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Food, Beverage & Hospitality
Published: 6 Oct 2017

Customisable Salad Vending Machine


Californian food-service robotics start-up Chowbotics has developed a compact vending machine dubbed Sally that dispenses customisable salads in 60 seconds.

To operate the robot, patrons use a touchscreen display to select either a chef-created salad or one of up to 1,000 different customisable variations using ingredients such as kale, seared chicken, olives and walnuts. Sally then measures out each pre-chopped ingredient and dispenses the salad. It also lets consumers control the number of calories the salad contains by adjusting ingredients.

Approximately the size of a mini refrigerator and taking up less room than a traditional salad bar, Sally reduces food waste by keeping the ingredients cool and avoids potential contamination by removing the human element of preparation.

Currently in use at Palo Alto-based restaurant and market Calafia Café, run by Californian ex-Google chef Charlie Ayers, Sally is also on trial at several small offices in California, where a third party is responsible for refilling ingredients.

To read more on automation in the food and drink space, see Fast Food Shifts Mechanics, Future Supermarket Strategies and The Tech-Powered Supermarket.

See also Smart Sustenance and Post-Kitchen Lifestyles for insights into mobile vending as part of in-office culinary replenishment.