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INDUSTRIAL | Construction / Construction & Design Services
borga.net

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Founded Year

1984

Stage

Acq - Fin | Alive

About Borga

Borga was a Industrial/Construction/Construction & Design Services company based in Fowler, California. Borga was acquired in 2005.

Borga Headquarter Location

300 West Peach Street

Fowler, California, 93625,

United States

559-834-5375

Latest Borga News

Dallas restaurateur embraces vending, delivery robots

Sep 29, 2021

Espartaco Borga has deployed 'smart' vending machines and in-store food delivery robots to improve efficiencies for customers while making better use of labor. He is also offering his technology to other foodservice companies. Espartaco Borga presents one of his delivery robots in his Dallas restaurant. Sept. 29, 2021 Espartaco Borga, a longtime restaurateur, believes self-service technology has evolved to the point that it will play a major role in commercial foodservice. And he plans to be a part of it with his Dallas based company, Venduni, which provides automated foodservice and food delivery robots. Borga's restaurant, La Duni, features glassfront cabinets where patrons purchase and pick up his signature desserts, both to-go and for onsite consumption. The Venduni Happy Wall is for busy locations. Venduni, his technology company, offers the "smart" vending cabinets in a variety of settings. Visitors at the AT&T Discovery District in Dallas can already order his frozen and refrigerated desserts from smart cabinets installed in the food court. "Every food operation can benefit from a self-service vending element built into it," Borga told this website in a phone interview. The journey begins In the early 2010s, Borga began looking for alternative distribution systems for pastries after his restaurant received various restaurant and pastry awards. In 2017, he came across vending machines with "smart" cabinets at New York's La Guardia airport offering food, consumer electronics, personal care items, shoes, sports products and medical supplies. He visited the machine manufacturer, Swyft Inc., to learn more about the technology. "What we see now is the convenience element…why not utilize that convenience but with high quality products? Not just with generic, low-cost products?" Borga asked. "Why not use it as an alternative way of distributing your goods when real estate is so (cost) crazy, human resources are so scarce and the cost of entry is smaller than opening a restaurant?" An artist rendering of a Venduni automated cafe. A branded proposition To be successful, however, the automated presentation must be branded. "What we're talking about is creating a shop and creating a smart environment and creating an identity," he said. "We're not competing with Canteen in the sense of providing another vending conveyor. We are selling our brand." Borga immersed himself in learning about smart vending technology and the challenge of loading an extensive, changing restaurant menu into a vending management software system. Last year, the coronavirus pandemic interrupted his progress. He closed four of his five restaurants and offered his full menu for takeout only in his remaining restaurant. That was when he realized the full value of automated retail. The pandemic forced the issue "In another way it (the pandemic) was fantastic because it reinforced the need for this type of smart shop and the smart cabinet," he said. He placed a pair of smart cabinets from SandStar which allow customers to scan a QR code or swipe a credit card to open the cabinet door. After selecting their dessert and closing the glassfront door, the customer's payment account is charged and an electronic receipt is automatically delivered. Customers can pay via mobile app, mobile wallet, QR code and credit card, tap or swipe. An artist's rendering of a Venduni smart cafeteria. "Our sales just exploded," Borga said, noting that the machine is selling 200 to 250 "jar cakes" per day. "We are servicing not just the customers that come and get it, but the customers that order online. "The online ordering and the online platforms that we did kept us alive during the first year, and the online ordering made our baked good sales even double what we had when we had five restaurants," he said, not wishing to reveal numbers. Everything is packaged to go, for shipping or for onsite consumption at the restaurant. He changed the plated desserts to packaged desserts. Takeout is still more than half the business even after the dining room reopened. There is also a lobby near the restaurant entrance with an Evoca coffee machine that is open 24/7. Enter the robots After the restaurant reopened, Borga found himself in need of help on the floor. He introduced robots from American Robotech to welcome guests and deliver food to people at their tables. Customers can order from their phones and have the robots bring the food to them. The customer then removes the order from the shelves that the robot delivers. "We're basically automating the entire operation, not just the vending smart cafes, but also the restaurant itself," he said, "What we're doing is transferring the function of order taking to the customer." A robotic host greets visitor "They (the employees) are more like an ambassador and a supervisor of the flow of the room and helping with questions that customers may have…instead of taking an order and bringing the food to the table," he said. Just the beginning "Everything all of a sudden converged into a perfect universe," Borga said. "Now with the vending and the robotic options we are revising all those (former restaurant) locations. In this way we will be able to reopen those because now human interaction is not needed." Borga designed eight smart shop concepts using SandStar technology. The concepts include smart cabinets arranged for enclosed, high traffic facilities and shopping malls. He has already received requests from foodservice companies that are interested in integrating smart vending cabinets. These include coffee, beverage and food companies. Borga recently installed smart vending cabinets at the AT&T Discovery District in Dallas. One cabinet is all frozen products, one is all refrigerated. "We hope that if people embrace the technology we will offer space (in the cabinets) to the other vendors so they can offer their products 24/7," he said. "I'm trying to show them there is a better way where people don't have to wait in line either to order or to get it," he said. Borga recognizes some similarity of his smart cabinet concept to the Automat of the 1930s which served hot meals to go. In his view, prepared hot food to go remains a challenge because it degrades quickly. A dual cabinet offers frozen and refrigerated La Duni desserts. "I'm more into robotics making you the food," he said. "Vending and robotics become the perfect combination," he said. "We have identified 80 to 100 possible sites to deploy our technology and be able to serve as a hub to the community. "Once people figure out how to use it and maximize the benefit of it, we plan to become the hub of all the restaurants within a mile radius that would like to feature one or two products in our equipment so that people will have 24/7 access to food from their favorite places besides our own food." Photos courtesy of La Duni.

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