Make your home page

Sandwiches via drone: Food delivery adapts to social distancing

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — One local restaurant is adapting to lost revenue by using the sky.

Greiner’s sub shop on the north side started using drones when the virus hit.

Anyone who’s been able to get a sub flown to their door says it’s really convenient and just a cool way to get your food. But there is a bit of a catch if you request a drone delivery – it can only deliver within a three-mile radius.

‘We want to make sure we’re doing it correctly’

As sandwiches are carefully crafted in the kitchen, the engine whirs to life on Greiner’s drone out back. The food is clipped on to a rope and the delivery drone is sent on the way to its destination.

“It’s pretty cool,” customer Latricia Hill said. “Just a great way to create social distance.”

With the virus, Greiner’s says they tried the drone as a social distancing tool…But it eventually became an attraction. The drone became so popular for local deliveries, they had to start planning reservations later in the week.

“Unfortunately we can only run a limited amount per day,” General Manager Joshua Lopez said. “We tell them to call back the next day so we can get them taken care of. We put them right to the top of the list. We want to make sure that we’re doing it correctly, following all the guidelines, making sure everything is safe and on the up and up.”

One business just a few doors down says getting a delivery by drone is even easier than just walking to the store.

“We are a quilting store,” Clay Kennedy said. “So we do six quilts a day. And if I’m in the store alone, I don’t have a way to really run down without our machines stopping. So it lets me just step away for about 30 seconds, get the delivery and get back to our quilting machines.”

Greiner’s says they have a licensed drone operator who abides by the FAA, never taking the drone above 400 feet and always keeping an eye on it. So it’s not a completely automated process. They say they’re looking at getting more drone operators and getting on board with the future of delivery even after the virus has passed.

“It’s been amazing,” franchise owner Todd Tyrone said. “It’s going to get better. It’s the future. And we are working with the future. Right now as we speak, we have things getting developed that’s going to help us with this to make this happen.”

The group that runs Greiner’s says they’re hoping to launch drones at other stores in the next few months so more people can get a taste of the future.