Are you missing your self-serve salad bar because of the pandemic? Maybe technology can get you the salad of your dreams.
Chowbotics has created a self-serve salad robot called Sally The Salad Robot. Sally can be filled with 22 canisters of various items, with over 150 ingredients that are approved for the containers. Through a touch screen, the user can combine these 22 ingredients into a variety of feature salads, grain bowls, yogurt bowls, and snacks. Over 1,000 possible bowls can be made by combining these 22 items in different ways with Sally. You can select a predetermined recipe, or combine the items to make your own unique creation.
Sally the Salad Robot has an expanded appeal with the presence of Covid-19. Many locations have eliminated their self-serve salad bars for safety reasons. But, the demand for customized salad remains. As a result, Sally the Salad Robot is very attractive for several industries, including the food department in supermarkets like ShopRite, in hospitals, and in higher education.
Video Spotlight: The Salad Station’s rapid brand expansion through the 24/7 salad robot. (Nov 27, 2019, chowbotics)
This post is based on the Produce News article, Shoprite Introduces Sally, The Salad Bar Reinvented, by The Produce News, July 24, 2020; the Chowbotics website; and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Sam Camp/iStockphoto/Getty Images
1. How could Sally The Salad Robot be made safer during the Covid-19 pandemic?
Guidance: Obviously, the touch screen needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. ShopRite is offering gloves for user to protect them when using the touch screen. However, the touch screen use could be eliminated if people order through an app that connects to Sally the Salad Robot.
2. What advantage does Sally The Salad Robot have in replacing the self-serve salad bar?
Guidance: Many of the alternatives to the self-serve salad bar are problematic. One approach would be to have a full-service salad bar, where the salad is made for you by workers. Obviously, this increases costs to operate with added workers. Another approach would be to have pre-made salads. This improves efficiencies in producing salads, but removes customization. Sally gives customers the customization they want without having to add workers.
Sally also has an electronic interface that tracks when the containers where last filled and the amount remaining in them. This helps keep Sally up and running with fresh product.
3. What operations management issues does Sally the Salad Robot present?
Guidance: One issue involves inventory management. The containers of food must be kept full of fresh food. Sally helps by electronically tracking the content of the containers.
Another issue is analyzing capacity. The amount of peak demand determines how many units of Sally The Salad Robot will be needed. If peak demand is too high, one robot will not be able to meet demand and wait times will become too long. At that point additional units will be needed to satisfy demand.
Where to locate Sally is another issue. Fortunately, Sally is relatively small at 3’ x 3’, and because the robot is on wheels, it can be moved around.