A Chick-Fil-A franchise in Brandon, Florida announced just last week they would be offering drone delivery to residents in a 1.2 mile radius of their store. They partnered up with a company called DroneUp to roll out the service, which was also involved in drone delivery for a Tampa based Walmart last year.
The restaurant is looking to expand the delivery radius to 2 miles soon, and let me tell you, this is a bad idea.
I lived in Tampa for 4 year and spent a lot of time in Brandon and the surrounding area, and can say with absolute certainty that this is a heavily armed part of the state with a large population of people who really don’t like the idea of robots taking things over. It’s only going to be a matter of time before someone’s delivery gets dropped off at the wrong front door and the drone is blown to pieces by some redneck who thinks the government is finally onto him and assumes the flying robot is there to take his guns and make him vote Democrat…
How the company chose Brandon, Florida of all places to roll this out I will never understand. Just so you can get a taste of what this town is like, nearly every billboard is owned by a local plastic surgeon who specializes in breast enhancements, and the advertisement is just a picture of fake boobs (no face) with a quote from the doctor himself saying something like “Wow! Looks great!” The sides of the roads are littered with signs for cheap divorce attorneys, vasectomies, and “I’ll buy anything!” companies.
The area does have a ton of great bars (I can’t recommend O’Tooles Irish Pub enough) and a solid live music scene, but also just enough crime that you feel a rush every time you wind up there. It’s just not a place I’d roll out an expensive, futuristic technology.
The store posted a video to their social media showing how the deliveries are done and it seems some people have already gotten food and drinks dropped off right at their door, so it seems to be working for now, but it’s no doubt a ticking time bomb.
Time will tell how people respond to a drone delivery service, but I can say with certainty if it works in Brandon, it’ll work anywhere…