Seattle’s Best Coffee has signed an exclusive agreement with Coinstar Inc. to roll out new automated coffee kiosk machines in thousands of grocery and other retail stores across the country, bringing premium coffee to places it was never served before.
Under the five-year agreement, the companies will begin rolling out the unmanned machines — dubbed Rubi — this summer, with plans to install them at about 500 locations by the end of the year.
The Rubi kiosks grind whole coffee beans and brew each cup to order. Specialty drinks are also available, such as mochas or vanilla lattes, with prices starting at $1.
“This relationship is a logical next step in our strategy to bring great coffee to new and unexpected locations where it’s traditionally been hard to find great coffee,” said Jim McDermet, Seattle’s Best Coffee’s senior vice president and general manager, in a statement. “Our Seattle’s Best Coffee fans will be delighted to find their favorite coffee now available around-the-clock at places they visit regularly each day.”
Seattle’s Best Coffee, a Seattle-based secondary brand owned by Starbucks Corp., has been aggressively growing its distribution presence in recent months with an expanded packaged line in grocery stores.
The brand is served by a growing number of national restaurant chains, including Taco Bell, Burger King and Subway, and Seattle’s Best has also been moving into convenience stores at Chevron ExtraMile locations.
Last year, Seattle’s Best lost almost 475 retail outlets in Borders Bookstores when that retail chain was liquidated. The coffeehouse brand continues to grow through franchising in nontraditional locations, and earlier this year said it was testing a new drive-thru unit.
Coinstar operates the Redbox self-service DVD rental machines, as well as the namesake automated coin-counting kiosks. The company has about 36,800 Redbox outlets and 20,200 Coinstar machines in supermarkets, drug stores, mass retailers, convenience stores and restaurants.
Paul Davis, Coinstar’s chief executive, said the Rubi machines will “reimagine” the coffee experience for customers, delivering “the kind of quality, convenience and value that we know coffee drinkers on the go will appreciate.”
Rubi machines will initially be installed in grocery and drug stores, and other high-traffic locations in the Northeast and West Coast.
Seattle’s Best Coffee has about 100 units in the U.S. and Canada.