Salad and snack vending machine company Fresh Bowl has raised a $2.1 million seed round, reports Restaurant Hospitality. The round was led by Betaworks and Ground Ventures, with Tuesday and Mana Capital also participating.
In addition to being a healthy food vending machine, Fresh Bowl’s hook is that it serves its meals in recyclable glass jars. When the company launched, it charged a $2 deposit for the jar, which could be rolled over into the next purchase upon its return.
But it looks like Fresh Bowl has changed up its model. Fast Company today wrote that instead of tacking on a deposit on top of the price of a meal, Fresh Bowl now offers a discount on the next bowl if you return the jar. With this new approach, Fresh Bowl says its seen an 85 percent return rate.
Armed with more cash, Fresh Bowl is also looking to expand to more places. The company lists six locations on its website right now, and Fresh Bowl co-founder, Zach Lawless, told Fast Company that they are looking to have a total of 50 machines in operation by the end of this year.
To quote Jack White, “I’ve said it once before but it bears repeating now.” We are entering a golden age of food vending machines. Companies like Fresh Bowl, Briggo, Chowbotics, Farmer’s Fridge, and Yo-Kai Express are all working to deliver restaurant quality meals from a teeny-tiny automated footprint. These vending machines can be squirreled away in office buildings, dormitories, factories and airports, operating twenty-four hours a day, serving up delicious meals in minutes for busy people on the go.
Hopefully more of this cohort will be able to take a page from Fresh Bowl’s fresh approach and incorporate recyclable containers into their service.