Schnuck Markets Inc. hopes a new smart salad bar will give its bottom line a little more profit crunch.
The grocery retailer is partnering up with Picadeli to offer an AI-powered smart salad bar at 22 locations in Missouri and Illinois. Some Schnuck’s Eatwell Market banner locations also will have the fresh-first technology.
The smart salad bar will allow for full traceability of supply chain and operations, and QR codes will be used to make sure products do not stay out longer than allowed. The codes will help the AI system refill and reorder when needed. The salad bars will learn from its customers in each location, so if more shoppers are going for ranch dressing in one location the system will order and offer more ranch dressing options. Due to this AI feature the salad bar at each location will be customized according to usage. The design also is comprised of hygiene-first materials, technology-enabled hoods, automatic hand sanitizer and bowl dispensers and a mounting system for utensils to make sure handles are never in contact with food and products are not mixed.
“Schnucks is a digital leader in the grocery space and their deep understanding of the intersection of technology, operational excellence, and high quality food makes them an ideal partner for Picadeli,” said Patrik Hellstrand, CEO of Picadeli U.S. “Retailers today are faced with the unique challenge of both a tight labor market and the demand by consumers for a memorable in-store experience that drives traffic away from delivery apps and into the store.”
The smart salad bar is just another example of the AI boom in the grocery marketplace. Last week, Gatik, which is involved in autonomous middle-mile logistics, announced a multi-year commercial collaboration to transport customer orders within Kroger’s Dallas distribution network. The operations will launch in a few weeks.
Under the collaboration, Gatik’s medium-duty autonomous box trucks will transport fresh, customer-favorite products from a Kroger Customer Fulfillment Center (CFC) in Dallas, Texas, to multiple retail locations. Gatik’s autonomous trucks each feature a cold chain-capable 20-foot box designed to transport ambient, refrigerated and frozen goods quickly, safely and efficiently.
The collaboration involves consistent, repeated delivery runs multiple times per day, seven days per week across Kroger’s Dallas distribution network. Gatik said there are advantages of autonomous delivery: Increased speed and responsiveness when fulfilling e-commerce orders, reduced costs and dedicated capacity across the supply chain’s middle mile.