H20 2019 EQUIPMENT & DESIGN HANDBOOK WINSIGHT GROCERY BUSINESS
Kiosks Are Heading
to Infinity and Beyond
The sky’s the limit for retailers looking to add high-tech
excitement to customers’ shopping trips. By Rebekah Marcarelli
BreadBot from Wilkinsons
Baking Co. creates loaves of bread
right in front of the customer.
Grocery technology is often focused on behind- the-scenes operations and e-commerce inte- gration, but retailers are increasingly using it o engage and excite shoppers as they move through the store. Tech-focused kiosks offer opportunities for etailers to connect with their customers in new ays, turning the mundane shopping trip into an engaging, interactive experience that keeps
them coming back for more.
Engaging the Senses
While high-tech retail experiences are most certainly a
phenomenon of the future, Randall Wilkinson, CEO of
Walla Walla, Wash.-based Wilkinsons Baking Co., maker
of the BreadBot—a machine that makes bread right in
front of customers’ eyes and allows them to interact with
the equipment to get the freshest loaves—says his product
helps restore the “high degree of connection between the
person eating the food and the process of making the food”
that existed half a century ago.
“Here’s a machine that actually engages you in that pro-
cess of seeing everything from the flour right through to
the finished loaf,” he says. Even though the machine has
resided in Andy’s Market in College Place, Wash., for two
years, he says, it retains its magnetic appeal with custom-
ers, especially with little ones. “Kids come running in to
check on the machine and watch it making the bread.”
While the BreadBot—which mixes, forms,
proofs, bakes and cools 10 loaves of bread per
hour on its own—is available only in Andy’s
Market at this time, it was all the rage at the
2019 CES show in Las Vegas, and Wilkinson
says three of the country’s five largest grocery
retailers have committed to launching pilot
applications in their stores.
Wilkinson says the BreadBot attracts quite a lot of media
buzz and “has blown up on the internet. I can’t think of a
major media outlet that hasn’t carried an article or video on
the topic,” he says. “It even made it onto ‘The Daily Show.’ ”
Another food-focused machine that has been sparking
buzz online and delighting shoppers is the Reis & Irvy’s frozen-dessert vending kiosk, a concept of Generation Next
Franchise Brands. Retailers across the country, such as
Hy-Vee, Price Chopper and multiple independents, have
adopted the sweet technology, with almost 300 franchi-sees appointed thus far.
Customers can choose from six flavors and select up to
six custom toppings on an automated touchscreen ordering system and watch the treat being created before their
eyes, complete with music and animated characters. The
machines also accept flexible payment options, including
New technology and
ideas provide a glimpse
into the future of kiosks.
Bitcoin ATM provider Coinme is working with Coinstar kiosks
to make bitcoin purchases easily accessible in grocery stores.
The technology is now available at retailers such as Albertsons,
Safeway, Shaw’s and Acme in about 15 states. To purchase the
cryptocurrency, shoppers insert cash into a bitcoin-enabled
Coinstar kiosk, select an amount up to $2,500 and receive a
voucher for a bitcoin.
TRENDS TO WATCH