A robot that makes a mean cup of frozen yogurt while shrinking a 1,500 square foot store into a 15 square space is the tasty business proposition behind Frobot, Inc. This Palo Alto start-up operates as a franchise model with a key distinction that front-line, retail employees are not necessary. Thanks to broadband and an easy-to-use app, an owner always knows the status of her frozen yogurt dispensing machines and when to add supplies or perform routine cleaning tasks. It also includes the back-end to make it easy for a franchisee to dynamically change prices.
Adding to Frobot’s credibility is its relationship with the Taylor Company to maintain the units. Taylor is a familiar name in the ice cream and frozen yogurt business. Its diminutive size and relatively low cost (e.g. less than $50k start-up costs), could mean we might see fresh frozen yogurt in places where it otherwise would have not been possible. Size, cost, and ease of operation aside, it succeeds in the most important parameter of all; good-tasting frozen yogurt.
[Added 03/03/22 – It looks like Frobot is no more. The Frobot founders used the technology to create the basis for a new company, Kytch. They had a level of success with franchisees of McDonald’s. Unfortunately for Kytch, McDonald’s corporate didn’t see things the same way and told its franchisees that the Kytch devices violated machine warranties, amongst other allegations. On March 1st, 2022, Kytch sued McDonald’s for $900 million in damages.]