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Jamba backs out of self-serve smoothie market

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Jamba Juice is unplugging its JambaGo self-service smoothie business, which has licensed about 2,000 self-contained stations to c-stores and captive feeding locations nationwide.

The exit from the business will be completed this year, the juice and smoothie specialist indicated.

The franchisor did not say if the automated smoothie stations would be sold, scrapped or reflagged with different names. The JambaGo machines are essentially blenders that enable customers to mix and vend their own smoothies. The devices can also be situated behind a serving line, for employees to do the blending.

The machines are located in c-stores, hotels, colleges, grade schools and employee caferias.

Jamba said the side business was no longer a good strategic fit with the company’s restaurant operations, the result of a comprehensive review by a new management team.

“Following a thorough review of the platform’s growth potential, resources required to drive meaningful sales, alignment with the brand’s iconic position and JambaGo’s ability to maximize value for shareolders, we decided to exit the JambaGo Venture,” said CEO Dave Pace.

The retreat from the vending business comes as many restaurant companies are moving in the opposite direction, embracing new technology to cut labor needs and take human interaction out of the serving process.

The move is the latest in a series of dramatic recent steps by Jamba. In late spring, it announced layoffs at its headquarters and a relocation of the home office to Dallas. More recently, it disclosed plans to develop an incubator-style unit, Jamba Juice Innovation Bar, where new ideas could be hatched and tested.

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