Robot Shuttles Now Deliver Grubhub Orders on College Campuses

The majority of students say the service is ‘helpful and convenient.’

October 12, 2022

CHICAGO and SAN FRANCISCO—Grubhub is now offering orders delivered via a robot on college campuses across the U.S. The food-delivery company is partnering with Starship Technologies, an autonomous delivery service, to provide the robot deliveries.

The service is available at the University of Kentucky, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), Wayne State University, Southern Methodist University and Fairfield University. Grubhub says the robot deliveries will be available at multiple other college campuses later this year.

More than 170,000 students will have access to robot deliveries across these campuses, says Grubhub. Starship’s robots offer deliver at over 25 schools across the U.S. through its global fleet of over 2,000 robots. This partnership grows Grubhub’s delivery options on college campuses, providing additional avenues for students to get their favorite meals delivered, according to the company.

“Robot delivery solves the unique challenges of accessing hard-to-reach areas that come from operating on a college campus,” said Adam Herbert, senior director of campus partnerships at Grubhub. “With Starship’s robots, students can enjoy a fun, new way to order their favorite meals right to their door—whether that be the library, their dorm, academic hall or another campus building. Offering this type of delivery further improves the Grubhub dining experience as we continue to provide innovative solutions for students and our campus partners.”

“We’re excited to partner with Grubhub on such a diverse and exciting roster of schools as we’ve worked hard to become a trusted and integrated partner on our campus communities,” said Alastair Westgarth, CEO of Starship Technologies. “Over 90% of students say that Starship robots are helpful and convenient, so we are looking forward to bringing our service to more students across the country.”

Grubhub partners with more than 250 college campuses across the United States to give students the ability to integrate meal plans directly into their Grubhub account and access restaurants both on- and off-campus for delivery and pickup.

Starship’s zero-emission robots make more than 140,000 road crossings daily and have made a total of more than 3.5 million autonomous deliveries and traveled millions of miles. The robots can travel up to 4 mph, carry the equivalent of three bags of groceries and operate in various weather conditions, including rain and snow. Delivery by Starship integrates into retailers’ existing platforms to make food delivery more sustainable and efficient.

Automation is becoming a way for businesses to navigate the labor shortage and increase production. Last month, Love’s Travel Stops opened its first Jamba by Blendid autonomous robotic kiosk at its Williams, California, store. The self-operating kiosk allows customers to customize their smoothie orders by adjusting ingredient quantities or adding boosts directly through the Blendid app. They can order on-site or schedule a preferred pickup time in advance via the mobile app.

Miso Robotics’ Flippy 2 robot is automating the process of deep-frying potatoes, onion rings and other foods, which can reduce the amount of employees needed in the kitchen and speed up drive-thru times for fast-food restaurants.

Earlier this year, Panera Bread tested an automated coffee machine by Miso Robotics in two locations. The coffee system uses artificial intelligence to monitor coffee volume and temperature, and it also houses data, so Panera can analyze what kind of coffee its customers enjoy and when.

For more on companies delivering last-mile deliver solutions, read “Robots Deliver” in NACS Magazine. NACS also explored AI and machine learnings applications for the c-store industry, especially in foodservice, in “Welcome to an Intelligent 2022” in the January 2022 issue.