How technology can help improve hospital food service

In this special edition of the 5 Things series, Food Management highlights five recent technology-related developments impacting the foodservice space.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. Forbes Reviews Tech Solutions for Hospital Food Service

Providing a better cafeteria experience for patients and their families could be a differentiating factor for the hospital in an area where public perception often points to a lack of quality and service. With that in mind, this Forbes article looks at how investing in IoT-enabled connected cafeterias—equipped with continuous asset monitoring, automated guidance of food processes, and the ability to automate the operation of kitchen appliances—would be great for hospitals. What it looks like to demonstrate that they are creating a better experience and increasing patient satisfaction.

read more: How Technology Can Help Improve Hospital Food Services

  1. Partnership brings zero-waste takeaways to campus

Food ordering/delivery service Grubhub announced a partnership with reusable packaging management platform to provide integrated zero-waste food delivery on college campuses through’s ReusePass program. Through this arrangement, diners who place takeout orders from on-campus dining locations through the Grubhub app will be able to choose to have their meals packaged in reusable containers using’s tracking technology, which allows them to keep track of what they have. container and when it needs to be returned. The program is currently offered at Ohio State University and CSU, with plans to expand to additional campuses throughout the year.

read more: Grubhub and bring zero-waste food delivery to college campuses

  1. Penn State launches mobile student ID

Penn State students can now use their iPhone, Apple Watch or Android to enter residence halls and public buildings, use LionCash, access their meal plans, shop at vending machines and pay for laundry with the new Mobile ID feature. “The University is one step closer to a seamless student experience,” said David Snyder, assistant vice president for Auxiliary and Business Services. “Students can now use their mobile id+ cards to access resources and complete transactions with just a tap of their device, giving our students the freedom and convenience of a digital campus.”

read more: Penn State launches student mobile ID

  1. Robotic pizza solution designed for tight spaces

Artificial intelligence technology company Nala Robotics, high-speed oven maker Ovention Inc. and food service equipment supplier Hatco Corp. have announced the development of a compact, fully autonomous robotic pizza-making system for convenience stores, fast food restaurants, ghost kitchens and other commercial environments. Scheduled to be showcased at this year’s NAFEM show in Orlando, the joint solution will have a 10′ x 10′ footprint and can be configured to include a variety of doughs, sauces and toppings. An AI-based robotic arm selects and presses the dough, adds sauce, cheese and toppings, and cooks the pizza in an Ovention oven. The pizzas are then sliced, boxed and stored in Hatco’s pizza locker system.

read more: Nala Robotics, Ovention and Hatco Corporation Introduce Robotic Pizza Solution

  1. High-tech micro-farm sprouts in UNL dining hall

To help improve sustainability, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) last fall began growing some of its own produce on a microfarm in one of its dining halls. The farm grows organic lettuce, basil, pea shoots and other vegetables in various stages of growth. Farmers grow and harvest produce when it’s ready, before the final product hits students’ plates.

read more: UNL starts growing produce to reduce food waste in cafeterias

bonus: Nominations now open for Food Management Best Concept 2023

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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