FROYO MEETS ROBO
Reis & Irvy's Robotic Vending Machines Have Arrived and are Changing the Way Consumers and Franchisees Experience Frozen Yogurt
When Generation NEXT Franchise Brands decided to further shake up a tired and outdated vending industry, they pioneered a concept that's bringing the future of frozen yogurt into the present with the world's first robotic vending machine.
Started in 2010 as Fresh Healthy Vending, Inc., the company first shook up the vending industry when they became the first to offer fresh and healthy options instead of the usual junk food in vending machines across the country.
“Everybody said it was a crazy idea,” explained Nick Yates, Chairman of Generation Next Franchise Brands. “But we pioneered that concept and in just five years placed over 3,500 healthy vending machines across the U.S.”
In May 2016, they changed their corporate name to Generation NEXT Franchise Brands and launched a new global concept with Reis and Irvy's® Froyo Robots.
The company currently has around 275 franchises operating under the Fresh Healthy Vending subsidiary, and is already operating just over 100 newly appointed franchises under the recently launched Reis and Irvy's® brand.
Vending meets robotics
Following the success of Fresh Healthy Vending, the company began a focused initiative to expand its reach with innovative and automated franchise concepts.
In November 2015, they met Robofusion, a developer of frozen soft serve robotic technologies, which had been developing and testing various technologies in vending robots.
“We loved the company and the concept and felt that our infrastructure would allow the Robofusion product the ability to see an even larger national and international audience utilizing both our ability to attract franchisees and even more importantly the ability to secure prime locations for the robots,” said Yates.
Seeing the potential to further develop the concept, Generation NEXT secured the exclusive licensing rights and evolved the technology into the Reis & Irvy’s Froyo Robot, which combines premium froyo with advanced robotic technology.
Robot at your service
A self-contained vending unit, the Reis & Irvy’s Froyo Robot is set to power a 4-axel robotic arm that swings into action to pick up a cup and serve premium quality frozen yogurt and toppings within 60 seconds or less.
This innovative, eye-catching concept is now evolving the landscape of the frozen yogurt industry in ways that benefit businesses, consumers and franchisees.
“It's really one of the first instances of consumers witnessing robotics in action anywhere across the country,” said Yates. “It's very hard for somebody to walk past this unit, see the robotic arm waving at them and not be compelled to come closer to the product.”
“We really feel that this is the way that soft serve always should have been,” Yates stated. “It's quick, it's exciting, and there's an element of hygiene that is far superior to an exposed retail environment.”
Eliminating the “the sneeze factor”
The benefits of this innovative concept for franchisees is nothing to sneeze at. Franchisees avoid the high overhead that comes with retail soft-serve franchises, as well as unhygienic practices that Yates referred to as “the sneeze factor” that can arise whenever food is exposed to busy retail environments.
Franchisees will also benefit from the support of an infrastructure that allows the machines to be placed in any location where there is high foot traffic. The company is responsible for securing its franchisees locations such as high schools, universities, hospitals, community centers, military bases, airports, fitness facilities, restaurants, movie cinemas, tourist attractions and theme parks to name just a few
“We give franchisees the opportunity to combine all of these benefits and capabilities under one roof with very comprehensive training and support. I don't think there's anything else quite like this in the franchise marketplace,” Yates stated.
Momentum for the product continues to grow since its launch in May of this year. With a network of over 100 newly appointed franchisees across the U.S., the concept is also seeing an overwhelming global interest, particularly within Asian markets.
“We have a database of about 500 people that are interested in representing this product around the world,” stated Yates. “Once people understand it, they want to get involved very quickly and be the first-to-market with such an innovative concept.”
The company plans to start expanding the concept internationally by the second half of 2017, and will be adapting the technology to meet international certification standards.
Keeping an eye to the future
2017 is projected to be an exciting year for the brand, which is currently focused on advancing the technology and developing motion sensors, refrigeration, as well as remote monitoring and telemetry capabilities that will provide franchisees with quick and easy access to important data that allows them to manage the machines efficiently.
The company has also implemented a division that is entirely dedicated to evolution, with full time engineers who are currently looking at different technologies that can be supported by the company's infrastructure.
“Whether it's a robot that serves sushi, pizza, hot dogs or burgers, we know that as a company, the next product that we develop will have the credibility of the first product's success behind it,” said Yates.
“Our priority is to continue to identify what we deem to be next generation, first-to-market products that will continue to expand our concept portfolio and allow us to offer additional franchise opportunities in the future. It's a very exciting time for us."
Article written by Diana Cikes, Franchising USA