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Fast casual Coolgreens explores facial recognition, expands into fresh food vending

Coolgreens, an Oklahoma City-based health food chain, is exploring self-service kiosks equipped with facial recognition technology in addition to expanding into the fresh food vending business. Todd Madlener, company partner, discussed the company’s growth plans during a panel presentation at the recent Fast Casual Executive Summit in Austin.

“We’re currently working with one of our partners to incorporate facial recognition into Coolgreens’ restaurant design,” Robert Lee, CEO of Coolgreens, told Kiosk Marketplace via email following the Summit. “We see this as a great option to increase operational efficiency and enhance the overall guest experience.”

During his Summit presentation, Madlener said the company was pleased with the results when it placed two fresh food vending machines at a college in Oklahoma City for seven days. “It was just unbelievable to see the lines,” he said. “Whoever thought at a baseball game people would buy a salad over a funnel cake? We were selling out daily.”

“There’s just a lot of opportunity we think within these small businesses, especially in downtown Oklahoma City,” Madlener said, pointing to the success of Farmers Fridge vending fast casual salads in the Chicago market and Alpaca Market in Austin that does a lot of private vending.

“We think this will be an opportunity…another leg or spoke…for our franchisees,” he said.