Vending Machines and Automated Restaurants: New Models, New Paths to Purchase

November 2022

A venerable part of the retail landscape, vending machines have seen a surge in innovation in recent years, adding smartphone ordering and a range of made-to-order, prepared food and drink options. Going forward, the line between “advanced vending machine” and “automated restaurant” will blur further, creating opportunities for new business models and paths to reaching consumers.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key Findings

Smartphones create a new path to purchase

As smartphones become the primary driver of order volumes and a growing portion of those orders are for prepared meals consumed off-premise, all outlets increasingly become “meal fulfilment centres”, highly automated, with more emphasis than ever on speed and volume.

Vending machines add new occasions

Whilst there is still a limited range of prepared meals which lend themselves to completely unmanned vending, this overlaps with steady improvements in restaurant automation. The day is fast approaching when rapid-scaling restaurant chains featuring prefabricated, highly-automated, modular restaurant “cubes” are a reality.

New nodes in the delivery network

For customers, more of the relationship with a brand will be mediated via the smartphone app and the various pick-up and delivery “boxes” in the area, in which vending will play a key role.

Vending machines, virtual restaurants and new models

A dense network of small, highly capable automated kitchens/vending machines could also serve as engines of product development, allowing for the launch of new product and product combinations in key high-traffic, high-visibility areas such as universities, airports, travel hubs, and elsewhere.

Key findings
Smartphones change the way we dine out
Vending machines matter in a more connected, automated, dispersed era
Vending machines’ advantages key in delivery on demand era
Beverages lead the way in terms of next-generation vending solutions
Vending machines a central component of Coca-Cola’s US coffee strategy
Three factors driving advanced vending
New frontiers in vending
Hubz unattended retail systems offer potential stores in a box
Yo-Kai expands vending machine experiment with Japan’s Ippudo
Mezli offers prepared meals from “automated restaurants”
Remy Robotics automated kitchens further blur the line between vending, automation
Automation, distributed production to spread far and wide

Consumer Foodservice

Consumer foodservice is composed of cafés/bars, full-service restaurants, limited-service restaurants, self-service cafeterias and street stalls/kiosks.

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