – what better way to create sticky customers?

If you’re looking for ideas on what to promote on your cannabis receipt, here are some ideas:

  • Featured strains/strain of the week
  • Strains that are coming soon
  • Discounts/sales
  • Links to your social media accounts
  • Store hours
  • Store merchandise
  • Now hiring messaging
  • Customer testimonials
  • Featured FAQ

Remaining in compliance and effectively advertising go hand-in-hand when you implement the right cannabis point of sale (POS) solution and printer. Looking to build out a cannabis dispensary POS solution? Discover how Star Micronics delivers modern, sophisticated looks, and all the features you need to legally cash in on cannabis.

5 Futuristic Ways to Order Online

Ah, online ordering. Who doesn’t love it? Online ordering makes the ordering process easier, improves order accuracy, keeps costs transparent, and more. And the public agrees: a whopping 86% of consumers report using online ordering services at least monthly, and a third are using it more than they did a year ago.

One of the biggest segments of online ordering is food delivery, which is expected to grow 12% each year, for the next five years (and beyond, we’re sure). In such a booming industry (online food delivery alone is expected to be a $137 billion market by 2023), it comes as no surprise that new ways to order on the web are popping up left and right. Let’s explore five futuristic ways to order online – that are already happening.

1. Order by Tweet

Did you know that on top of catching up on your daily news and memes, you can also order a pizza on Twitter? Domino’s Pizza allows customers to make a “pizza profile” on its online delivery service, create an “Easy Order” (which is like a pizza speed dial), link the pizza profile to their Twitter account, and order simply by tweeting a pizza emoji to Dominos’ Twitter account. Dominos also allows customers to order via Google Home, Alexa, Slack, Facebook Messenger, and more. Ordering via social networks is an interesting thing, and there is certainly already a market for social media-driven online ordering.

2. Order Through Virtual Assistant

You can ask Alexa for the forecast, to play your favorite song … or to order your lunch. Companies such as Just Eat, which has 24 million customers across the globe, are using virtual assistant technology to further modernize and personalize the food ordering process.

Per Storm Fagan, head of product at Just Eat, “It’s as simple as having a conversation with your partner and you’re talking about what takeaway to order of an evening and, as natural as that conversation is, a voice assistant like Amazon Alexa will join in with your conversation. It will know how many people are in your home and what sort of food you like, and they can start recommending food options to you. Rather than us having to go to a website, it’s almost as if Just Eat will exist in your home with you.”

3. Order via Smartwatch

Smartwatches are no longer just for early adopters: in 2018 alone, 141 million of them were sold. With such a big adoption comes another wave of innovation and new features. One example of this is OrderUp/GrubHub, which allows a customer to place an order, track delivery status, and check estimated time of arrival, all through their watch. Expect to hear more about smartwatch functionality in the near future – the market is expected to grow to $73 billion by 2022.

4. Order from Car

Cars aren’t just for driving you to places where you can buy things – now you can buy things directly through your car! Take General Motors, for example. The automaker has launched GM Marketplace in millions of its cars, providing car owners the option to order food and beverages from Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Wingstop and more – all through the press of a button. Because the vehicles that feature GM Marketplace also have Wi-Fi connectivity, when drivers place an order through their car, it automatically will locate the nearest store and direct the driver how to get there. Although the service is predominantly foodservice-based, GM says there’s a huge potential for retailers to cash in on orders placed through cars.

5. Order with Eyes

Perhaps the most far fetched-sounding method of them all, believe it or not, you can order with your eyeballs. In conjunction with Tobii Technology, Pizza Hut developed Subconscious Menu, which tracks customer eye movement, and suggests pizza ingredients based on what a customer’s eyes focused on. Creepy? A little bit. Efficient? You betcha: the menu can suggest just the right pie for you, out of nearly 5,000 combinations, in 2.5 seconds.

Is your restaurant ready for the growing online ordering trend? Find out now! 

Delivery Robots: Coming Soon to a Sidewalk Near You

As futuristic as they might sound, delivery robots are here and they are flourishing. Since more than 60% of a merchant’s customers live within three miles of one of their stores, delivery robots are a great way for restaurants, retailers, pharmacies, and more to complete deliveries.

