Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, an innovative self-serve snack franchise, announced the resounding success of its first drone delivery test at Hope College in Holland, Michigan—marking the first time worldwide that froyo has ever been delivered by drone.
The pilot delivery program, titled Project Flying Orange Unicorn, is an experiment with commercial airborne froyo deliveries, working within the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority guidelines. Based on the positive feedback and excitement of Hope College students, Orange Leaf Holland will begin offering drone froyo delivery, by appointment only. The drones will be guided by human pilots and will make deliveries coordinated by Holland’s Orange Leaf store, located six blocks from campus.
Project Flying Orange Unicorn was led by Jeremy Latchaw, franchise owner of the Holland and Grandville Orange Leaf locations and president of Mishigami Group, a drone dealership that is currently working with some of Michigan’s largest fire and police departments to develop their unmanned aerial vehicle programs. Latchaw serves as a major in the U.S. Army and was deployed twice during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Mishigami Group, including the drone’s expert pilot Matt Rybar, will continue to assist Orange Leaf in further assessing the pilot program, including the potential for expansion into new markets at a later date.
Video recorded of the drone delivery highlights the modified to-go delivery box and frozen packing materials that Orange Leaf Holland developed specifically for this test. Orange Leaf launched its original Pop-Up Party Box to-go packaging in November 2015 with stores reporting rapid adoption among schools, kids’ at-home birthday parties and office parties.
Once reserved for sci-fi movies, drone testing among restaurant and food brands is on the rise, with Orange Leaf now flying in the same space as leading brands such as Chipotle and Domino’s Pizza who tested drone delivery earlier this year.
“We continue to lead the innovation taking place in the frozen yogurt category, and we continue to look for ways to grow and foster brand loyalty by reaching our customers in new ways,” says Geoff Goodman, president of Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt. “Millennials are an important target audience for Orange Leaf and because we know they are interested in emerging technologies that also offer convenience, we selected a college campus for our first-ever drone delivery test. The test exceeded expectations and we look forward to further exploring drone deliveries and other unexpected ways to get our froyo into the hands of fans across the country.”
The Hope College delivery will be the first of potentially more deliveries of Orange Leaf’s treats and snacks in the future, and Orange Leaf will look to expand the drone delivery program to other markets.