The outside of a hospital (building with an H sign and directions to different areas)

The Power of AI in After-Hours Retail

For hospital employees working outside of regular hours, sometimes something as simple as grabbing a bite to eat can be cumbersome. The Morrison team at Candler Hospital knew that, through digital, there would be a way to provide everyone with a much-needed, convenient meal.

The operators decided that in order for their solution to work, it would have to be functional 24/7 effectively. With the power of AI and a bit of creativity, the team hatched a plan that would fit into Candler’s environment seamlessly.

A resourceful solution

In order to make the Smart Byte Market accessible around the clock, the team had to ensure that employees could make regular transactions while the space was unattended. Another thing to consider was that wallets and phones are typically left in lockers in hospital settings. Therefore, the operators used the following tactics:

  • Introducing self-checkout capabilities. With the addition of an AI-powered Mashgin unit, the market could be open at all hours. Cool tidbit: This is the first Mashgin deployment within a Morrison market space, and it’s in Morrison’s first-ever hospital client. (Since the 1960s!)
  • Leveraging employee badges. Already functioning as a key, the badges—that employees would always have on their person—were turned into payment cards through a CBORD integration.
  • Update the physical space. Security cameras were installed, and the market was renovated to allow for more retail display areas. In addition, a microwave was added to allow for reheating of certain offerings.

“[This market] has been a perfect example of innovation that addresses the needs of our co-workers. This Smart Bytes location provides a variety of offerings above and beyond that of a vending machine and incorporates a very simple unmanned checkout process.

At a time when resources are stretched, having a secure retail location that’s available 24/7 with coffee, salads, sushi, and sandwiches has been an incredible hit with our team, especially those that work late nights and weekends. We are appreciative that the Morrison team provided this very innovative option for our health system.”

Peter Nyamora | VP of Ancillary Services, St. Joseph’s/Candler


The changes to the market were a resounding success, and employees were very happy to have the convenient market available for people working all shifts—in fact, foot traffic and usage of the space increased. With more food options, new ways to pay, and expanded hours, the update also benefited Morrison in the form of additional revenue. Ultimately, the operations team at Candler was able to see:

increase in sales since reopening in Jul '21
higher sales in Mar '22 vs Oct '20 (pre-reopening)

With just a few adjustments, unattended markets can serve as a positive contributor to operating margins, thanks to increased service hours and serviceable populations. They are also an excellent option for those working irregular hours to still enjoy a good meal that’s easily accessible.