Taking the concept of contactless to a new level, DoorDash is buying a robotics company. The delivery service announced Monday (Feb. 8) that it will acquire Chowbotics, a California-based automated food preparation company. The company was founded in 2014, as a B2B-based food preparation service. Its core product is a robot called Sally, which resembles a salad vending machine that can create customizable salads, bowls, cereals, and snacks.
According to a blog post from DoorDash General Manager Penn Daniel, the robot is used by universities, hospitals and even grocery stores. Chowbotics positions Sally as a proprietary technology the reduces the risk of foodborne illness, which is undoubtedly one of the things that attracted DoorDash.
In the blog post, Daniel said that DoorDash made the acquisition, whose value was unspecified, as a tool that will help its merchants.
“This tool can help merchants expand their current menu offerings as well as reach new customers in new markets without investing in an entirely new store,” Daniel said. “At DoorDash, we strive to become a merchant’s first call when they want to grow their business. The addition of Chowbotics’s capabilities allows us to enhance our broad array of merchant services — which include customer acquisition, on-demand delivery, insights and analytics, and white-label order fulfillment — and in a more cost-effective way.”
The Chowbotics acquisition also gives a glimpse as to how DoorDash plans on driving growth in its publicly-traded future. It started trading in early December. For Chowbotics, the issue of growth is all upside now that it’s part of the DoorDash portfolio.
“Making fresh food more accessible and convenient has always been core to our mission,” wrote CEO Rick Wilmer on the company’s blog. “As a part of DoorDash, this mission is now turbocharged. As the leader in food delivery and on-demand logistics, DoorDash is uniquely positioned to further accelerate Chowbotics’ market presence and new product development. At the same time, Chowbotics’ technology will enable DoorDash merchants to expand their menu offerings to reach new customers or markets without the need to invest in new stores.”