It's f'real – a big LCD screen on a milkshake machine

October 23, 2009 by Dave Haynes

My Preset partner colleague Pat Hellberg was at the National Association of Convenience Stores show in Vegas the last couple of days, primarily to check out the content his team developed over the last few months for a very interesting new project aimed squarely at the c-store business.

San Francisco-based f’real has developed and put on the market the second generation of a very popular gizmo that gets parked on a counter in stores and bangs out milkshakes and smoothies in a minute. Frozen cups get pulled from an adjacent freezer, dropped in a collar, and off she goes.

There are 1,000s already out there, but the new version includes a 22″ inch screen in portrait mode that plays an attract loop when not busy and a specific set of files when the machine is whirring away.

There will likely be 1,000s of these units in the market in the coming years and my 24-pack tummy has not, happily, spotted one in my area as yet.

I like this because the company went to the trouble to carefully think through and design something that had impact. They are using it to market their own product and not to make imaginary money through advertising. And they invested in good content (Pat used to run the Nike network, so he knows).

Those vendors reading this closely, wondering if there is an opportunity here, should note the software job was at play many months ago (when I was still selling that stuff) and it was long ago sewed up and now in good hands (so not mine).

I am not sure it is OK to say who, so I will leave it to those folks. The requirements were simple, but the DS part also had to talk to and interact with the blender part … not so simple.

I like. 

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