Saturday, September 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Vending machines go gourmet for upscale customers

By
From page B6 | July 11, 2014 |

LOS ANGELES — At Hollywood and Highland Center, mere steps from Hollywood Boulevard’s souvenir-hawking dives, tourists can drop up to $1,000 on fine caviar.

But they aren’t pampered with white-glove service. Tins of the delicacy are dispensed at the tap of a button – from a vending machine.

After decades of dispensing junk food, vending machines are putting on airs.

High-tech versions are popping up at gas stations and shopping malls, peddling edibles more commonly found at restaurants or specialty stores. Some offer Wi-Fi and touch screens that entertain shoppers while they wait. Many accept credit or debit cards, and a few even sell very expensive items such as jewelry.

“There is a lot of innovation happening in vending machines,” said Omar Khedr, industry research analyst at IBISWorld. “It’s occurring in niche markets like organic foods, propelled forward by access to new technology and convenience.”

Sprinkles Cupcakes is installing its “Cupcake ATM” at all 16 bakeries around the country. L’Oreal tested a vending machine in New York during the holidays that scanned a shopper’s outfit and recommended complementary makeup. San Francisco start-up Momentum Machines is making a device that cooks up customized burgers with no help from human hands.

Such vending extravagance is driven by consumers with increasingly picky tastes who still want convenience on the go. The boom in mobile and Web-based shopping also has trained customers to browse and buy with no help from salespeople or waiters.

“It’s a case of technological innovation at an affordable price,” said Christopher Salyers, author of “Vending Machines: Coined Consumerism.” “The Internet has only proliferated this worldview of pay-and-click consumers.”

Long before McDonald’s, coin-operated vending machines served pies and sandwiches to armies of harried workers. But the U.S. has since fallen behind Europe and Asia, where futuristic machines offer a vast array of goods including gold bars, eggs and live beetles. In Japan, automated kiosks sell heads of lettuce after growing them under artificial lighting.

Innovations are now driving a renaissance in U.S. self-serve kiosks.

After five straight years of decline, revenue for the U.S. vending machine industry is projected to rise and hit $7.7 billion in 2019, up nearly 7 percent from this year, according to an IBISWorld report. Experts say 2014 marks the comeback of the sector after years squeezed by budget-conscious shoppers who opted for value over vending convenience.

Denis Koci said he spent five years developing the technology for the Burritobox, which offers warm burritos on demand. His Los Angeles company, the Box Brands, rolled out six machines this year in Southern California and in August will start franchising nationally in places such as colleges, Koci said.

Diners can pick between options such as hand-rolled vegan fajita burritos for $3.65 and add sides such as guacamole and sour cream. Soon the boxes will toast the burritos and also offer warmed chips with salsa. The products are heated inside to 195 degrees before popping out.

Koci said he was inspired by the “Star Trek” television series, on which a machine called the replicator made meals on demand.

Within six months, the company plans to roll out Pizzaboxes that bake pies to 800 degrees.

“The goal is to do what they do in fast food restaurants inside a machine,” Koci said.

But to succeed, companies will have to overcome doubts about the quality of vending machine fare, analysts said.

Food companies are seeing opportunities to get inside schools that are getting rid of chip-and-soda machines and replacing them with more-healthful options.

Jamba Juice has installed JambaGo machines in hundreds of schools. Last year, the Emeryville company put about 1,400 machines in places like Target and has an additional 1,000 planned this year.

“There is a huge opportunity to offer healthier alternatives to kids,” said James White, Jamba Juice’s chief executive. “It’s about making the brand more accessible.”

Some see machines as a way to turn their stores into 24-hour operations.

Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills plans to install its Cupcake ATM at all of its bakeries within a year, up from the six currently in operation, said Nicole Schwartz, vice president of marketing.

Each ATM holds up to 760 cupcakes; some machines can sell four at a time from a range of flavors, including one for dogs.

One kiosk sells an average of 1,000 cupcakes a day – up to 50 percent of total daily sales at each bakery.

