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New AI convenience store promises effortless shopping – do students agree?

The average shopping time in the AI-powered store is 85 seconds, according to David Disalvo, resident district manager for USF Dining and Aramark. ORACLE PHOTO/JUSTIN SEECHARAN

The new AI-powered 813 Quick Eats store promised to make the shopping experience easier for students by removing the hassle of a checkout line –– but has it lived up to its promise? 

Students disagreed on the convenience of the new store. Some found it quick and easy to use, while others reminisced about the pharmacy it replaced.

813 Quick Eats opened after Labor day weekend. Shoppers can download the app and scan into the store using their phone. After scanning, a turnstile opens, allowing students to grab what they want. Check-out is not required, so students can exit the store and receive their receipt in their emails.

Students can buy food, snacks, beverages, Grab and Go meals among other convenience items.

Junior health science major Yerli Velasco said she had issues while swiping into the convenience store via Apple Pay or credit card, leaving her confused.

“Sometimes with tap to pay, it doesn’t let you in, so you’re just having to struggle there for a while,” Velasco said. 

Junior finance major Schainada Cherichel said she doesn’t think the new store is convenient. It confuses students, and also isn’t getting as much traffic she thought it would bring in, Cherichel said. 

The store has brought in 1,000 shoppers as of Oct. 10, according to David DiSalvo, resident district manager for USF Dining and Aramark. DiSalvo said because this is the first store of its kind in a college campus, they did not have a benchmark for the store’s attendance to meet. 

Google has yet to update its profile for the previous pharmacy, which may add to the confusion from students, Cherichel said. The pharmacy was relocated to the Student Wellness Center, which can be found near the Recreational and Wellness center or the Yuengling center parking lot.

DiSalvo said the functionality of the store has been positive, as the average shopping time recorded was 85 seconds the first month of opening. He said many of the positive reviews from an online feedback portal have referenced the speed of the shopping experience.

The fastest in which someone has shopped is 15 seconds, according to DiSalvo.

Junior biology major Hendraine Henry said the store is accessible for students trying to get in and out fast.

“You don’t have to go through the hassle of dealing with somebody to check out your stuff,” Henry said.

Some students said they’re concerned with the reliability of the store when they have difficulties or questions about items. Junior nursing major Danaika Cherichel did not see a worker or representative for the store when she came in. 

Cherichel said she was also concerned about how the store would take away job opportunities from students.

But, Cherichel said she is satisfied with the hours of the convenience store. It is open from 7 a.m. to midnight on Monday-Friday, 8-1 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to midnight on Sunday.

Some MSC food locations close earlier in the evening, which makes the addition of the store convenient, Cheriche said. 

Sophomore biomedical sciences major Phoebe Almero said she goes to the store when she’s craving something sweet or wants something to snack on. She said the process is easy and the store is usually not busy.

Still, Almero said using the app for the first time was a confusing process. She said she was uncertain about how to scan the card to get in since there was no one inside. 

Almero said the experience was new and there were lots of things she had to read, such as the directions on how to pay and card information, but then learned how to use the app after the second time.

The store is a good addition for students that are craving late night snacks or quick meals due to its proximity to the residence halls, according to Almero.

“It’s also close to the dorms, so I can see how this can be a plus for someone if they’re craving ice cream or if they’re running out of food,” Almero said.