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Wendy-s-Pipedream-Portal-Pilot-Delivery.jpg The Wendy's Co.
Rendering shows how the Wendy's-Pipedream Instant Pickup portals could be designated at parking spaces.

Wendy’s to test mobile-order underground pickup option with Pipedream

Robot system planned to deliver food from restaurant kitchen to designated parking spots

The Wendy's Co. has partnered with Pipedream Labs to pilot an underground autonomous robot system with the goal of delivering digital food orders to designated parking spots in seconds, the company said Wednesday.

The Dublin, Ohio-based burger brand said the Austin, Texas-based Pipedream would deploy its “Instant Pickup” technology at an as-yet-undetermined East Coast company-owned unit to provide fast delivery of digital orders.

“Wendy’s is still finalizing the site location to launch the technology integration after evaluating company-operated restaurants along the East Coast with high digital order volume,” a company spokesperson said.

“We know that serving orders quickly and accurately leads to increased customer satisfaction,” said Deepak Ajmani, Wendy’s U.S. chief operations officer, in a statement. “Pipedream's Instant Pickup system has the potential to unlock greater mobile-order speed of service and accuracy, enabling us to consistently deliver hot and fresh Wendy's products to our fans."

Pipedream's technology is designed to make digital order pick-up fast, reliable and convenient, Wendy’s said.

“By connecting the Wendy's kitchen to an Instant Pickup portal positioned outside the restaurant, this first-of-its-kind delivery system is designed to provide digital customers with a fast and convenient pick-up option without having to leave their car and increase efficiencies for restaurant crew members by streamlining digital order pick-up points,” the company said in a press release.

The technology uses autonomous robots to transport meals underground and deliver at the car-side Instant Pickup portals, the company said.

The first Instant Pickup will be deployed later this year, the company said.

"At Wendy's, we are consistently innovating to meet our customers however they choose to engage with us," said Matt Spessard, Wendy’s senior vice president and global chief technology officer.

“As mobile ordering preferences increase, we're thrilled to be the first quick-service restaurant to partner with Pipedream, leveraging their unique delivery technology and system with the goal of reinventing digital pick-ups to bring more Wendy's to more people as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Spessard said.

Earlier this month, Wendy’s announced it had teamed with Google Cloud to test artificial intelligence technology, also called a chatbot, at select company-operated drive-thrus in the Columbus, Ohio, area in June.

“We're proud to partner with an iconic, innovative brand like Wendy's to bring the future of mobile-order pick-up to the quick service industry,” said Garrett McCurrach, Pipedream’s CEO. "By solving order handoff, the final leg of the digital experience, our Instant Pickup technology allows Wendy's restaurant team members to focus on what matters: serving delicious, high-quality food and connecting with customers in this digital-first world."

Pipedream Labs, founded in 2021, said it works with restaurants, retail stores, warehouses, homes and offices to move food, packages and groceries underground to above-ground “portals.”

Wendy's, founded in 1969, has about 7,000 restaurants worldwide.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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