Technology

Jamba to put smoothie-making robots in Love’s rest stops

Jamba by Blendid machines will whip up drinks for travelers starting at a single Love’s near Sacramento.
Jamba by Blendid machine
Jamba by Blendid machines can make up to nine smoothies at once. / Photograph courtesy of Jamba by Blendid

Jamba is bringing smoothie-making robots to America’s highways.

The blended drink concept has partnered with Love’s Travel Stops to put automated smoothie machines in some of Love’s more than 590 rest areas.

The machines, made by a company called Blendid, use a robotic arm and artificial intelligence to churn out freshly made smoothies—including up to nine at once. Jamba said the partnership will give travelers easy access to its beverages. 

“Making Jamba inspired smoothies readily available in this new vertical allows us to meet our guests seeking freshly made, wholesome smoothies even when they are on the road,” said Jamba President Geoff Henry in a statement.

The first Jamba by Blendid kiosk will open this summer at a Love’s in Williams, Calif., near Sacramento. That’s about an hour’s drive from where Jamba opened its first automated kiosk, at a Walmart in Dixon.

Jamba also has Blendid kiosks on college campuses. The deal with Love’s will bring the 850-unit brand to rest stops for the first time. 

The companies declined to share how many outlets they'll ultimately open with Love's. “We expect this to be the first of many Jamba by Blendid locations, Blendid CEO Vipin Jain said in a statement.

For Oklahoma City-based Love’s, the fully autonomous machines add another foodservice option to its stores without an accompanying increase in staff. Its 24-hour facilities sell gas, diesel fuel, coffee, snacks, restaurant food and more.

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer our guests a new way to enjoy delicious food on the go,” said Joe Cotton, Love’s VP of food services, in a statement. “Jamba by Blendid will give customers another option to get refreshing food at select locations in California.”

Automated kiosks have caught on recently as a way for restaurants to grow quickly while offering customers convenient access to their food. Just last week, Asian chain Wow Bao said it planned to start opening vending machines nationwide. 800 Degrees Pizza and Freebirds World Burrito are also pursuing the strategy.

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