Leading with Integrity
Generation NEXT Franchise Brands is revolutionizing retail vending with robotics and a novel model that clever franchisees don’t dare miss
The retail food scene is about to get very vendy. With over 4,000 units pre-sold as of this writing, the futuristic, fun, and franchisee friendly Reis & Irvy’s robotic frozen yogurt kiosks are about to set foot in high-profile sites across the country.
Reis & Irvy’s owner, publicly traded Generation NEXT Franchise Brands (OTC:VEND), wrapped up FY 2018 and through September 30, 2018 with aggregate bookings worth $50 million, and another $100 million in franchise bookings on deck. Cash on hand for the firm increased eightfold over the prior year, with over 285 franchises sold so far.
Generation NEXT is the vision of Australian entrepreneur Nick Yates, the firm’s chairman and founder. Yates is a product of the industry, with both his father and grandfather being vending industry entrepreneurs. “As a family, we have always been looking for ways to put a spin or twist — pardon the pun — on the vending concept, package it, and find a way to franchise it to the masses,” he said. With Reis & Irvy’s, that twist extends well beyond a tasty tangle of froyo flavors into what can rightly be called a franchisee’s dream.
Brick and mortar frozen yogurt and ice cream shops are tough to establish, considering the expense of finding and outfitting a retail location, skyrocketing rents, labor costs, and ever-present worries about thievery. “Our model offers the entrepreneur the ability to do almost the complete opposite: run their own business without any employees, and not have to worry about theft ever,” Yates explained. “There are no costs to set up a store or fit-out the shop, so it's much cheaper, and there's very little rent due at the end of the month. We generally don't pay any rent. We offer a percentage of our revenue to the location where we place this technology so it's almost the complete opposite of the traditional franchising in that way, and we think that's why people love it for all of those reasons.”
Profitable Playfulness, Powered by the Pros
The robotic vending technology at the heart of Reis & Irvy’s was hatched by Robofusion, Inc., which sold its intellectual property to Generation NEXT.
Some of the most illustrious technology and food service partners are behind the Reis & Irvy’s initiative, including connected device engineering and manufacturing leader Flex, Ltd., whose efforts help Nike, Amazon, Redbox, Microsoft, and others bring products to market; Danone, makers of Dannon YoCreamTM frozen yogurt and SilkTM organic frozen dairy treats; legendary ice cream dispenser pioneer and creator of Dairy Queen’s first soft serve machine, Stoelting Food Service; and business machine innovator Pitney Bowes, which is overseeing installation and servicing.
Equally powerful is the philosophical engine creating the momentum for Generation NEXT. “Franchising, as far as I'm concerned, is about holding the hand of the prospect from the minute they call you, whether they hear you on the radio or Google-read a press release, whatever it might be,” Yates stressed. “Take their hand and hold it throughout the sales process, throughout onboarding, and all the way through to the delivery and installation and once they become operational.”
Generation NEXT identifies and procures locations for each franchisee’s operation, all in places with a high volume of foot traffic and a captive audience, including airports and transportation hubs, hospitals and medical centers, college campuses, amusement parks, and convention centers. As for security concerns, operators can be reassured that the robots are secure enough to be used at the Pentagon, where some are currently being installed.
As robotic technology grows in popularity, its cost will drop, enabling Generation NEXT to continue building its vision for robotic vending. “As it becomes more affordable for us, the idea that we can use multiple axis robotic arms to deliver almost any kind of consumable is our focus right now,” Yates shared.
“We look at all aspects of food, beverage, and frozen confectionery and ask ourselves, ‘How can we deliver it? How can we deliver it from a flavor perspective better than it currently is? How fresh can we make it? Where can we place it, if by chance we build them?’ That's really, really exciting for us.”
The same goes with the increasing availability of artificial intelligence. “There's so much available, and so much that we can build ourselves in terms of learning about our customers, what they want, what do they want at different times of the day or when there are different weather patterns, and the list goes on and on. All that data for us is very valuable, and as you know, if you don't have the data, you don't get the valuations these days.
“We are definitely focused on increasing our patent portfolio for robotic vending kiosks in general in the U.S. and around the globe, so with every new product we start designing, we will file a broad set of patents so it's just us building them and no one else,” he said. “We hope our brand becomes a household name, and we really love the idea of seeing tens of thousands of robotic arms serving customers a different range of products in the right kind of locations. These are the kinds of things that keep me excited and get me up in the morning.”
Self-serve yogurt that’s fun to grab and profits that are easy to amass? That’s worth setting our alarms for, too.
Generation NEXT Franchise Brands, Inc. (OTCQB:VEND) is a full-scale developer of Robotics + Blockchain + Artificial Intelligence innovations and technologies. They create, develop, and manufacture innovative robotic vending concepts that enhance the delivery, engagement and customer experience of food, beverage and frozen confectionary point-of-sale products around the world.