Kelly Stern, founder of Beverly Hills Caviar, sees the self-serve machines as a way to avoid the headache and expense of human labor. She found managing a retail store a nightmare. Workers were unreliable without constant oversight, she said.

After closing her Beverly Hills store in 2010, Stern began looking into vending machines. Her company typically sells to grocery stores and restaurants but wanted direct access to customers, too.

Stern installed her first “automated boutique” during the holidays in 2012. Now the machines are in three shopping centers, including Westfield Century City and Westfield Topanga.

The machines now pull in 10 percent of the company’s total sales. The boutiques send emails when supplies are low and can also be remotely operated via smartphone to help shoppers who run into problems.

“If we can minimize the humans in our company, then we prefer that,” Stern said. “When you have physical employees, you don’t have a life. Ask any restaurant or supermarket business.”

Los Angeles Times

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano jobless rate drops, jobs rise

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
 
Memorial focuses on hope, healing from addiction

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Vacaville High graduate shines at tech event

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
New law aimed at urban water district reports

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Travis celebrates KC-10′s 20 years at base

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Highway 37 detours in place

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Maintenance begins on Rio Vista Bridge Sunday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Mother gives late daughter a voice by helping others

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Sept. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
.

US / World

Record-setting retardant used on California fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
UC campus chancellors granted hefty pay raises

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Brown vetoes diaper changing-station bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Oakland mother charged in cocaine death of son, 2

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

California man accused of killing fellow gym-goer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California school gender equity ruling upheld

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

State to ban smoking at home day cares

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Driver of stolen van that hit dog gets prison time

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

License plate scanner networks capture movements

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Feds approve California’s immigrant license words

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Fence-jumper makes it into the White House

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Florida town knew shooter had troubled past

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Daughter calls Utah doctor a monster at sentencing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
3 guilty in Ga. salmonella-tainted peanut trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Fierce fighting in Yemeni capital kills 120

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Sierra Leone begins 3-day Ebola lockdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Ambush suspect could be aided by dense woods

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
France joins US against Islamic State over Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

After vote to stay in UK, Scots must heal divide

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Opinion

Lots of services available for Solano veterans

By Ted Puntillo | From Page: A8

 
Cheers, jeers for the week of Sept. 14-20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Fairfield Ford boosts animal adoption efforts

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Sept. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
Make sure you get educated during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

Signs indicate California recovery will last

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A8

 
.

Entertainment

 
Fallon to pay up, broadcast show in Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

 
.

Sports

Big plays in second half lift Vanden past Center

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
Legs power Mustangs in win over Falcons

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Indians score late but still fall to Panthers

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1

 
A’s Lester holds Phillies to 5 hits in 7 innings in 3-1 victory

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Stewart slogs through tough day at New Hampshire

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rio Vista gets easy football win over Delta

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Keselowski wins pole at New Hampshire

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Gordon has suspension reduced to 10 games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

After NFL, baseball addresses domestic violence

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Goodell: ‘Same mistakes can never be repeated’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Kershaw gets 20th win as Dodgers pound Cubs 14-5

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raiders could be down 2 starters on defense

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Sharks open with new vibe after playoff collapse

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
49ers’ Davis, McDonald questionable for Sunday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

The Kuro taste: Peppery tang and hint of squid ink

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Pabst Brewing to be sold to Russian company

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

China fines GlaxoSmithKline $492M for bribery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Procter & Gamble cancels on-field NFL promotion

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

California adopts olive-oil labeling standards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

 
Yahoo rakes in another jackpot from Alibaba’s IPO

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Alibaba stock soars in jubilant trading debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Obituaries

Allie M. Zell-Jones

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
George Junior Rhode

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Charles Randolph Orr

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Corazon Libunao Thompson

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
.

Home Seller 09/20/14

Average US 30-year mortgage rate at 4.23 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2

New Standard Pacific models in Vacaville

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

Real estate transactions for Sept. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3