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This week’s guest blogger is Slaton Smith. A restaurant marketing whiz who led key programs at Arby’s, TGI Friday’s, Applebee’s and Denny’s, Slaton talks about the industry’s trend towards customization and its impact… An accomplished writer, you can find several of Slaton’s books on Amazon.  

When a store turns on its lights early in the morning, it’s inviting consumers into visit, to shop and to do business, but it’s also making a promise.   Drive up and down the street in any city and you’ll see sign after sign for everything from auto parts, to coffee, to hamburgers. Each sign represents something different and companies spend a lot of money to make sure that consumers understand what each one of those signs stands for and why the brand behind the sign is a must have in the life of a consumer.

All brands want to be loved! But to be loved they need to stay relevant. They need to understand that their customers are constantly changing their minds on what they want to buy. These can be sudden changes or gradual changes, but for a brand to compete they need to evolve. As they evolve to stay relevant, the brand promise evolves too.   The brand promise might extend to new services or product offerings. The brand is a differentiator and as consumer needs change, so does the importance of delivering the promise. Fresh food is emerging as a key point of brand differentiation and companies are scrambling to position their brand as the “fresh destination”.

According to a recent Nielsen study, 88% of people polled are willing to spend more of their budgets on fresh food. This isn’t a single demographic that’s saying this. It is everyone from Generation Z to Boomers. A solid fresh food offering could equate to an increase in average check for many industries.   In addition, more and more consumers are gravitating towards what they perceive as “healthy” brands, and spending their money there.

So, this sounds great, doesn’t it? Just offer more fresh food in your store or office break room and you will see sales increases. It’s just that easy, right?

Well, it’s not that easy. Consumer’s also want to take control of their experience. They demand customization. They also want it fast.   This translates to an increase in labor costs and operator frustration at the point of consumer contact. They need a solution to keep up with ever changing consumer demands. So, offering fresh food isn’t so easy after all.

This is where robotics steps in. Robotic solutions can automate the delivery of fresh food to consumers, reduce labor costs and eliminate many operational struggles at the same time.   Robots like Sally the Salad Robot work 24/7, producing a great product every time a guest places an order, serving up tasty fresh food and making good on a brand’s promise.

Sally the Salad Robot and her robot peers have the ability to bring customizable, fresh food to places that brands never thought were possible such as, airports, office breakrooms, convenience stores and college dorms.

Sometimes a brand needs a helping hand to deliver a promise. Sally the Salad Robot is happy to help.