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The future of fast food hits Dunedin

News Release

The future of fast food hits Dunedin - World first for New Zealand business

Dunedin, 24th October 2003 - The world’s first Munchies Express Food store opens today in Dunedin promising healthier fast food with no delays and a guaranteed temperature on delivery. The unique New Zealand designed system aims to change the face of fast food outlets by automating food delivery, reducing labour costs and giving consistent service.

The makers, Vending Systems International, are considering potential uses for international fast food chains that struggle to balance low profit margins and labour costs while maintaining good quality customer service. Munchies Express Food store systems makes this possible.

Vending Systems International managing director Derek Brown says the opportunities are endless. “Any retail chain that provides a standard food range or menu could use the vending system. It provides good quality fast food at a controlled temperature to a large number of people at once. The way we have designed it with individual cabinets makes it like a McDonalds with 35 cash registers in a three-metre storefront. It gives consistently flawless customer service because there are no front staff.”

The system was developed over the last three years by a team of local entrepreneurs who now have an international patent pending on the system. The group secured funding assistance from Technology New Zealand for the research and development and has also attracted funding from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. It has been best described as a cross between a coin-operated vending machine and a fast food outlet

“We are particularly proud of the heating and refrigeration systems and computer software which are world firsts controlling the heat and humidity of each individual food cabinet and monitoring demand. We now have a range of options open to us including opening new stores, franchising Munchies or selling the technology to larger retailers. The potential for the new system is unlimited and we expect the Dunedin store will be the first of many,” says Mr Brown.

Customers can view the food in any one of 35 cabinets and by putting coins into the individual cabinet coin slot are then able to open the door and take the food away instantly. The separately operated cabinets mean several customers can buy food at the same time with no delays or queues.

Each LCD display tells you the price and even how much fat is in the food you are considering buying. It also monitors the time the food is displayed for and will automatically reduce the price as the expiry time draws nearer. The food is not cooked in fats or oils and even the fries are oven baked.

Other benefits of the new system include security for staff, food stays fresher for longer and no cash handling is required by staff.

Prepared for Vending Systems International by Communication by Design.

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