Your Chick-Fil-A Order May Soon Be Delivered By A Robot

If you live in Texas, your next Chick-fil-A order might be delivered to you by unusual means — via a self-driving robot. According to a recent press release, the chain is implementing a delivery program that utilizes robots in two of its Austin, Texas locations.

The move comes at a time when restaurants, and particularly fast-food chains, are increasingly incorporating automated and AI-driven labor into their workforces. According to the Associated Press, the shift towards automated food delivery has coincided with pandemic-related labor shortages, as well as a growing desire among consumers to have their food delivered to them contact-free.

According to their press release, Chick-fil-A is launching its robot delivery fleet in partnership with Refraction AI — an Austin-based tech company that specializes in last-mile delivery via autonomous robots. Per QSR magazine, Chick-fil-A customers will receive a text upon ordering, confirming that it will be delivered by a Refraction robot. Once the robot leaves the restaurant with the order, customers will be given its estimated arrival time. Upon its arrival, customers will use a code — also sent via text — to unlock the robot and retrieve their food.

What are the benefits of Chick-fil-A's robot delivery?

According to the press release, Refraction AI's robots travel either in bike lanes or on the sides of the road, meaning these robots can steer clear of sidewalk traffic. By doing this the company says the robots can avoid regulations around their speed and how far they travel while also being smaller and cheaper than full-sized cars. In addition to being more cost-effective, Chik-fil-A says the delivery robots are more environmentally-friendly than conventional delivery. According to the company's press release, Refraction robot deliveries are associated with 90% lower carbon emissions and 80% lower energy consumption when compared to traditional delivery methods.

"Autonomous delivery using Refraction's robots creates an exciting new opportunity to extend the Chick-fil-A experience to a growing number of delivery guests," said Luke Steigmeyer, an operator of one of the two Chick-fil-A locations implementing the robot delivery program, per the press release. "The platform will allow us to provide fast, high quality, and cost-effective meal delivery within a mile radius of our restaurant all while helping to keep the community we serve environmentally clean and safe."