UW-Eau Claire gets food-delivering robots on campus

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 6:32 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - At the start of the fall semester, UW-Eau Claire will have food-delivering robots, or Kiwibots, on campus.

15 Kiwibots will be joining the UW-Eau Claire campus. The bots will deliver food, drinks and snacks to students.

“So, the students actually upload or download the Everyday app onto their phone,” Kristin Schumacher, UW-Eau Claire Director of University Centers said. “The menu pops up for the. They order what’s on the menu and then they pick a delivery location. Then, the food is prepared, put inside the robots and the robots are programmed to know where the students are with different drop spots.”

Then, the Kiwibots are off, heading to a drop-off location on campus to bring orders to students.

“It’s really important for us to be able to meet the students where they’re at, and so delivering food through robots is kind of a cool thing,” Schumacher said.

Sodexo is the food service vendor at UW-Eau Claire and is providing the robots to the university through a contract with Kiwibot. Schumacher said this can help with staffing in the dining halls, and potentially limit the burden of any staff shortages that may arise.

“The food industry has suffered with labor for sure, since COVID. It also helps us in our recruitment efforts to bring students to campus,” Schumacher said. “So, being able to have food delivered to students, of course, cuts that labor piece out of it. So, yet, it could help with staffing. It could help with labor hours.”

But Schumacher said it could also benefit the university in other ways, like through admissions.

“It also helps us in our recruitment efforts to bring students to campus,” Schumacher said. “We’ve got a lot of tours that come through campus who are sophomores, juniors, seniors and if they see something like this, they understand that we’re also technologically advanced on this campus.”

At the start of the school year, the Kiwibots will be available for delivery only on campus. There are hopes to possibly expand the delivery sites to off-campus in the future.

Students can start ordering and using the Kiwibots on September 6.