The Javits Center announced Fresh and Fast, the first touchless café in any convention center in the United States, recently opened. Fresh and Fast is a state-of-the-art retail location that offers user-controlled, checkout-free access to pre-packaged items, as well as a variety of snacks, beverages and in-house bakery items, that customers can purchase in a safe and efficient environment. Equipped with Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, the new café will allow guests to swipe their credit card to enter the store, after which they can take the items they want and leave without having to check out. Fresh and Fast is the latest addition to the iconic convention center on Manhattan’s West Side, which recently completed an expansion project with the addition of 1.2 million square feet, including a rooftop pavilion and a 54,000 square-foot special event space.
“Providing quality food and beverages in a safe and efficient manner is critical to the success of any event, and Fresh and Fast will certainly help us accomplish that and enhance the experience for our guests,” says Alan Steel, president and CEO of the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation, which operates the Javits Center. “This new café meets the demands of today’s environment and raises the standard for other venues across the country as we reopen our convention center and host in-person events once again.”
The introduction of Fresh and Fast is part of an expansive new catering program led by Vice President of Guest Experience Mariam Karim, that includes new exhibitor menus, enhanced training protocols and expanded opportunities for event planners. In conjunction with industry-leading partners Levy and CxRA, who operate under the proprietary Javits brand of Cultivated, Fresh and Fast was designed in collaboration and based on data and insights from Levy’s analytics and tech division, E15 Group. The cafe is located on the north concourse of the Javits Center, only steps from the expansion’s new spaces. The café will feature signature menu items, freshly made sandwiches, salads and bowls with high quality ingredients, as well as grab-and-go items.
“The future of hospitality and guest experiences is about meeting people where they are, and being intentional about understanding their preferences, to create unique food and beverage offerings each guest values,” says Andy Lansing (pictured right), president and CEO of Levy. “Fresh and Fast café brings together the quality, variety and convenience guests value, and uses innovative technology to put the experience in guests’ hands. Our operational leaders and E15 specialists were proud to work with our Javits Center partners to create a truly frictionless guest experience powered by Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology.”
In May, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the construction completion of the Javits Center expansion despite the challenges related to COVID-19. With state-of-the art equipment and cutting-edge technology, the expanded Javits Center features 50 percent more front-of-house and back-of-house areas, including new exhibit and meeting room spaces, a one-acre rooftop farm and a truck marshaling facility that will accelerate event operations and reduce traffic congestion. The expansion project has received LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The expanded Javits Center features more than 200,000 square feet of new meeting room and pre-function space, including a 54,000 square-foot special event space — the largest event space of its kind in the Northeast. All of the new exhibition and meeting spaces are equipped with the latest technology in lighting fixtures, heating and cooling systems and wireless connectivity. The newly expanded Javits Center also features 500,000 contiguous square feet of event space on Level 3, which is expected to attract international business conferences. More than 3,000 solar panels also will be constructed on the new and existing rooftops as part of a new program with the New York Power Authority.
Other recent infrastructure improvements at the Javits Center include the creation of a state-of-the-art broadcast studio for virtual and hybrid events, the installation of more than 100 stainless steel bollards along the building’s perimeter and the construction of a three-story building that houses transformers, back-up generators and other electrical equipment for the expanded convention center. With the installation of hospital grade High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to improve air filtration and ventilation throughout the venue, the Javits Center has received Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) accreditation, implementing the industry’s highest standards for cleaning and disinfection.
Designed by I.M. Pei & Partners, the Javits Center opened in 1986 and has since become New York City’s primary venue for large conventions, trade shows and special events and serves as home to many of the world’s top 250 trade shows, hosting millions of visitors a year. These large-scale events have generated more than $2 billion in annual economic activity for New York City and New York State, supporting as many as 18,000 jobs in and around the facility. Located on 11th Avenue between West 34th and West 40th Sts. in Manhattan, the Javits Center has more than 850,000 square feet of total exhibition space, two new floors of meeting room and pre-function spaces and a wide range of catering, security, sustainability, and technology services. For more info, visit www.javitscenter.com.