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Robot food delivery may be coming to a campus near you

Key Points
  • Campus food delivery is getting a surprising pick-me-up, thanks to autonomous robots offering food-and-beverage delivery right to the dorm room.
  • The first college to do this is George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
  • It teamed up with Sodexo and Starship Technologies to launch the service in late January.
  • There is a massive opportunity with the rise of on-demand food-delivery businesses nationwide.
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Robots deliver food and drinks to college students

Campus food delivery is getting a surprising pick-me-up, thanks to autonomous robots offering food-and-beverage delivery right to the dorm room.

The first college to do this is George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. It teamed up with Sodexo and Starship Technologies to launch the service in late January. So far, more than 10,000 deliveries have been made by 40 roaming robots from local haunts like Blaze Pizza, Dunkin', Subway and Steak and Shake, and plans are to make this a 24-hour service.

The service also has created 20 jobs on campus for students.

Starship Technologies and Sodexo have teamed up at George Mason University to offer food and beverage delivery via robot on campus.
Kate Rogers | CNBC

For Gen Zers the $1.99 delivery fee seems to be worth it. Victoria Orosa, a student at the university, says she likes the super convenience and the fact that they are cute. "Students like to take videos and pictures with them."

According to Jeffery McKinley, Sodexo's George Mason general manager, the company partnered with Starship and took the initiative because the timing was right. There is a massive opportunity to disrupt the on-demand food-delivery market with robots as the sector booms with companies like Postmates and DoorDash, valued at $1.85 billion and $7.1 billion, respectively.

Sodexo said the early success at GMU led to an expansion to Northern Arizona University, with plans for more to come at other college campuses.