Lunchtime approaches in the offices, and the main question the staff discusses is what or where to eat. If you choose to go to the store, you will line up for rather long, if you go to a cafe, you will have to wait longer than usual for the order because lunchtime is a “peak” hour.
And now imagine a frige with fresh and delicious meals installed in your office which will solve the “lunch problem” by simply downloading an app and paying with a bank card. KerPak Technology has imagined it and created an automated sales system that combines food and technology.
KerPak is an automated kiosk. In the future, sales will be expanded and include non-food products.
We talked to Vahan Vardanyan, the founder of KerPak Technology, about the creation, development of technology and its entry into the foreign market under the full “Made in Armenia” brand.
What is KerPak?
KerPak is an automated kiosk – a fridge which can be installed in any office. We got the name from the Armenian word “ker” (“eat”) and “krpak” (“kiosk”), but in the future, we definitely plan to sell non-food products in KerPak.
These kiosks are mutually beneficial – through it our partners enhance presence in places they are not represented at, and companies offer their employees a new service that is very convenient and already popular.
To buy food from KerPak, you need to download our app, register by attaching a bank card. The app will show you where the nearest kiosks are. To open KerPak fridge, you need to scan the QR code on it, select what you want and buy it by scanning the barcode.
Sometimes people ask, “what if I take the meal and leave without paying?” All our kiosks have AI cameras. We installed them to first of all see what problems a customer faces while using KerPak, but these videos, of course, can also be used for security purposes. Through the app, the customer can see what meals are in the fridge at that very moment. The menu is updated in real time.
Instead of buying, we decided to create our own technology
Founded 4 years ago, Gouroo Club & Garden was popular with visitors, but the flow of visitors in summer and winter differed a lot. We were thinking about how to resolve this issue and ensure a stable sale, regardless of the time of the year.
On the other hand, I often traveled and worked with foreign partners. I started noticing such fridges in their offices. The first time I used such a kiosk was in Moscow. It was served by my favorite restaurant. Within minutes I scanned the QR code, paid with the card and without going anywhere and wasting time, enjoyed the food of my favorite restaurant.
My first thought was to buy this solution and localize it in Armenia, but after studying foreign markets and similar solutions, I realized that they are quite expensive and not very flexible. Given to my experience in the IT field, I decided not to buy, but to create my own Armenian technology.
Initially, we created KerPak Technology to enter the global market and considered Armenia as a pilot one.
Our system is designed so that even today it can work outside of Armenia, accept payments in different currencies and work with the financial systems of about 40 countries.
KerPak is a new source of income for our partners
The first KerPak was launched about a year ago. We currently have 15 operating kiosks, more than 3,500 users and 4 partners. Most of the KerPaks are installed in the offices of IT companies, as after talking to the heads of these companies, we realized that they do need them.
People in the IT industry often work overtime or in different time zones so having a fridge with fresh meals in the office is very convenient. We will not limit ourselves to this and will expand. We recently installed KerPak in one of the banks, and it works quite well.
In our fridges you can find EasyEat meals, this is a project of Gouroo restaurant, we have Aries Lunch, Foody branded kiosks, and recently we have been joined by Garun cafe. The network of partners will be expanded. Cooperation talks are already underway with other restaurants. This cooperation has a number of advantages for restaurants. First, it allows to better utilize their kitchen, that is, to prepare meals, when the flow of visitors is not intense, and sell them at lunchtime. Second, restaurants can sell their meals in places where they are not physically present, thus expanding the network and gaining a new source of income. This makes our partners very happy.
Presented meals and quality control
KerPak is a technological solution and is responsible for the operation of automated kiosks, while the restaurant, which is represented in KerPak, deals with the logistics issues of meals and their refreshments. In the fridges you can find the favorite meals of partner restaurants, as well as meals prepared especially for this format. The possibility to work with the data of the system enables to compile and modify menus. Partners can see what the customers buy the most and compile a menu based on this data.
Everything in the fridge has date of expiry, and if the meal is out of date, KerPak will simply not allow you to buy it. All our fridges monitor the heat. If the temperature there is higher than allowed, the fridge will send a warning signal. After a few warnings, the fridge will turn off, not allowing you to buy. We fully provide the technical security, while our partners are responsible for the meals. But if we see that a partner regularly faces a quality problem, we will stop working with him/her.
KerPak is a completely “Made in Armenia” technology
Technically, the team consists of two parts. Our software partner is Instigate Mobile. As for the device, it is assembled in Armenia by LimeTech company. The idea and the final design of the product – everything from the beginning till the end – are made in Armenia. This is a circumstance that makes us feel really proud.
It is completely “Made in Armenia” technology. This is also very important for the team, because technology companies often work on foreign projects from Armenia, while in this case they create Armenian technology, which will very soon enter the international market.
The first exports were made to Switzerland and Canada
When we realized that this product is ready for export, we started looking for companies that will help us enter the international market. We can not name them yet, but we have already made exports to Switzerland and Canada. We will be going to the United States soon. This technology will be presented as “Made in Armenia” brand in all countries.
We plan to expand the format of these automated kiosks in the future. In addition to fridges, there will also be a freezer version, for example, for ice cream. There will also be mobile kiosks for non-food items, such as cosmetics. Our goal is to move from a limited space – a fridge, a cabin, a freezer – to a larger scale, that is, to build automated small stores, like the well-known Amazon Go.
Photos by Emin Aristakesyan