Restaurants Start Drone Deliveries

Panera Bread and Sweetgreen partner with Zipline to start delivering meals via drone.
April 22, 2024
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Zipline drone dropping red package with parachute

Next time you order food, it could be delivered to your doorstep by a drone.

Keller Cliffton, the CEO of Zipline, a drone startup, told CNBC that restaurant partnerships are an “obvious” next step for a company that has mainly served local governments with less developed medical systems to distribute vaccines, blood, and life-saving medications to remote health facilities.

How it works: Rather than drop the food from the sky, a small vessel the size of a duffle bag will tether down from the drone. 

Zipline vessel tethering down to drop food bag at front door step of apartment

Zipline has already signed deals to deliver meals by drone for:

  • Panera Bread in Seattle
  • Jet’s Pizza in Detroit
  • Sweetgreen in Los Angeles

The tech is cool, but the business case for delivering food via drones is compelling, too. Relative to traditional delivery apps, Zipline expects its drone delivery service to be 7x as fast, increase the restaurant’s delivery service area by 3x, be less expensive, and produce zero carbon emissions.

Zipline is also experimenting with other retail partnerships, such as delivering vitamins and supplements for GNC in Salt Lake City and health, wellness, and consumable items for Walmart in Arkansas.

Up, up, and drone–away.

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