Healthy EATS sells healthy fresh meals and does so exclusively through unmanned outlets. At the larger, stand-alone locations, it does so from vending machines produced by Innovend. In this way the fast-growing Norwegian fast-food chain, which was launched in 2020, meets the need for readily available healthy meals. The self-service concept also reduces costs, says CFO Arve F. Eide: ‘With staff in the shop and preparation on site, we would have to rent a lot more space, and at the busy locations where our shops are, the square metres are very expensive.’

Don’t wait

Arve is one of the two founders of Healthy EATS. ‘We were still students and were both following an Entrepreneurship programme and had to develop promising ideas for this. We came up with this through market research: people were missing the opportunity to eat healthy, tasty and fresh takeaway meals quickly and easily between work and appointments. Without having to queue and wait for your order to be prepared. We decided to start offering healthy food without waiting time.’

Healthy EATS sells various bowls, such as salads and poke bowls, with chicken, salmon but also vegetarian or vegan. ‘These are not only healthier, but also more nutritious. They are complete meals; so people don’t have to worry about still being hungry after consuming their meals. The chicken noodle bowl is very popular, as is the Caesar’s Salad. Especially when a shop is newly open, lots of customers choose the Caesar’s Salad. First they take something they already know, then they start trying other versions.’

On to a hundred locations

Healthy EATS is growing rapidly. The first unmanned outlet opened in November 2020. The company now operates at 15 locations, in Oslo and Bergen. That is the status at the end of December 2021. Stavanger will follow next year and then Healthy EATS will expand across the border: to Sweden and Denmark. The ambitions are big: ‘We hope that by the end of 2022, we will have 100 locations. We have done a lot of testing: which locations are the most suitable, who our customers are and what they want to eat.’

Most of the current outlets are in business centres, coworking offices and at train stations. These are fitted with a small vending machine. For the large, unmanned shops in busy places, such as shopping centres, Healthy EATS has chosen LockBlox, Innovend’s modular locker vending machines. There are now four of such shops. This number is also set to grow rapidly.

Scanner for QR codes

‘How we ended up with Innovend? Through Google,’ says Arve. ‘The products appealed to us. They look nice, the technology is well put together and everything we need is on them. We didn’t need to make any major adjustments, as we could get along fine with the standard version. It was no problem at all that we pay with crowns and not euros in Norway, for example.’

‘We just wanted a bigger control screen and a scanner for QR codes; that was taken care of. During the first year, together with Innovend, we also changed the layout of the screen and added payment options. We are constantly testing and changing, which is an ongoing process in which Innovend is very helpful.’

Never sold out

The meals are prepared fresh daily by local restaurants that Healthy EATS works with. In the LockBox, the bowls stay fresh all day long. ‘We wanted more lockers and one product per locker; we didn’t want stock with a spiral that pushes the next meal forward when the first is sold. Then it looks as if they have been in there for a long time and are not fresh.’

There is one LockBlox per shop with 48 compartments. ‘Based on the sales data available to us through Innovend’s software platform, we know how many and which bowls to fill daily,’ Arve says. ‘We try to make sure that a flavour never sells out and that customers don’t miss out. On the other hand, our algorithms ensure that we have as little as possible left over. We have to throw away very little.’

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