Chick-fil-A is testing fully automated delivery with a small army of robots in pilot programs across the country.
Robots will offer customers "contactless delivery," inspired by the lockdown and distancing mandates of the pandemic.
"We pick up goods from places like restaurants, pharmacies, and grocery stores and bring them directly to your house, enabling faster, cheaper, and safer delivery to meet customer’s growing expectations," Refraction AI boasts on their website. "Contactless delivery means there is zero physical interaction between our guest and a human being once your food leaves the restaurant - with Refraction AI, your delivery is entirely robotic! That means your order isn’t changing hands any more times than absolutely necessary."
The food will be delivered via a fleet of box-shaped robots on wheels, which will transport the food in a locked compartment. As the robot arrives at the customer's location, a text message will provide a code to unlock the mechanism and retrieve the goods.
"You will receive a series of text messages first confirming your order is coming via robot, then with an estimated arrival time as soon as your order is picked up from the restaurant," Refraction explains. "The last message you receive will provide a code to unlock the robot and retrieve your order."
The robots are able to travel in most weather conditions, and are outfitted with safety features to ensure they do not collide with hazards en route to their destination.
Chick-fil-A previously tested autonomous delivery in California last year.
This is not the first technology innovation Chick-fil-A has collaborated on this year.
In March, Darling Ingredients Inc. announced that it partnered with Chick-fil-A to convert the popular fast-food chain's used cooking oil into "cleaner-burning renewable transportation fuel," a press release said.
DAR PRO Solutions, a brand owned by Darling Ingredients, will collect Chick-fil-A's used cooking oil from locations in the U.S. and Canada, according to the release.
Once the used cooking oil is removed, DAR PRO repurposes it at the brand's nearest "biosecure processing plant."