Kiwibot and Sodexo will bring robot delivery to 3 colleges

Students at Gonzaga, New Mexico State and Loyola Marymount will be able to access robot delivery with their meal plans.
Kiwibot at Gonzaga University
Photograph courtesy of Kiwibot

Robot delivery company Kiwibot is bringing its autonomous rovers to three college campuses this month through a partnership with Sodexo. 

Students at Gonzaga University, New Mexico State University and Loyola Marymount University, California will be able to access Kiwibot delivery through their meal plans using Sodexo's Bite+ ordering app. Each delivery will carry a fee of $2 plus 10% of the order total. 

Eventually, Kiwibot and the giant foodservice provider plan to offer a subscription program in which anyone on a college campus serviced by Sodexo would be able to order "any goods that can fit into a robot" and have it delivered to them. 

College campuses are seen as an ideal environment for robot delivery. They tend to be easier to navigate than urban landscapes bustling with cars, intersections and pedestrians. They also involve deliveries over short distances to places that cars can't always go. Grubhub and Starship Technologies have focused their robotics operations on campuses, and Kiwibot first tested its bots at the University of California-Berkeley, where it completed more than 150,000 deliveries.

"There’s definitely an opportunity to upgrade [college] foodservice, and I think robot delivery could be an option," Kiwibot COO Diego Varela told Restaurant Business in an interview last month.  

Restaurants are trying robot delivery as well. Domino's is testing automated delivery using self-driving vehicles from Nuro, and Chick-fil-A is testing Kiwibots at a few locations in Southern California.

Kiwibot's operations with Sodexo, though limited to college campuses, will not necessarily be restricted to students. Anyone with access to the Bite+ app could use it to have their food delivered by robot, the companies said in a news release. 

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Red Lobster gives private equity another black eye

The Bottom Line: The role a giant sale-leaseback had in the bankruptcy filing of the seafood chain has drawn more criticism of the investment firms' financial engineering. The criticism is well-earned.


Beverage chains are taking off as consumers shift their drink preferences

The Bottom Line: Some of the fastest-growing chains in the U.S. push drinks, even as sales at traditional concepts lag in growing delivery and takeout business. How can traditional restaurants get in on the action?


Brands need to think creatively as the industry heads into a value war

The Bottom Line: Giving customers meal options they can afford will be key to generating traffic this year. But make sure those offers can generate a profit.


More from our partners