New AI-powered convenience store to open in MSC

Students will be able to scan in to get into the store, which is located on the first floor of the Marshall Student Center, through an app and skip check-out. ORACLE PHOTO/JUSTIN SEECHARAN

USF Dining will open 813 QuickEats, an AI-powered convenience store in the Marshall Student Center (MSC) after this upcoming Labor Day weekend – allowing students to scan into the store and purchase items with no checkout line. 

The store will operate during MSC hours – from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. on Sunday.

Once a student downloads the app QuickEats, they can scan into the store. The scanning function opens the turnstile, allowing the student to enter. The student can then purchase items by merely removing them from the shelves and leaving the store, no check-out required as everything is automated through the app.

The autonomy of the store also provides easy accessibility to the consumer, according to Aramark Resident District David Disalvo.

“You don’t have to scan anything once you enter. There’s no cashier to visit. Everything is technology-based and you get your receipt emailed to your phone. It’s a really convenient and fast way to access these products,” said Disalvo.

The store’s operation depends on two technologies, Disalvo said.

“The first is the camera,” he said. “As you enter the shop, there are cameras mounted everywhere and they will be able to observe just spatial movement. The second is the shelving, the coolers, the freezers, everything in there has a weight element to it. So as you take something off the shelf, the shelf senses that.”

“It’s a way that allows guests to browse and shop and checkout without ever having to scan or see a cashier,” Disalvo said.

Products available at the store will be a variety of convenience items, snacks, beverages, Grab and Go sandwiches and meals. Students will also have the opportunity to fill out a feedback portal to modify the options.

“We try our best to listen and offer things that students want. And I think the current offerings in the Marshall Center are certainly indicative of that feedback. Later service in the building has been something that we’ve been really looking to accomplish. And so that’s what really led us down this path,” Disalvo said.

Because the pharmacy is no longer located in the MSC, the store will also supply students with the items which used to be available there, according to Marketing Director Jessica Cicalese.

“We’ll still be able to find items like those you could find at a pharmacy like cough drops, Advil, batteries. Essentials for students that are in the building late at night,” Cicalese said.

The store will increase USF students’ access to common necessities, according to Disalvo.

“To be able to have something predictably open for students as soon as the building opens and all the way until the building closes, I think that’s going to be a really nice amenity for the community. And it’s going to be done really, really seamlessly. So we’re excited about that,” Disalvo said.

As the first school in Florida to offer such services, the implementation of 813 QuickEats reflects USF’s status as America’s fastest rising public university, according to Disalvo. 

“USF is full of innovation and research progress. It’s something that the university prides itself on and so I think this shop finding its way here and bringing it to students is a way of representation of the USF family’s cutting edge technology,” Disalvo said.