Blendtec, a manufacturer of high-end blending equipment, and Lancer, a manufacturer of beverage dispensing systems, have entered into a joint development agreement and will be showing a prototype of their first joint product offering at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show this month.

The new platform is an automated blended ice beverage station for making smoothies, frozen coffee drinks, and other beverages using refrigerated bag-in-box (BIB) ingredients.

This gives restaurants and other foodservice operators a fast, efficient, fully contained system to expand their menus with smoothies and other frozen beverages. When released, the beverage station will be commercially available for a unit price of less than $9,000 with qualifying volumes.

“Smoothies are seeing tremendous growth in the beverage category, and are becoming a mainstream offering in fast-food chains and restaurants,” says Reed Beus, CEO of Blendtec. “We’re excited to partner with Lancer to provide a complete solution that lets chains offer high-quality fruit and dairy-based drinks to their guests.”

The new beverage station holds up to eight different refrigerated BIBs, which can include fruit purees, smoothie bases, coffee and dairy ingredients, and more.

The unit will feature simple touchscreen controls for selecting the flavor and size, and the cabinet will have refrigerated storage space for whipped cream and other add-on ingredients. It will also have a built-in jar rinsing station, jar storage, and cup and lid dispensers.

“Efficiency and speed of service are priorities for many chains,” says Luis Alvarez, president of Lancer. “This blended ice beverage station automates many of the traditionally manual processes involved in blending specialty drinks.”

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