But will SoraNews24 Strawberry Latte hit Mr. Sato’s sweet spot?
Despite what it might look like, col.a.fruits is not a vending machine; it is a new drinks stand located in the Shinjuku Marui mall. The name of the store is a portmanteau of the words ‘Color‘ and ‘fruits’, and is meant to be pronounced as karafuru (colored). The store specializes in fruit drinks and currently has six fruit lattes and six fruit teas available for purchase.
But what separates col.a.fruits from other beverage stands is the possibility of customization — customers can not only choose the type of drink they want, but also customize bottle label designadding their own choice of color and text.
The store is unstaffedcustomers must therefore design and pay for their drinks via a special website on their smartphone or computer, then collect them from the special lockers in the store once the order has been placed.
All in all a pretty futuristic process, so we decided to send our own Mr Satoa man always at the forefront of futuristic trends, to try his luck.
First, he had to place his order, so he went to the website to start customizing. There were a surprisingly large number of options available for Mr. Sato to customize:
- Softness level (choose from three different levels)
- Toppings (extra fruit or coco de nata)
- The name to print on the label (up to 10 alphanumeric characters)
- The color of the label (choose from 15 different colors)
- The emoji stamp above the name (choose from 20 different stamps)
- The English message above the name (choose from eight different messages)
After careful consideration, Mr. Sato decided to opt for a strawberry latte (920 yen [US$6.39]) with some extra fruit toppings (108 yen [US$0.75]) and experimented with a variety of stamps and colors. He decided to go with the name ‘Rocket News‘ (our Japanese sister site), but as the total price was more than 1,000 yen, he had no intention of sharing his drink with the rest of the team anytime soon; it was a drink just for Mr. Sato to enjoy!
▼ She’s here…Mr. Sato’s Personalized Strawberry Latte!
Once Mr. Sato was done designing his perfect drink, it was time to pay for it.
Payment is made through the O:der payment app (pronounced “order” not, as I originally assumed, “smell”) and can be done without registration.
Once your payment has been made, you get a QR code which you scan to collect your drink at the store. Note the 30-minute window of time given to Mr. Sato to collect his drink – in order to keep the drinks in their best condition, any order not collected within the time limit is withdrawnso be sure to pick up yours in time.
Luckily, Mr. Sato arrived on schedule, so after scanning the QR code at the store terminal…
…his bespoke order appeared on screen, ready to “drop” into the locker below!
Your da! The drink appeared in the locker, ready to be taken home by Mr. Sato!
Mr Sato’s first personalized Strawberry Latte!
It even had Mr. Sato’s personalized instructions printed on the front – less syrup and extra fruit garnish.
It was certainly a high-tech way to order drinks, and Mr. Sato looked like he had a glimpse of what was to come as he took a sip of his personalized drink. He was living in the future with his own personalized drinks! It was amazing!
Or so he thought, because as Mr. Sato dwelled on his adventure into the world of futuristic drink orders, he couldn’t help but conclude that it was a little too complicated.
The col.a.fruits store could be a fun and unique way to send a gift to friends via a QR code, as long as you know they’re close enough and have time to pick it up when ‘he is ready. But with the drink costing around twice the price of an average Starbucks coffee, plus the time it took to fully customize the bottle, Mr Sato concluded it was fair. just too much effort to put in regularlyand it’s just easier to ask “I’ve got one, please” to cashiers at regular drink stands.
It’s not all bad news though; Mr. Sato admitted that the drink itself was quite tasty and refreshing. So in case the price drops and the ordering process becomes slightly more efficient, it’s sure to become a must-have in the future.
For now, though, he’ll likely stick to the old way of buying drinks.
col.a.fruits / Colored (col.a.fruits)
Address: Shinjuku Marui Main Building 1F, 3-30-13 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Shinjuku Marui Main Building 1F, 3-30-13 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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[ Read in Japanese ]