- Just a few weeks after unveiling a Blendid smoothie-making robot at a Walmart in Fremont, California, the retailer and AI startup have debuted another contactless alternative to smoothie bars that this time is co-branded with Jamba.
- The Jamba by Blendid kiosk opened Wednesday, Dec. 2, in Dixon, California, according to the press release, marking the first co-branded effort from the juice company and autonomous food platform. The new kiosk offers Jamba and Blendid smoothies, including proprietary Jamba Boosts, that are made by using a robotic arm, blenders, refrigeration system and ingredient dispensers. Shoppers can add one boost for free to their smoothies.
- The co-branded kiosk comes at a time when grocers are pouring more effort into offering contactless food and beverage stations for shoppers.
Walmart is expanding its efforts in the contactless kiosk space, joining grocers like ShopRite and Heinen’s that are turning to robots to whip up and dispense food and drink sans human employees.
The latest kiosk is the second Walmart location for Sunnyvale, California-based Blendid, which also has two other locations in cafes at the University of San Francisco and Sonoma State University.
Just like the Blendid smoothie-making kiosk in Fremont, the co-branded one in Dixon can make up to 45 drinks in one hour and nine drinks at the same time, churning out a smoothie in three minutes. Blendid processes the orders and payment and then the robot gets to work creating the drink and storing it until it’s ready for pickup.
The Blendid robots tap into consumer desire for on-demand and customizable food and beverage offerings while leaning into the pandemic-induced online ordering surge. Making the smoothies available for pickup entices shoppers into the store, where they can make additional purchases. Meanwhile, the co-branding with Jamba provides the backing of a well-known juice and smoothie maker.
The contactless kiosks further Walmart's push to automate key parts of the store, including floor cleaning and checkout. The retailer is also testing out various in-store restaurant options as the pandemic has shifted spending away from dine-in purveyors. A Walmart store in Ohio recently welcomed a Philly cheesesteak restaurant inside its doors, while a supercenter in Arkansas is now home to a sushi and craft beer bar.
Geoff Henry, Jamba’s president, said in the announcement that the company sees the partnership as an opportunity to grow Jamba’s reach. “We look forward to working with the Blendid team to gain a better understanding of the role robotic kiosks could play in our brand and how our guests respond to this new experience,” he said.