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Campus Life

New delivery, ghost kitchen options coming to Bell Tower this fall

Autonomous Starship robots will deliver food on campus

Starship delivery robot
Campus Life

New delivery, ghost kitchen options coming to Bell Tower this fall

The robots are coming – and they’re bringing the latest dining options from Bell Tower with them.

From ghost kitchens to Starbucks to delivery robots, Bell Tower offers Miamians a unique dining experience for to-go options. Patrons can place an order through the Grubhub app or from one of Bell Tower’s convenient kiosks. Orders will be ready in one of Bell Tower’s pick-up lockers or delivered around campus by a Starship autonomous robot.

This will be a dining experience like none other on campus, said Amanda Casey, director of dining services.

“Bell Tower is going to be the hot spot on campus,” Casey said.

All over campus, too. The Starship units will deliver to any location on campus that is accessible to a robot. Miami University is one of nearly 25 schools nationwide utilizing Starship delivery.

Providing a fast and easy experience is key. The Starship website touts the delivery robots for their “safety and navigation,” which includes sensors and 12 cameras that allow the robot to carefully traverse its route at around 4 miles per hour. Designed to act like a pedestrian, the robot has obstacle detection, which will allow it to identify objects in its path.

Starship delivery robot

The delivery robots are battery powered with a charge that lasts a full day. At the end of each day, the units will return to a centralized hub for charging before returning the next morning to Bell Tower.

Each delivery unit is also equipped with an alarm and a GPS for tracking. The robot can only be unlocked by its patron through the Grubhub app upon meeting its destination and can be tracked by phone. Users will pick up their delivery in front of a building or at a designated outdoor space.

“The decision to use the Starship delivery robots was driven by our commitment to embracing advanced technology and transforming the campus dining experience,” Casey said. “These innovative robots offer precise and speedy delivery, making dining more convenient and enjoyable for everyone. We’re excited to lead the way into the future of food delivery with the Starship delivery robots.”

Bell Tower’s three ghost kitchen concepts – southwest, grill, and Asian cuisines – will be available via delivery or in a pick-up locker. Ghost kitchens, which are contactless mobile ordering dining options, help eliminate long lines for time-consuming orders. Students with Diplomat meal plans can use their meal swipes to purchase to-go combos.

Casey said the ghost kitchen concept was born out of a desire to revolutionize the campus dining experience by creating a dynamic and diverse food scene with less limitations.

“It’s all about staying ahead of the curve and providing a fresh and exciting approach to dining,” Casey said.

The ghost kitchen concept also allows Bell Tower to easily change concepts and adapt to the preferences of the Miami community.

Starbucks at Bell Tower will also operate as a ghost kitchen with pick-up and delivery. While the ghost kitchen and Starship robots are expected to be available Aug. 28, the first day of fall semester, Starbucks will join in late September.

Bell Tower will be open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Starship delivery will match those hours. Renovations to the facility include a complete interior renovation, enhanced entry sequence, a rebuilt kitchen area to allow for more flexibility over time in menu concepts, and new efficient LED lighting.

“We’re excited to lead the way into the future of food delivery,” Casey said.

Miami’s Finance and Business Services Marketing, along with the Planning, Architecture, and Engineering department, played a prominent role in the development of the interior design, branding, and environmental graphics with CR Architects within Bell Tower. A wall mural tells the story of how the food being served is brought to Miami in various aspects of the food preparation and production.

“We are pleased to provide our campus community with an industry leading dining operation at Bell Tower,” said David Creamer, senior vice president for finance and business services and treasurer. “This efficient and streamlined service format will accommodate the very busy schedules of our campus community within the academic center of campus. Bell Tower has always been a favorite dining location for our students, and we are excited to bring this venue back with a unique dining experience.”