Smart vending machine amenity added to Vancouver rental housing complex

Mar 8 2021, 9:41 am

Residents of a rental housing complex in downtown Vancouver’s West End now have access to a vending machine that dispenses prepared meals.

UpMeals is operating its first SmartVending machine in the Larch Tower lobby of the Beach Towers on the English Bay waterfront, providing over 1,000 residents in the complex with 24/7 access to healthy meal, snack, and drink options.

This is a unique building amenity that is replenished frequently to ensure freshness, with landlord Devonshire Properties monitoring their vending machine remotely, building menus based on the popularity of food items, and creating plans for meals nearing their expiry date.

Prior to the installation of the refrigerated machine, a survey of residents indicated they wanted healthy and fresh options, which led to the creation of a menu of white-labelled items such as a breakfast wrap, baja chicken salad bowl, and seed nut superfood bar.

A large touchscreen for selecting options on the device can be activated with any object for safe COVID-19 use.

upmeals smartvending machine devonshire properties

UpMeals SmartVending Machine. (UpMeals/Devonshire Properties)

“Many residential rental buildings in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland are looking for ways to ensure tenants are looked after, happy, and healthy, especially as we continue to navigate the pandemic,” said Drew Munro, co-Founder and CEO of UpMeals, in a statement.

“Devonshire Properties has seized an opportunity to disrupt the rental market by offering this value-add to their tenants.”

Any meals that are not sold within their expiry date will be donated to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

upmeals smartvending machine devonshire properties

UpMeals SmartVending Machine. (UpMeals/Devonshire Properties)

Additionally, the machine will also hold 25% of items that are daily necessities, such as laundry cards, detergent, and toothpaste.

Each machine holds approximately 120 items, so for larger buildings with many residents, multiple machines may be required to service the needs of residents. The average minimum number of residents, visitors, and employees to make a successful vending program is about 100 people.

“When we heard about the UpMeals SmartVending machine, we saw huge potential benefit for our tenants and residents,” said Cody Neal, vice president of Devonshire Properties. “Not only does it give them access to convenient, affordable food options which they’ve helped create, it is well-timed while many pivot to working from home. Onsite access to safe and healthy fresh food options really seems to have residents excited.”

The landlord plans to customize and install additional machines at its other properties across the region.

Beach Towers 1600 Beach Avenue 1651 Harwood Street

Existing condition of Beach Towers at 1600 Beach Avenue and 1651 Harwood Street, Vancouver. (Goodman Commercial)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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