Veg’n Out Uses Byte Smart Fridges to Diversify Revenue Streams and Expand Brand Awareness
Veg’n Out is a plant-based business serving raw cold-pressed juices, smoothies, salads and more in Lake Nona, Florida. Founder and Operator, Ashley Swanson-Torres, and her team place a large emphasis on helping residents live a healthy lifestyle through delicious whole foods.
“We want the Veg’n Out brand to be synonymous with health and wellness in Lake Nona. And that’s where Byte smart fridges came into play."
Launching a brand in the midst of a global pandemic caused Veg’n Out to experience slow walk-in traffic at their storefront. Expanding to other retail locations would require significant capital and high overhead costs.
Leverage smart fridge technology that allows Veg’n Out to drive consistent revenue, even when days are slow at the store. Partner with other brands that align with Veg’n Out’s healthy-living mission to expand brand awareness.
Byte fridges provide recurring revenue to help cover payroll and overhead expenses of the main store, improving business profitability. Scalable smart fridges enabled Veg’n Out to add a new revenue stream with minimal increases in packaging and labor costs.
Veg’n Out opened during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic with less-than-optimal foot traffic
Ashley Swanson-Torres is passionate about sharing delicious, plant-based whole food with Lake Nona residents and guests. Lake Nona is one of America’s fastest growing communities and a global destination for health and wellness. Just as her dream of opening Veg’n Out became a reality in 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic hit. When she was finally able to open the doors in September 2020, initial foot traffic was slow due to cautious customers.
“We had already signed a lease for our retail space and were too far into the process, so we continued and started the build out of our retail space the same week that the country shut down.”
Ashley knew that for Veg’n Out to succeed both financially and sustainably, the business would have to branch out of its flagship location. However, opening another retail store is an expensive endeavor for a new small business, especially amidst the rising food costs and inflation over the last three years.
With the goal to establish Veg’n Out as the thought leader for truly healthy food in Lake Nona , Ashley set her sight on serving the community where they were, in a post COVID world, when they needed it the most.
“We needed more than just walk-in traffic and wanted to elevate and deepen the Veg’n Out brand in the Lake Nona market.”
Heightened brand awareness and increased revenue through smart fridges at aligned partner locations
After considering various ways to expand Veg’n Out’s reach outside of its first location, Ashley discovered Byte’s smart vending machines. Byte retail fridges would allow Veg’n Out to prepare food in a central location, then sell it via autonomous mini storefronts around Lake Nona. She quickly realized this was the direction her company needed to take.
“I know that I can add more machines and still only have to pay rent for one store. It’s an easier way for us to scale.”
A core component of the Veg’n Out mission is to “share their love of healthy and fulfilling food that leaves customers feeling good from the inside out.” To accomplish this, Ashley began fostering meaningful partnerships within the Lake Nona health and wellness business community and installing unattended Byte fridges strategically at these locations.
Today, Veg’n Out has Byte Technology smart coolers at multiple businesses and medical facilities around Lake Nona including the Lake Nona Performance Club, the UCF College of Medicine, and Nemours Children’s Hospital. Each smart fridge is stocked with 100% plant-based foods tailored to the specific location’s audience including raw cold-pressed juices, salads, protein bites, snacks, and more.
“I know that I can add more machines and still only have to pay rent for one store. It's an easier way for us to scale.”
An additional revenue stream supports flagship retail store, leading the company to greater profitability and a scalable growth strategy
The value of Veg’n Out’s smart fridges first appeared in the form of community brand exposure.
“People come into the store and say ‘We saw you over at LNPC and that’s how we found you.’ So really, that brand exposure from the smart fridges drives some of our in-store traffic, too.”
The revenue from these smart fridges help cover the operating costs of the retail location, allowing Ashley and her team to maintain a profitable business venture while remaining true to their mission and growth goals.
“It covers my rent and some of my payroll. When we have a slow day in the store due to rain, for example, we’ll see a jump in sales across our Smart Coolers.”
Ashley also appreciates how easy it is to move Byte fridges, giving her team the flexibility to find the best-fit locations without over-committing to a poor location.
“When you look at the Byte dashboard, you can see how many items are moving in a day. The greatest thing is, if it’s not working in one spot, you can have a warm list of interested locations ready to move it to.”
Veg’n Out continues to grow throughout the Lake Nona area and Ashley doesn’t plan to stop any time soon.
“I’d much rather invest in more machines than anything else. It’s something I can control and even overlay some really cool lunch delivery programs with out-of-the-box technology and very little impact to my operations.”
"My strategy going forward is really expanding our fleet of Byte vending machines versus opening more retail stores. Using just one retail store to support many Byte smart fridges better meets the consumer where they are in post-COVID world."
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