In 2018, the U.S. delivery robot market was worth $11.9 billion, and it’s predicted that it’ll be worth a whopping $34 billion by 2024. A big reason for that is online shopping: between 2016 and 2017, U.S. online retail sales jumped 16%. And we can’t forget robotic food and beverage delivery, which has already been adopted at university and corporate campuses across the world.

So, are delivery robots really that beneficial? And who’s using them? Let’s take a look at some of today’s top delivery robots and the impact they’re having.

Who is Using Delivery Robots?

  • FedEx: FedEx recently announced that its autonomous home delivery robot, the FedEx SameDay Bot, is under development. The FedEx SameDay Bot is designed to operate all by itself, using sensors and artificial intelligence to make same-day and last-mile deliveries via optimal routes. Recently on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” the bot even successfully navigated sand, rocks, and water. The bot is being tested this summer in Memphis, and will make deliveries for AutoZone, Lowe’s, Pizza Hut, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart.
  • Amazon: It probably comes as no surprise that this January, Amazon, one of the world’s most innovative companies, unveiled its own tiny autonomic delivery device, Scout. The size of a small cooler and featuring six wheels, Scout currently delivers Amazon packages to a neighborhood in Washington. Amazon also recently patented a retrieval robot that would remain inside a consumer’s home and autonomously fetch deliveries from a nearby delivery truck.
  • Postmates: Postmates delivers orders from more than 350,000 restaurants, retail shops, grocers, and more, and recently rolled out Serve, arguably the world’s most adorable delivery robot. Serve can carry up to 50 pounds of product and can deliver items within a 30-mile radius, all on a single charge. The cute bot even features dynamic light-up eyes, which communicate when Serve is changing direction or performing specific tasks. Serve will first launch in the Los Angeles area, and is slated to hit other U.S. cities this year.

Benefits of Delivery Robots

  • Fast: In this day and age, there is a true need for speed. More and more of today’s consumers expect deliveries to reach their front door (or office desk) within the same day, or even hour. Traditionally, the last leg of the delivery is incredibly inefficient; as Henry Harris-Burland, an executive at delivery robot company Starship, said: “Think about vans stopping and starting 150 times outside of 150 houses in one neighborhood. It’s an incredibly large waste of time.” Delivery robots help speed up deliveries by increasing efficiency in the last couple of miles from a store to the delivery location – cruising at about 4 miles-per-hour, bots can deliver within 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Space Efficient: Trucks, bicycles, and scooters typically complete the final leg of the delivery process, dangerously crowding city streets. In fact, a Mobility Lab and George Mason University study found that 73% of freight and delivery vehicles in Arlington, VA were parked in unauthorized areas, blocking things like bike lanes, fire hydrants, and crosswalks. By sticking to sidewalks, delivery robots help combat congestion and keep emergency paths clear.
  • Money-Saving: On top of speeding up the store-to-home process, delivery robots can also save companies money – lots of it. According to a 2018 McKinsey & Company report, delivery robots could help reduce last-mile delivery costs by as much as 40%! Although delivery robots can cost a lot to manufacture, in the long run they could save companies billions.

Now on to the fun stuff … let’s see some delivery robots in action:

We’re excited to see what the future has in store for delivery robots!

Infographic: Benefits of EMV Compliance

EMV: we’ve all heard of it, but what exactly does it mean and how does it work? Even more important, what are the benefits of EMV compliance, for both merchants and consumers?

Europay, Mastercard and Visa, or EMV for short, is global standard for payment cards equipped with computer chips and technology that enable a business’s POS system to authenticate a transaction. Thanks to the EMV standardization, chip cards work worldwide at any payment terminal capable of processing chips.

Designed to protect consumers and reduce costly fraudulent purchases, EMV has been in existence since 1994, but didn’t make major waves in the United States until October 2015, when a new set of compliance rules hit the nation. According to the new rules, American businesses that do not process EMV (and still process transactions via magnetic strip) will be held responsible for any fraudulent charges made at their location.

Any way you cut it, EMV compliance is important, but what benefits does it hold? Read on to discover the many ways EMV compliance is helpful to both businesses and consumers.

EMV Credit Card Processing

Benefits of EMV Compliance Guide created by BluePay

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