East Carolina University launches a new, high-tech food delivery service

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – ECU’s campus looked a little different to students coming back to class Monday from the weekend. The launch of new and high-tech food robots strolling through campus had everyone guessing what they were all about.

“I just saw a white blob and thought to myself well that’s new, and as I got closer I was like ‘oh it’s the food robots everyone’s been talking about?” said Timothy Burgess-Wise, an ECU student.

You can see them rolling through East Carolina University’s campus and members of the ECU community can now order food through the GrubHub app to have a food robot deliver meals straight to them.

When ordering they can choose from the list labeled ‘Offers Robot Delivery.’

There are currently only a few food chains included like Panda Express, Raising Cane’s, and Steak N’ Shake but ECU Campus Living Associate Vice Chancellor, Peter Groenendyk, says they look forward to adding more.

“They’re innovative. I think they’re going to be a tremendous service to the students. They’re convenient. If you think about a student– they go to class, they work, they’re involved in activities so this allows the food to come right to them when they’re hungry and it’s innovative.

After ordering on the app, users can watch where their order is on an interactive map. When the robot arrives, users will also receive a notification and option to unlock the robot to get their food.

“Maybe later in the day when you’re working through your homework and all your work through the day and you need something but don’t want to walk all the way to the Croatan. I think it’ll be really intuitive and really easy to use. I think it’ll be great and can’t wait to see more of them.”

The main goal is to provide an easy and convenient dining experience for the ECU community.

Groenendyk says, “I think the students will actually grow affinity to them and they’ll become part of the campus community and campus culture but they’re fun and they add value to the experience of those who are dining on campus.”

In addition to GrubHub payments, students can also use their meal plans.

ECU currently has 15 robots but could soon have as many as 40 as time goes on and orders increase.

Robots are kept in a hub on ECU’s campus and are charged and facilitated each night.