News Briefs


Panera Bread Brewing Fresh Coffee With AI-Powered Metrics

Starbucks store

Panera Bread is looking to change the coffee game by diving deeper into analytics, leveraging CookRight Coffee — powered by Miso Robotics — to monitor coffee metrics such as volume, temperature, and time data. 

Panera is one of the first brands to leverage the technology, and can combine its coffee data with predictive analytics to create the “perfect cup of coffee,” along with a more efficient experience for staff. 

The system is designed to improve the coffee monitoring process and eliminate the need to manually check coffee urns, keeping coffee hot and fresh and alerting Panera associates when it’s time to brew a new batch. 

The technology will help support Panera’s unlimited coffee subscription, the Unlimited Sip Club, which launched in 2020 and allows subscribers to drink unlimited tea and coffee for $8.99/month. 

“Panera has a long history of tech innovation in service of meeting the needs of our guests and associates when they walk through our doors each day,” said George Hanson, SVP and chief digital officer of Panera. “CookRight Coffee is a game changer when it comes to convenience and operational efficiency, and we are extremely excited to take our coffee station into the future with Miso Robotics.”

Mike Bell, CEO of Miso Robotics, said it shares Panera’s vision to revamp the coffee monitoring process and is looking to meet the needs of the rapidly evolving restaurant industry.  


Snowflake Expands AWS Relationship with Demand Forecasting Improvements

Amazon Web Services logo

Data cloud company Snowflake is expanding its relationship with Amazon Web Services (AWS), to improve demand forecasting and delivery for the retail and CPG industries. 

Customers will now be able to natively access Amazon purchase order (PO) data and Amazon Forecast generated insights from Snowflake’s Retail Data Cloud to better identify variances in product demand and plan for manufacturing and delivery lead times. 

Through this technology, users can leverage brand-level and fulfillment center-level forecasts, and access new data from third-party data providers within the Retail Data Cloud, from Snowflake’s single, integrated platform. 

[Read more: Five Innovations to Improve CPG & Retailer Collaboration in 2022]

Capabilities include the following:

  • Import Amazon PO data into Snowflake to better access, govern, and share data seamlessly across the organization.
  • Improve forecast accuracy using machine learning models from Amazon Forecast to create accurate time-series forecasts to predict demand for variable vendor purchase orders weeks ahead of time.
  • Track product weight or dimension changes to ensure they adhere to manufacturer standards.
  • Improve on-time in-full (OTIF) metrics to enhance organic ranking on, reduce chargeback expenses, and help ensure products are in-stock for consumers to buy.
  • Match correct probabilistic forecasts with SKU sales velocity to help ensure key products will stay in stock and improve revenue.

Rosemary Hua, global head of retail and CPG at Snowflake, said that today’s retail and CPG companies are looking for accurate, efficient, and timely tech solutions that positively impact their bottom lines.

“ has revolutionized how retail and CPG businesses sell and deliver to consumers and, similarly, Snowflake has had a profound impact on empowering businesses to optimize their operations and seamlessly collaborate on data,” she added. “Together, Snowflake and AWS can streamline data-driven inventory management for items sold on Amazon.

This article was first published on the site of sister publication, CGT. 


Kroger Co Reimagining Shopping Experience with AI Applications

Kroger's store front

Nationwide grocer Kroger Co,. is looking to build out its shopping experience, leveraging AI in order to improve shipping logistics and expand freshness capabilities. 

In order to do so, the company has tapped NVIDIA, which will utilize digital twin simulations — virtual models that reflect store layouts and other operations — to build an AI lab and demonstration center at Kroger’s Cincinnati-based headquarters.

[Read more: Walmart, Kroger Choose Locations for New Fulfillment Facilities in 2022]

Kroger will be using several platforms — including NVIDIA DGX™ A100 systems, NVIDIA InfiniBand networking, and NVIDIA RTX™ workstations — in order to gain insights across the company’s 2,800 stores. 

Through this tech, Kroger can identify early indicators of deteriorating freshness using computer vision and analytics, leverage dynamic routing for last-mile delivery to bolster freshness efforts, and optimize store efficiency and processes with digital twin store simulation.

“Our collaboration with NVIDIA supports Kroger’s ‘Fresh for Everyone’ commitment,” said Wesley Rhodes, vice president of technology transformation and research and development at Kroger. “We look forward to learning more about how AI and data analytics will further our journey to provide our customers with anything, anytime, anywhere.”

Azita Martin, vice president and general manager of Retail at NVIDIA, said that by leveraging AI, shoppers gain a more personalized experience, both in physical stores and online. 

Several grocery brands have jumped on digital and sustainability initiatives in order to improve freshness and fortify the consumer experience. According to RIS News, more than half (54%) of grocers are increasing their YoY tech spend, focusing on advancing digital and mobile capabilities, analytics-driven decision making, personalized marketing, and click-and-connect.

[Related: Grocery Tech Trends Study 2021]

Walmart, for example, is investing in vertical farming, looking for new ways to deliver quality and freshness while reinforcing earth-friendly strategies. Last September, Albertson’s launched shoppable video experiences that allows consumers to engage with retailers in a short-form video ecosystem. 

A few years ago, Kroger announced it would be more strategic with its spending, cutting on some areas while continuing to focus on digitizing the shopping experience


Chipotle Tests Autonomous AI Kitchen Assistant


Chipotle Mexican Grill will soon employ an autonomous kitchen assistant with artificial intelligence to make tortilla chips.

"We are always exploring opportunities to enhance our employee and guest experience. Our goal is to drive efficiencies through collaborative robotics that will enable Chipotle's crew members to focus on other tasks in the restaurant," said Curt Garner, chief technology officer, Chipotle.

Chipotle's culinary and technology teams called on MISO ROBOTICS to customize its latest robotic solution, named Chippy, to cook and freshly season Chipotle's tortilla chips.Chipotle's culinary team guided Miso in tailoring its technology to maintain the culinary integrity of the brand.

Leveraging artificial intelligence, Chippy is trained to replicate Chipotle's exact recipe – using corn masa flour, water and sunflower oil – to cook chips to perfection, season with a dusting of salt, and finish with a hint of fresh lime juice.  It was imperative that the technique remained the same.

"Everyone loves finding a chip with a little more salt or an extra hint of lime," said Nevielle Panthaky, VP of Culinary, Chipotle. "To ensure we didn't lose the humanity behind our culinary experience, we trained Chippy extensively to ensure the output mirrored our current product, delivering some subtle variations in flavor that our guests expect."

Chippy is currently being tested at the Chipotle Cultivate Center, Chipotle's innovation hub in Irvine, CA, and will be integrated into a Chipotle restaurant in Southern California later this year. The company is leveraging its stage-gate process to listen, test and learn from crew and guest feedback before deciding on a national implementation strategy.

"When Chipotle challenged us to see if our technology could meet the brand's high standards for culinary quality, we couldn't wait to flex our engineering and design muscles," said Mike Bell, CEO, Miso Robotics. "This partnership will allow us to move into new territory to help improve back-of-house functions and assist team members with their day-to-day responsibilities."  

An innovator in restaurant technology, Chipotle continues to invest in emerging solutions to support its growing digital business and reduce friction in its restaurants. The company believes technology deployed consistently and correctly can improve the human experience. Chipotle already leverages artificial intelligence with its concierge chat bot, Pepper. Pepper ensures guests have an exceptional experience on the Chipotle app and Chipotle customers can select from frequently asked questions or ask their own questions to get a response quickly. Chippy joins Pepper in Chipotle's artificial intelligence suite to improve Chipotle's overall guest and employee experience.