Delivery giant DoorDash is acquiring Chowbotics with the intention of making its salad-making robot available to restaurants.
The deal was first reported by the Wall Street Journal and confirmed to Restaurant Business by a DoorDash spokesperson. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
DoorDash will offer the robot, called Sally, to merchants as a way to grow revenue. Restaurants could put Sally in an existing location or use it as a stand-alone, branded outpost in a new market.
Sally creates on-demand salads, bowls and more, drawing on an assortment of up to 22 ingredients. The 3-foot-by-3-foot machine is in hundreds of hospitals, college campuses and grocery stores; DoorDash will bring it to restaurants for the first time.
DoorDash said it is still testing the best use cases for the technology and did not yet have details on how agreements with restaurants would work.
“Bringing Chowbotics’ technology into the DoorDash platform gives us a new opportunity to help merchants expand their current menu offerings and reach new customers in new markets—which is a fundamental part of our merchant-first approach to empowering local economies,” said DoorDash Chief Product Officer Stanley Tang in a statement.
The acquisition adds to DoorDash’s core services of logistics and marketing as it competes with third-party rivals for customers. Uber Eats made its own splash last week when it bought alcohol delivery service Drizly, and both companies have been expanding their offerings beyond food to include groceries, convenience items and more.
It is also a major development for food automation, which has seen increased interest during the pandemic for its ability to provide contactless food experiences.
“Joining the DoorDash team unlocks new possibilities for Chowbotics and the technology that this team has built over the past seven years,” said CEO Rick Wilmer in a statement. “As the leader in food delivery and on-demand logistics, DoorDash has the unparalleled reach and expertise to help us grow and deploy our technology more broadly, so together, we can make fresh, nutritious food easy for more people.”