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Americas: Startup rolls out self-serve frozen yogurt kiosk

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FroYo XPress, a Purdue student startup, is developing a robotic, self-serve frozen yogurt kiosk with all–natural and non-dairy options. The kiosk will allow customers to dispense as much frozen yogurt as they like then assign a price to that volume, with minimal inventory and labor requirements. (FroYo XPress Image)

FroYo XPress, a Purdue student startup, is developing an automated, self-serve frozen yogurt kiosk that will offer an all-natural, non-dairy frozen yogurt with minimal inventory and labor requirements.

Aarti Panda, a student in Purdue University’s Department of Computer Science, and Marek Davis and Henry Berkemeier, both in the School of Industrial Engineering, co-founded FroYo XPress to improve customers’ frozen yogurt experiences with a self-serve design.

The company will customize pre-existing customer service software to allow consumers to buy as much frozen yogurt as they want by pulling a lever.

The kiosk will monitor the frozen yogurt volume dispensed and determine the corresponding price.

“FroYo XPress incorporates the typical self-serve frozen yogurt experience into locations where traditional brick and mortar frozen yogurt shops cannot access, such as universities,” Davis said.

“With our technology, we can reach customers in high-foot traffic locations with minimal inventory and labor.”

“Similar to gas pumps’ volume-to-price conversion, a software algorithm will translate the customers’ frozen yogurt amount into a price,” Davis said.

FroYo XPress has received US$33,500 in funding from two competitions and an award.

The company aims to place kiosks in multiple locations within a community and be maintained by separate retailers but they would share FroYo Xpress as its one distributor.

“Once we find a location, we should only need two months to install a prototype,” Davis said.

“Our programming is based on existing software from our manufacturer, but we will add a unique self-serve algorithm to create the interactive customer experience.”

Other frozen yogurt kiosks allow consumers to choose their preferred sizes or flavors but this device will dispense the product through its robotic programming.

FroYo XPress receives entrepreneurial mentorship and support from the Purdue Foundry, a commercialization accelerator in the Discovery Park’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

The Purdue Foundry is an entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator in Discovery Park’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship whose professionals help Purdue innovators create startups.

Story by Kelsey Henry from Purdue University