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Subway is testing a sandwich vending machine at a college, and the company says it has received “overwhelmingly positive” feedback from students.

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In September, the international sandwich chain reportedly installed a new Subway smart refrigerator at UC San Diego, Subway said in a press release on Monday, Nov. 14.

Subway says the “fully automatic” and “interactive” smart refrigerator is the first of its kind.

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The signature vending machine is backed by Subway Grab & Go, a network of franchisees who make sandwiches for third-party outlets — and according to Subway, it’s replenished daily with fresh ingredients from nearby franchisees in the La Jolla, California area.

Subway’s unmanned smart refrigerator reportedly uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing so customers can inquire about product availability or report sandwich orders.

According to Subway, the vending machine has built-in shelves with weight sensors and a UV sanitizer that measures the weight of packaged sandwiches for accurate pricing and food quality assurance.

A digital rendering of the Subway Smart Fridge also shows that the vending machine can be filled with bottled drinks and packets of chips.

UC San Diego students walking down the path

Subway says the initial feedback the brand received from college students was “extremely positive” and its franchisees have expressed interest in adding smart refrigerators to their independent business.

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FOX Business has reached out to Subway for comment on whether Subway smart refrigerators will be installed in other regions.

“Subway Grab & Go has quickly gained popularity as consumers are attracted to fresh sandwiches made every day from a brand they know and love, as opposed to competitor products that have a shelf life of more than 14 days,” said Carla Martinez, Chief Innovation Officer. in a non-profit organization. -traditional development in Subway, in a statement.

Subway 'Grab and Go' sandwich vending machine by Vicki

“As Subway continues to expand takeout concepts, guests can look forward to Subway Grab & Go and smart refrigerators appearing in more convenient everyday locations such as airports, college campuses and hospitals,” Martinez continued.

Subway expansion to pickup level sandwich business It comes at a time when the brand has about 5,900 non-traditional locations in the US and Canada, representing about 25% of Subway’s presence in North America, the chain said in a press release.

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Non-traditional locations include airports, truck stops, college campuses, convenience stores, gas stores, and hospitals, according to Subway.

These locations have been reported to have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but Subway says the company “experienced a 22% increase in sales on average” in non-traditional locations, which could mean “a strong recovery in 2022 across pandemic-hit channels.” ,” Subway said in a press release.

Subway Wrapped Take and Go Sandwich

“As more of our guests seek out restaurants to satisfy their momentary needs, non-traditional locations and brand platforms can serve them anywhere and anytime they crave Subway,” said Taylor Bennett, vice president of the nonprofit. -traditional development in Subway, in a statement.

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Bennett continued, “With Subway’s focus on strategic and profitable growth, we have a great opportunity to expand our presence in non-traditional locations and franchisees to generate additional revenue for their business.”