In this time of bitter partisan divide, I believe the one thing that can bring us together is donuts. Specifically, access to donuts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
So I am patriotically pleased as punch to inform you that Krispy Kreme now has a vending machine that will serve you donuts anytime you like. That is, as long as you’re near the company headquarters shop in Charlotte, NC.
It looks like the vending machine actually debuted at the end of August, but we caught word of it through a Vending Times article posted today. The machine features a giant screen to display inventory and even run video, temperature control, and credit card and mobile payment options. It also features a “no-drop” dispenser so that precious cargo — the donut — doesn’t get crushed.
From that Vending Times story:
The machine vends three different standard variety packs: “The Fan Favorites” — one Original Glazed, one raspberry-filled, and one chocolate sprinkled for $4.99; “The Classics” — one Original Glazed, one chocolate iced cream filled and one strawberry sprinkle for $4.99; and “The Original Glazed Lovers” pack — three Original Glazed for $3.99.
While it’s always fun to write about donuts because, well, donuts, the news is noteworthy because it’s another example of how vending machines are proving useful and important to restaurant brands.
By setting up more vending machines, Krispy Kreme can extend its brand into new locations in a low-cost way without requiring any major build outs. Think: inside grocery stores, at airports, on college campuses. It also achieves this expanded reach in a contactless way, something made more important by the COVID-19 pandemic. Vending machines are unattended, so there is no human to interact with, and with mobile payments, actual touching of the machine can be minimized.
We’ve seen this kind of automated brand extension with Saladworks creating branded versions of Chowbotics’ Sally robot. And Byte Technologies is built around making smart vending refrigerators for other market and restaurant brands. I go into this and more reasons why smart vending machines are a smart play in my The Great Vending Reinvention: The Spoon’s Smart Vending Machine Market Report over on our Spoon+ premium section.
Long story short: If the Charlotte pilot proves successful, you could soon see Krispy Kreme donuts popping up all over. You’ll never be that far from a donut — and that’s something I think we can all get behind.