FOOD SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Australia

Weekly Global News Wrap: Ikea to launch fast food of the future concept; McDonald's Experience of the Future strains employees; Little Caesars unveils new pizza robot

Here is a summary of the most interesting QSR news stories of the week from around the world.

With changing consumer tastes for healthier options and new technologies that streamline ordering and delivery, quick-serve restaurants are ramping up their digital game to compete with the slew of fast-casual eateries like Shake Shack, Chipotle and Whataburger. Read more from Adweek.

Dunkin' Donuts US has announced that On-the-Go Mobile Ordering is now available through the Google Assistant, on iPhones, and Android phones. Through this new integration, DD Perks Rewards members can use the Google Assistant, Google's voice assistant technology, on their iPhones and Android phones to place a mobile order for Dunkin' Donuts coffee, beverages, baked goods and breakfast sandwiches, and then speed past the line in store for pick-up. The new integration is powered by Conversable, a leading AI-powered conversational intelligence platform. Read more here.

Starbucks Coffee Company opened the doors to its Visitor Center at Hacienda Alsacia, located on the company’s 600-acre coffee farm on the slopes of the Poas volcano in Costa Rica. Hacienda Alsacia is a working farm that has served as a global research and development facility for Starbucks since 2013. Now open to the public, visitors will have the chance to experience coffee from seed to cup and see firsthand the agronomy work the company has been supporting and investing in for more than two decades. Read more here.

McDonald’s Corp. has been updating with new technology, delivery, a revamped menu and curbside pickup. But the chain’s “Experience of the Future” effort could backfire. Bloomberg reported that employees are handling more tasks, in many cases, they say, without pay raises or adequate staffing. 

Little Caesars was issued a patent for a robot designed to help assemble pizzas. According to The Next Web, the patent shows a device shaped like a stove top, with stations for different pizza-making tasks. The robot picks up a pan with pizza dough, squishes it, and then distributes sauce, cheese, and pepperoni in the proper proportions. 

Ikea's ‘secret innovation’ lab Space10 says it’s developing the ‘fast food of the future’. Metro reported that the brand has announced to create an algae-based hot dog and mealworm burgers with the new fast food concept. Read more here.

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