For as many ingredients as they might contain, smoothies don’t take a ton of effort to make: simply dump the ingredients into a blender, let that sucker rip, then pour the drink into a cup. That’s why it makes total sense for Jamba (formerly known as Jamba Juice) to dabble in smoothie automation by deploying robots to make its signature drinks.
The brand announced via a press release shared with The Takeout that it’s working with a platform called Blendid to create the automated smoothie-makers and that the robotic kiosk concept is now being tested at a single Love’s Travel Stop, a gas station convenience store chain that should be familiar to road trip enthusiasts. The plan is for Jamba to expand to other Love’s locations in the future.
This isn’t the first time Jamba has used a robot rather than a person to make its smoothies, however. The first Jamba by Blendid automated kiosk debuted inside a Walmart Supercenter in Dixon, California, in December 2020.
TikTok user @cyncity22 documented their experience with the newbie smoothie robot, whose mechanical arm, along with multiple beverage shuttling devices, moves the drink through the production process. But when the mechanical arm attempts to pour a smoothie into a plastic cup, it gives the blender pitcher a shake in order to free the thick, uncooperative beverage stuck inside. The end result is a disaster, with most of the smoothie ending up on the counter and less than half of it ending up in the cup. You’re fired, buddy.
Another video shows the robot, this time functioning properly, in a mall location. It takes well over five minutes to receive the drink, but at least the pour didn’t end in disaster. (Robots have a hard time with liquids.) I’m a little surprised by how intricate this machine appears to be; at its core, the smoothie-making process seems like it would require a simpler set of mechanics. But what do I know? I’ve got a creative writing degree and my last job was at a pizzeria.
It seems inevitable that we’ll soon be seeing more robots in the wild serving us food. There’s already a burger dispensing kiosk out there, and Flippy’s taking over the fry station at White Castle, and robots already deliver some of your favorite snacks, so, yeah, automated smoothies were bound to happen. If you manage to try one of these Jamba drinks from a robotic kiosk sometime (there’s no details yet on expansion, but it’s coming), let us know how your experience went. We want to know if it went... smoothly.