Oklahoma Christian University recently added the first Reis and Irvy’s frozen yogurt machine in the state of Oklahoma to the Gaylord University Center, allowing students to enjoy cold treats on the go.
Reis and Irvy’s Franchise, Inc. is a subsidiary of Generation NEXT, a publicly traded company operating under the stock ticker, ‘VEND,’ which is recognized as “the world’s first robotic frozen yogurt vending kiosk.” The machine combines automated technology, music and video animation to serve custom-ordered frozen yogurt with a variety of flavors and toppings in less than 60 seconds.
The machine’s sales numbers indicate students have been actively purchasing frozen yogurt since its installation two weeks ago. Kristopher Barlow, the Reis and Irvy’s franchise owner for the Oklahoma City area, said Oklahoma Christian is already beating records for total sale numbers company-wide.
“The machine at Oklahoma Christian is robot number 108 off the total production line and robot number one off the production line in just Oklahoma,” Barlow said. “Oklahoma Christian set the record for first full day sales chain wide—110 cups in one day. A small, Christian school in Oklahoma beat the University of New Mexico, a big, public university.”
Some students, including sophomore Nash Scott, said they are enjoying the frozen yogurt machine’s convenience and central location on campus. Scott said he usually prefers to go off campus to eat, but the accessibility and speed of the Reis and Irvy’s machine gives it an advantage over off-campus dining options.
“There’s a thrill in going off campus, but it is super convenient to have frozen yogurt in the student center,” Scott said. “So, if I feel like a sweet treat, but don’t want to go off campus, then I can just grab it there.”
There are more than 200 Reis and Irvy’s franchises operating in the U.S., with more projected to open in upcoming years. Barlow said the company’s success comes from a complex understanding of retail trends and consumer demands for more entertaining production methods.
“Overall, it’s essentially taking technology and understanding where retail is going,” Barlow said. “You see on the news everywhere, year after year, sales are going down, so how do you compete with that? You’ve got to be able to catch up. From a technological perspective, this is the first concept out of the gate.”
Other students have voiced their appreciation to Oklahoma Christian for actively investing in its campus and students’ interests, such as sophomore Hannah Durham, who said the frozen yogurt machine has improved the university center and made it a more welcome place for students to gather.
“I really like the placement of the machine,” Durham said. “As someone who wants to see people in the student center, it adds a little something to campus where people can get frozen yogurt and hang out. It definitely adds something to the student center.”
The frozen yogurt kiosks require very little maintenance and no employee operations, allowing Reis and Irvy’s to function as a low-overhead, profitable company. Barlow said the easy nature of the company makes it an ideal franchise in which to manage and invest.
“I owned another brand franchise previously,” Barlow said. “I could make decent money on a gross margin, but by the time you pay rent, labor and insurances required, it was hard to make money. This franchise takes all those things out—it’s all variable cost.”
Durham said the automated process of serving the frozen yogurt made trying the machine an enjoyable experience.
“It was really fun to watch the whole process of getting frozen yogurt and then the toppings that you picked,” Durham said. “It was definitely something to talk about, because the process of watching it be distributed was really cool.”
Barlow said he encourages all Oklahoma Christian students to check out the Reis and Irvy’s frozen yogurt machine in the student center and enjoy the experience.
“The product is delicious,” Barlow said. “Everything is on demand—you order it, you grab a spoon, you’re on your way.”