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Safer, No-Contact Food Delivery Solution Arrives in Response to COVID-19

National  + Weekender  | 

By Dennis Kaiser

Seattle, WA-based Minnow says its IoT-enabled food delivery and pickup stations, called Pickup Pods, can provide residential buildings, workplaces, and other businesses with a safer, no-contact way to manage food deliveries and pickups in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The venture-backed IoT startup conceived the system as a delivery and retrieval option at properties, much like the package lockers that have emerged over the past couple of years.

Food deliveries to residential buildings and workplaces are increasing now that restaurants are only offering delivery or takeout, and as people avoid unnecessary contact through ‘social distancing.’ Delivery services are responding by offering no-contact delivery, in which the delivery worker leaves the food on the consumer’s doorstep. That approach isn’t well suited to residential buildings and workplaces, where leaving unattended food in lobbies puts a burden on office and property managers that could become unmanageable as the volume and frequency of food deliveries increase.

Minnow has been field-testing its Pickup Pods in Portland, OR since May 2019. More than 4,000 orders have been delivered to and picked up from Minnow Pods located in office buildings in Portland. “Our technology has been tested and proven in a real-world environment,” said Steven Sperry, CEO of Minnow.

The company is also adapting its Pods to sterilize food containers and cubby interiors using its patent-pending UV light technology, which at the proper frequency and intensity is proven to kill bacteria and viruses. UV light is currently used in many food-related applications and is considered safe for food use.

A Minnow Pickup Pod takes up less than three square feet of floor space and can be installed anywhere. It requires only a standard 120V electrical outlet and can operate on either a WiFi or cellular network. Each Pod consists of cubbies that are individually insulated to keep food fresher longer and secure to prevent theft and tampering. Since Pods require no integration with food delivery apps, tenant experience platforms, or restaurant point-of-sale systems, any food delivery service or restaurant can deliver to a Minnow Pod.

Minnow’s Pickup Pods can be used in office buildings, co-working spaces, hospitals, schools, colleges, corporate campuses, residential buildings, assisted living communities and other locations where food is delivered.

When food is delivered to a Minnow Pod, the consumer will receive a notification and can pick up the food at their convenience. Until then, it will be kept in a secure, insulated cubby. To pick up their food, a consumer simply uses their smartphone to tap a hyperlink embedded in a text message; Minnow Pods have no touch screens or keypads that can spread virus particles. The cubby doors open automatically.

“The coronavirus global pandemic is changing daily life around the world,” added Sperry. “We’ll be dealing with this for some time to come. Minnow’s solution can help employers and property managers keep their employees and tenants safer by avoiding unnecessary contact during food deliveries. Minnow’s Pickup Pods can also help keep restaurant and food delivery workers safer by enabling them to deliver food securely and without being exposed to a consumer who may be ill.”

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For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Kaiser


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About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.