Tampa Bay Area Chick-fil-A Takes to the Skies with Drone Delivery
Chick-fil-A is expanding its drone delivery trial by introducing aerial food drops in Florida. The chain, known for its busy drive-thru lines, initiated drone delivery testing at a Brandon, Florida location, according to updates on the restaurant’s social media profiles.
In Florida, customers within the designated drone delivery zone (within a 1.2-mile radius.) for the restaurant can place orders via the Chick-fil-A app for drone delivery. The food is packaged in a cardboard box and gently lowered into customers’ backyards, with the drone maintaining a hovering position without landing. The delivery process involves using a wire to lower the food to the ground. The social media post indicates that the drone delivery fee is currently waived for a limited period.
Behind-the-scenes of drone delivery.
A video shared on Instagram offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse, revealing that Chick-fil-A is collaborating with DroneUp, a drone company based in Virginia Beach. According to TampaBay.com, the company introduced a drone delivery service in collaboration with a Walmart store in Tampa almost a year ago.
Although drone delivery is still in the experimental phase in the United States, it is gaining traction among major retailers and restaurant chains. Business Insider reported that Flytrex, an ultrafast drone delivery service from Tel Aviv, has partnered with Chick-fil-A restaurants in Texas and North Carolina since September 2022.
Flytrex also provides drone services for various other businesses, including Walmart, Raising Cane’s, Papa John’s, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Unilever’s The Ice Cream Shop, Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, Little Caesars, Starbucks, and Chili’s. Additionally, Amazon is conducting drone delivery trials in California and Texas.
Despite the promising advancements, MIT Technology Review highlighted some challenges associated with drone delivery. They noted that drones often deliver to designated pickup locations rather than directly to doorsteps. Additionally, drones face a higher risk of becoming stuck or trapped in challenging locations compared to human delivery. This potentially poses a greater risk of injury during the delivery process. Concerns about maintaining food quality, particularly in terms of freshness and temperature, have also been raised.