Kamakura Foods, a Cyberport FoodTech start-up best known for its brand name Wada Bento, has ventured into the Japanese bento (ready-made box lunches) market by introducing its signature bento vending machine in Osaka’s bustling central business district.
Diverging from its Hong Kong operations, where Wada Bento runs a central kitchen and a network of vending machines spanning 30 locations, the start-up has tailored its approach for Japan. It aims to enhance the supply chain by connecting established bento kitchens with their bento-hungry consumers through Wada Bento’s proprietary bento-serving vending machines.
Last month, the start-up debuted a vending machine in Kitahama, Osaka’s commercial hub. The machine was placed in an outlet of Obento Monogatari to sell the small local chain’s bentos. This strategic placement not only boosts the shop’s efficiency, allowing for a bento to be served in just 17 seconds post-order, it also paves the way to tap into evening sales without the need for extra staff.
Wada Bento has integrated its hot-chain technology into the vending machines, ensuring that meals are served hot and that they are maintained at safe temperatures and humidity to prevent bacterial growth, thereby addressing key food safety concerns. The machines are also thoughtfully designed to be accessible to wheelchair users.
Operating on a subscription model, the machines are rented out to vendors, with certain fees pegged to the sales volume.
Wada Bento is now preparing to secure a fourth round of funding next year to support its expansion plans in Japan.