HALO Gourmet Vending Machine
Product: Egro One, Rancilio
Partner: Matthew Algie
Thanks to the meteoric rise of the specialty coffee industry, consumers today are coffee savvy and quality-driven. But they’re often also rushed. Much as they’d love that large latte with an extra shot of decaf, they can’t always wait for the barista to whip up their coffee. Enter the next big opportunity in high-tech convenience – gourmet, coffee-house-style coffee available anywhere, anytime via self-serve, automated kiosks. It’s a segment that’s beginning to percolate, with the recent introduction concepts such as Café X, a robotic coffee bar concept in San Francisco, and HALO, a next-gen kiosk developed by Matthew Algie, a Glasgow-based roaster that supplies premium beans, equipment, and training resources to operators across the UK and Ireland. “As in the US, we’ve seen a big trend in the UK around convenience for coffee, but also this idea of quality,” says Andrew Jack, marketing director, Matthew Algie. “As the availability of coffee improves, people are more discerning. We’d been thinking about vending for a number of years and set out to deliver the best cup of vending coffee out there. While existing offerings were quite nice from a technology and user experience standpoint, vending coffee quality was invariable disappointing.” With coffeehouse-level quality a primary focus, Matthew Algie partnered with Rancilio Group to put the fully-automatic EGRO coffee machine at the heart of the HALO vending kiosk. “We began collaborating on this about five years ago, bringing together Matthew’s coffee expertise and Rancilio’s equipment expertise to create a high-quality solution for the vending market,” says Andrea Lucchini, sales manager, Europe, Rancilio. “The idea was to put a professional, fully-automatic machine inside a kiosk with an iconic, premium, and engaging aesthetic.” “We were lucky to have a good partner to develop this with,” adds Ewan Reid, managing director, Matthew Algie. “We work with a lot of different coffee machines, but across just about every measure we know that the cup quality from the EGRO is really strong. We essentially built the kiosk and the customer experience around that machine because we knew it could deliver. It was also an obvious choice because it’s so reliable, even under consistently heavy demand. Our highest volume machine does several hundred cups a day. We need that kind of reliability.” Technology advancements ensure convenience extends to the operator and the consumer. The EGRO’s internal telemetry system enables kiosk owners to monitor and control the machines remotely. “For a single machine or for machines across multiple locations, they’re able to remotely adjust drink settings; check bean and milk inventory levels; analyze sales statistics, and receive messages relating to technical assistance and maintenance,” Lucchini says. Designed to service on-the-go customers in markets from service stations and hospitals to department stores and gyms, the HALO kiosk features a large, high-definition touch screen interface. The compact units can be finished with any operator’s branding and set up to accept contactless payment and/or payment at the cashier. Beverages available include coffee and espresso-based drinks, tea, and hot chocolate. The kiosks hold two types of fresh milk and two varieties of coffee beans. Customers simply use the touch screen to select their drink (including latte, cappuccino, flat white, espresso/double espresso, macchiato, and mocha). They choose their bean and milk preferences before being prompted to place their cup. In under a minute, their beverage is ready.
Interview: Andrea Lucchini – Regional Sales Manager Europe
When was the machine introduced?
The HALO idea starts 5 years ago. Talking about future cooperation Matthew Algie and Rancilio Group decided, bringing together the coffee and equipment expertise, to start a project to give a high-quality solution to the gourmet vending market. The idea was to use a professional high quality fully automatic machine, like EGRO is, inside a vending machine with an iconic, premium, and engaging aesthetic.
For which market segments is it particularly well-suited? Is it designed primarily for ease of use by staff serving customers, or as a self-service convenience for direct customer use?
This is an ideal solution for the Gourmet Hot Drink Vending market, which is growing constantly.
The machine is pure self-service convenience for direct customer use.
During World of Coffee Amsterdam, we were invited to enjoy “Automating Excellence”, a new initiative bringing together major fully automatic machine manufacturers to create a space where attendees can taste the world’s finest coffee brewed by a selection of the most innovative fully-automated machines. There we displayed Egro NEXT, our brand-new product.
What are the newest or best features/benefits that this machine brings to the market – addressing both the technology and the convenience topics of this story?
