TRENDING: Vending Machines Come To The Dessert Aisle

No one likes to be kept waiting — especially hungry consumers. And should a restaurant fail to meet their expectations, patrons are likely to head to a faster competitor to get their fill.

Now, it seems quick service restaurants (QSRs) are considering convenient innovations like interactive kiosks, vending machines and robots as the key to unlocking new food service business. Around the space, companies are racing to implement new tech in an effort to keep customers happy, well-fed and coming back for more. 

In the April edition of the Unattended Retail Tracker™, PYMNTS highlights the latest developments in unattended technology in the food service industry and beyond. 

Around the Unattended Retail World

Coffee shops in Austin, Texas, for one, are brewing up coffee served by robotic baristas.

Coffee Haus, an unattended coffee distribution system touted at the recent SXSW festival, was designed by technology provider Briggo to enable robots to make coffee, lattes and other caffeinated delights. The drinks can be personalized based on a customer’s preferred flavor, temperature and caffeine strength. The company’s solution is currently being used by businesses in the city of Austin.

Mobile apps are also increasingly becoming a key unattended technology for QSRs. While food service foot traffic has either remained flat or risen by less than 1 percent for the past several years, researchers found that restaurant visits via mobile app jumped by 50 percent over the past year. 

To find the rest of the latest Unattended Retail headlines, check out the Tracker’s News and Trends section. 

Frozen Treats, the Unattended Way 

Supermarkets also seem to have caught the unattended retail craze.

More than 100 grocery stores around the United States will soon be home to ice cream and frozen yogurt vending machines. Creator and distributor Reis & Irvy’s is hoping to provide a one-stop shopping experience for customers struck with a sweets craving while grocery shopping, with the power of unattended retail technology.

And, according to the company’s chairman Nick Yates, on-demand frozen yogurt and ice cream for grocery store shoppers is only the beginning. 

In a recent interview with PYMNTS for the latest issue of the Unattended Retail Tracker, Yates discussed the company’s current vending machine offering and plans for the future, as the company hopes to create a new business model for the dessert industry — centered around vending machines. 

“The machines right now offer choices of seven different flavors and six different toppings for customers to choose from,” Yates said. “Consumers choose their product and then choose how they want to combine or mix their ingredients. The whole process takes about 45 to 60 seconds.” 

To read this feature story, get the latest news and trends and peruse a directory of more than 100 providers, check out the Unattended Retail Tracker™.

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About the Tracker

The Unattended Retail Tracker™ serves as a bimonthly framework for the space, providing coverage of the most recent news and trends, as well as a directory highlighting the key players contributing to the segments that comprise the expansive unattended retail ecosystem.