Ice Cream Robot

The Lempert Report
May 11, 2022

Phil: So Sally, you like ice cream, right? 

Sally: I do. and I really enjoyed the ice cream truck coming to my house when I was a kid in the summertime hearing that bell ring. 

Phil: Yeah, me too. Good humor. We had good humor man, in the Northeast. What did you have in the south? 

Sally: You know, I don't remember an actual name. In fact, in my small town in Georgia, it may have just been, you know, just some individual driving a truck around, but they always had the beautiful pictures on the side of the truck with all of the different, different items you could choose from. And it was, it was very, very exciting, which it, this is really cool. Now, Unilever is offering a robotic direct to consumer ice cream sales. So it's a different modern version on the ice cream truck. 

Phil: Yeah. There's, there's this company, RoboMart, who's based in Santa Monica, like we are. And, they started a couple years ago in West Hollywood having these trucks that are like mini convenience stores. So you have an app, you can, you know, identify where you are. The truck comes to you. It is driven. It's not a robotic truck. There is a driver in it, but what happens? It looks like a minivan. And what happens is you take their app, you swipe their app when it gets to you that actually opens the door of the side. And then you see all the products there and you can just take it, almost like what Amazon is doing with the take and go technology. So, you know, it it's on your app. That's how you pay for it. 

Phil: No credit cards, you never even talked to the driver. And, now what they did is they made this deal with Unilever. Who's the world's largest producer of ice cream, Ben, and Jerry's Magnum and, and so on. So they're testing this in Los Angeles. That's a good news for us. And they're gonna do that. And it's the same thing. Now what their press release says is it takes, it could take as little as two minutes, what the company on their website says is 10 minutes, either way, it's still kind of cool, that you can have this truck come to you, how they're gonna make money. I don't know. That's the big issue for me because if I just order it and I just get like one ice cream, how can they make money? They're gonna be operating 12 hours, 12 hours a day, seven days a week. And you can get your ice cream like that, but still the, the thing for me is how do you make money on this? 

Sally: Yes. And I wonder if it's gonna be a lot like the Uber concept where you hire people to drive these and, um, the app just notifies whichever ones are in the area and closest to you and they pick up, they pick up the delivery. So it'll be interesting on how they, how they manage the logistics of that. 

Phil: Yeah. I mean, I like the other idea where it's like this mini convenience store, so what I would've done and Unilever's obviously doing it just to promote their ice cream. I just would've expanded the truck. Still have the convenience store stuff and ice cream, Unilever's brands of ice cream, because you've got a better shot, you know, at making money.