This machine brings high-quality products, using the best EGRO technology combined with the wise use of top ingredients. From HALO you have 35 drinks selection combination, 2 kinds of coffee beans freshly ground to order, 2 different kinds of milk, high quality vending chocolate, an engaging touchscreen that allows you to select the beverage and customize it according to the needs. Payment can be done directly at the machine (contactless via cellular 2G), or also at the till.
The smart Self-Adjusting Grinder system ensures perfect grinding and correct extraction while also allowing you to correct any in-cup quality alterations caused by interaction with uncontrollable external factors, such as the state of preservation of the coffee and weather conditions.
On request, Egro fully automatic coffee machines can be supplied with a number of payment systems using external devices or such applications as Samsung Pay or WeChat Wallet. In partnership with our key clients, Egro LAB designs personalized solutions for all needs and it shares its wealth of experience with new customers to transform the demands of the market into brand new, state-of-the-art products.
The telemetry connection allows also to control the machine remotely and check the thresholds to optimize the daily work. Cleaning of the machine is automatic and can grant always constant high-quality products delivery.
Connect is the remote system, enabling the operator to monitor all the operations of a single fully automatic machine or of a whole set of machines. This makes it possible to adjust preferred settings for the various drinks, check the levels for beans, milk, and waste drawer to notify the operator, analyze consumption statistics and read any messages relating to technical assistance and maintenance.
As a well-designed product HALO is accessible to all users, including those with mobility impairments. For those, the interface is user-friendly and the controls can be easily set by the user at the bottom of the interface.
What is its footprint, and what’s needed from a mechanical standpoint (power, water) to ensure proper installation/operation?
The machine is very compact and can be installed in a space of 90 cm (W), 185 cm (D), and 200 m (H). it can be installed anywhere under 13 AMP at 230V 1 phase, perfect to be installed in convenience stores, universities, train stations, hospitals, and every location where self-service is needed.
Please walk me through the experience of using the machine. If I’m the consumer, how do I order and pay?
When I join the location I’m usually captured by the design of the machine and by the layout of the touch screen. The menu is divided into 3 parts, based on the products family (tea, coffee, and chocolate). When you select the family, you reach a sub-menu where you can find the products based on the family selected. Once you select the product you wish to take, you can also adjust the quantity of the ingredients (more milk? less coffee?). the interface gives you the possibility to increase or decrease the quantity and show you, during the brewing, a nice video of the coffee machine tamping and brewing. Once you selected and confirmed the beverage, then you can pay with your credit card directly on the machine, or you can take your beverage and pay at the till. At the end…. you just need to enjoy your favorite drink!
Can you provide examples of how long it might take for the machine to prepare popular top-quality coffee beverages, from order to completion? How does it compare to more traditional, full-service coffee preparation?
the machine brewing time and set up is studied to brew always the top-quality products, to have a very nice espresso or a cappuccino with perfect milk foam. A 12 Oz Cappuccino, for example, can be delivered in around 40 seconds.
What type of coffee is or can be used in the machine? Any beans the operator wants to feature?
The machine has 2 hoppers of 1,2 kg each capacity. Every hopper can take a different kind of coffee, so you have an option of 2 kinds of beans for every product selection. This is very flexible and allows the customer to choose according to his taste. You can have for instance one-hopper with 100% arabica certified beans, and another hopper with decaf beans.
What is the machine’s capacity – i.e., drinks per day or hour?
The machine capacity is around 250/300 cups a day, is a machine studied to work in a high consumption environment keeping the quality of the products very high also during peak hours.
What type/amount of labor is required at a minimum to maintain and operate the machine?
Thanks to the high level of reliability of the machine, and to the EGRO LAB experience, the TCO of the machine is very low. One of the most important requirements is to clean the machine every day with the right detergents, this is the best way to keep the quality of the beverage always high and reduce the possibility of issues on the machine.
Other important topics to discuss?
I think is important to underline that a team of specialists from RANCILIO and MATTHEW ALGIE worked together to create a product that wants to fulfill the market needs and give a unique and great experience to the customer!
The synergy thus produced by constant discussion and high-tech research, also involved customers in a useful dialogue at the design stage to gain a better understanding of market requirements both today and in the near future.