Blendid and Jamba announced today that their new, co-branded smoothie-making robot is now open for business at a Walmart in Dixon, California. This is the first co-branded robot from Blendid and its second to open up at a Walmart.
The new Blendid/Jamba robot kiosk has a menu featuring drink recipes from both companies, including two of Jamba’s proprietary boosts (Energy and Daily Vitamin). Customers can order and pay contactlessly using the Blendid app, with the robot even holding a drink until its ready for pickup.
As noted, last month Blendid opened its first kiosk at a retail location at the Walmart in Fremont, CA. But this new co-branding with Jamba is a much bigger deal and probably points to the future not just of Blendid but of food robotics overall.
Think about it from a consumer’s perspective. Chances are pretty good that most people do not know what Blendid is. Even if you see a colorful sign with pictures of fruits and drinks adorning the Blendid robot, there is still a moment where the consumer needs to figure what the whole thing is about. What’s a Blendid? Why is there a robot arm swirling about? How come nobody is here to help? I’m vastly simplifying that thought process, but the point is, a bunch of those questions disappear when you slap a Jamba sign on there.
Lots of people know and have had Jamba juices and smoothies. Having a robot create one for you may be a little vexing at first because of the novelty associated with a robotic arm creating a drink, but you know the end result will be a smoothie in your hand.
We’ve seen this co-branding elsewhere with Chowbotics. Yes, Chowbotics makes its own salad making robots, but it also co-brands with the Saladworks chain. Chowobotics’ culinary team may create a wonderful menu for Sally the robot, but more people will recognize the SaladWorks name.
I spoke with Blendid Founder and CEO Vipin Jain by phone last month, and he indicated that this initial machine is just the beginning of the company’s partnership with Jamba, and that the two are evaluating different venue types where future co-branded robots could work. The advantage to a robotic kiosk, of course, is the ability to extend a brand like Jamba’s into new locations without needing to build out a full restaurant.
While today’s news is around Jamba, it’s also worth pointing out that this is the second Walmart location for Blendid. If these two robots gain traction with Walmart customers, Blendid could carve out a nice path to scale just though Walmart stores.
For those want to try out the robo-Jamba, the new kiosk is at the Walmart at 235 E Dorset Dr. Dixon, CA and will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.