DoorDash is buying automated food prep company Chowbotics to expand its fresh meal offerings.
San Francisco-based DoorDash announced the acquisition Monday. Terms of the deal, which closed late last year, weren't disclosed.
Hayward, California-based Chowbotics, which was founded seven years ago, makes a refrigerator-sized robot called Sally that can store up to 22 prepared ingredients. Sally uses those ingredients to make up to 65 salads, bowls and other meals at a time.
Prior to this year, Chowbotics had sold around 125 of its $35,000 robots, mostly to universities, medical centers and grocery stores. But the company said sales jumped during the pandemic as customers looked for touch-free ways to dispense food.
DoorDash said Chowbotics' robots could allow its restaurant partners to offer more varieties of meals without having to expand their kitchen space. Other DoorDash merchants, like convenience stores, could also use it to expand into fresh food.
Chowbotics CEO Rick Wilmer said DoorDash’s reach will help his company grow. DoorDash offers delivery from 390,000 merchants in the U.S., Canada and Australia and is the food delivery market leader in the U.S.
DoorDash said Chowbotics’ staff are now DoorDash employees. But otherwise, Chowbotics will continue to operate independently and has no plans to change its name.