By Andy Milligan and Pulse Staff
If you haven’t already seen, there’s been a robot invasion on the University of Findlay campus. And the intruders are yielding Chinese food and Jazzman’s coffee.
UF and corporate catering partner Sodexo introduced Kiwibot food delivery service to deliver food to students and faculty on campus. You’ve probably seen them scooting around, smiling and winking at you through their digital faces, roaming around to make sure food gets delivered.
After two weeks of classes the reviews are trickling in for the Kiwibots. Feedback from the students and faculty has been somewhat mixed so far; with minor technical errors and confusion on how to use the app, linking subscriptions to students, and pricing. Students can be charged individual fees for each delivery or pay for a subscription plan.
Through downloading the Everyday App, students can place orders to hotspots around Findlay and choose one of the 32 delivery sites on campus to meet their Kiwibot. The robots are available to everyone (after a delivery charge and fee, depending on the size of the order) and dining services offers subscription plans to help students save money.
Per semester a silver subscription includes 15 deliveries for $40, gold includes 45 deliveries for $109, and platinum offers 70 delivers for $159.
Eventually, all 15 robots will be up and running according to Sodexo Marketing Coordinator for Dining Services at UF Riley McKinniss. She says there will also be interesting additions over time such as delivery prizes, expanded menus, and access to Henderson Dining Hall straight from the app.
But as with any novel technology, there have been some glitches. General Manager for Sodexo at The University of Findlay David Harr believes students and staff will become more adapted to using the tech.
“A lot of our issues so far have been knowledge-based. Students have lots of questions, such as ‘How do I access my subscription plan?’ ‘How do I get my ID card tied to the app?’,” Harr said. “There was some hiccups, and I’m sure we will still find some more but we are one of the first to be doing this. All things considered, I think it has gone quite smoothly.”
“I would encourage anyone with any technical issues the first few weeks to not let that deter them from using it in the future,” McKinnis said. “We are always working on things behind the scenes, and we have uploaded tutorials to help students.”
Tutorials specific to UF campus can be accessed under the “Kiwibot” highlight on the @oilereats Instagram. Students can also reach out to dining services with specific questions.
Harr thinks students will find using the delivery service is a worthwhile investment.
“Pricing-wise, it’s cheaper than competitors like UberEATS and Doordash, and it’s less expensive than having pizza delivered,” Harr said.
McKinniss would like to see students give the service a trial run.
“One of the reasons we offer subscription plans is to get everyone to try it out. Hopefully people migrate towards plans to save them money. Also- people on meal plans 1-5 are given five free deliveries through the University,” McKinniss said.
There are two full time maintenance Kiwibot employees on campus to troubleshoot any issues with the robots. They say so far, they have had a few minor fixes of the motor and GPS but says its very basic stuff they’re working on. They can be found in the Kiwibot Office Space in the AMU.
McKinnis says if there are any issues with a delivery, students can reach out via the Everyday Live Chat and a representative will get back with them quickly. If the matter is urgent, they are welcome to visit the Main Dining Office, call 419-434-4542, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“In most cases, a support analyst will respond to chat almost instantaneously as our management team here at UF is alerted when a chat goes unanswered,” McKinnis said. “This is where we direct students for issues regarding both Everyday and Kiwibot.