Your Sweetgreen Salads May Soon Be Delivered By Flying Robots

Sweetgreen's fast casual salad concept has proven enormously popular. Only 16 years after the first restaurant premiered in Washington D.C. — the company was created by three students at Georgetown University – Sweetgreen has become a nationwide chain, and a growing one at that. In fact, according to QSR, the restaurant chain, who reached 150 locations in 2021, announced in 2022 that it had set its sights on reaching 1,000 by 2030.

That's not the only ambitious goal Sweetgreen has set itself, however. Sweetgreen's mission, according to its website, is not only to provide healthy and affordable food, but to be more sustainable as well. In 2021, when the chain was rapidly expanding, it embarked on a six-year quest to achieve carbon neutrality. It's still on track to meet that goal by 2027, and has taken a big step forward thanks to new technology.

This week, Zipline announced in a press release that it was collaborating with Sweetgreen and healthcare companies on a new delivery method that will bring food and prescription medicines to people's homes in a faster and more convenient fashion — and in a more sustainable manner.

A sustainable delivery service

Despite its name, Zipline has nothing to do with the adventurous activity associated with vacation getaways. Instead of suspended lines and pulleys, Zipline uses drone aircraft and droids. Its newest model, the P2, is the one that will be used to make food deliveries in collaboration with Sweetgreen, and medical deliveries for several healthcare companies, the company announced via press release. The government of African nation Rwanda will also make use of the new technology, which is seven times faster and 97% less energy intensive than car, van, or truck-based delivery services.

Before P2 delivery service begins, however, Zipline will first have to put the new technology through rigorous testing, including up to 10,000 test flights involving 100 drones. Once testing is completed this year, the P2 will begin service with the most extensive range of any commercial drone. It can travel silently 10 miles and back from its docking station, or up to 24 miles in a straight line. Not only will customers be able to time their orders to arrive whenever they want, but the safety of orders is ensured by droids, which descend via tethers from the drones (maximum altitude 300 feet) to effect delivery.

Sweetgreen CEO Jonathan Newman expressed excitement about the new delivery technology, which "will help us give our customers what they want, when they want it." It also helps the company reduce its carbon footprint.