Krispy Kreme Pilots Touchscreen Vending Machine

The contactless machine dispenses three varieties of the chain's popular donuts, available 24/7.

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Need to Know 

  • Krispy Kreme has launched a pilot project for its first-ever vending machine, with plans to eventually expand to more locations.
  • The touchscreen machine dispenses three varieties of donuts and is maintained in real-time by Krispy Kreme staff.
  • The machine allows customers to purchase donuts 24/7 from the popular chain.
  • Vending machines as an industry generate $30 billion per year.

Analysis 

In a first for the popular donut chain, Krispy Kreme is launching a pilot vending machine project at its headquarters in North Carolina. If successful, the vending machine project may be expanded to reach more locations across the United States. 

The pilot comes as part of the company’s desire to expand its reach to new markets and new platforms. Built into the brick exterior of Krispy Kreme’s Charlotte headquarters, the new vending machine dispenses three different varieties of three-packs of fresh donuts—available 24/7. 

A Krispy Kreme location with a donut vending machine attached beside.

“We want to be known as a brand that reaches guests where they want to be reached,” said Levi Hetrick, vice president of shop development.

After first considering a walk-up window, the vending machine project makes for a safer, contactless approach, which is ever more important in a post-pandemic world

The machine itself is a closed-front touchscreen, integrating video and imagery that draws customers in by advertising the available products and offering an interactive experience. The machine is temperature-controlled and inventory is fulfilled in real-time by Krispy Kreme staff.  

Hetrick says the goal is to test the machine for future use in high-traffic locations like airports and schools. 

“We wanted to test it as a platform for automated retail,” he said. “Any place where there’s high foot fall would be a great place for it.”

And considering vending machines as an industry generate $30 billion per year, it makes sense to dip into the market.  Krispy Kreme makes over 20 million donuts per year.

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