Cabinets keep students' food deliveries hot, or cold

At the Fengxian campus of Shanghai Normal University, students can now order food on the Internet and pick it up from a cabinet in which the food is kept hot or cold.

Students at the Fengxian campus of Shanghai Normal University can now order waimai (food delivery) and pick it up from a cabinet in which it’s kept hot or cold.

A total of 28 cabinets with 400 to 500 heated or cooled drawers, which can be opened by scanning a QR code, are distributed across nine locations in the campus of 18,000 students.

The hot drawers are kept at 65 degrees Celcius, while the cold ones range from 0 to 5 degrees.

The service is provided by a local tech and catering management firm, which said that about 10,000 people have checked out its public WeChat account — where food is ordered — since November last year.

Orders can be made from 7am to 11pm, and no extra fees are charged for storing food in the drawers. Users are required to pick up their food within 1.5 hours, though.

Zhang Zhengrong, vice head of the university, said students are increasingly turning to waimai as they grow tired of canteen food. This service aims to provide them with a convenient and healthy choice when ordering food.

The service has now gathered dozens of restaurants, both on and off campus, with plans to include more.

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

A student picks up his waimai from a drawer in a cabinet on Monday noon.

A sophomore computer science major surnamed Hong used the service on Tuesday noon, describing it as "sleek."

“I can get hot food anytime, and it’s close enough to my dorm,” he said, adding that he uses the service once or twice every week.

The university said more orders are made for breakfast than other meals.

The company said it previously introduced the service to some business buildings, albeit on a smaller scale, and will potentially expand it to other universities in the future.

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