Skip to main content
For Business
August 24, 2015

LeanBox: Food at work never tasted so good with Surface Pro 3

We all know the feeling. You’re at work, hungry and looking for a snack or meal. The problem is that it’s often hard to find really convenient healthy food at work. You go to the vending machine and it’s packed full of sugary junk food and it’s too far to go anywhere for a quick snack. I have this exact experience all the time. So when I heard about LeanBox and how they use Surface Pro 3s to tackle this problem, I was instantly intrigued.

The LeanBox Story

LeanBox is a Boston-based start-up bringing hi-tech refrigerators filled with fresh, chef-quality meals to workplaces all across Boston. And they exclusively use Surface Pro 3 to manage everything from customer purchases at the fridge, to a complex customer analytic system, allowing customized daily deliveries to over 150 remote client sites and counting.

The company’s mission is to change the way we eat at work by giving people access to quality food throughout the workday. Food like preservative- and additive-free meals, salads and sandwiches.

LeanBox is the first company to offer perishable products to unattended client sites, so we had to become much more than a food service. Quickly, we became a technology company, and that’s where Surface has really helped us grow our business.” –Becky Cowie, manager of customer happiness, LeanBox.

Co-founders Shea Coakley and Peter Roy developed a hi-tech refrigerator with a custom-mounted Surface Pro 3 terminal. At the fridge, you use a mobile app or a simple credit or debit card to unlock the fridge. Then pick from a variety of options, ranging from fresh-fruit yogurt parfaits to miso-glazed salmon. Once you make a selection, scan a simple barcode and you’re done. But LeanBox doesn’t stop working there. With Surface Pro 3, it also gathers 1-5 star product ratings for each product and manages a complex voting system to constantly refresh and customize employee choices.

LeanBox Image

LeanBox drastically reduces the need to actively manage food benefits, and creates a previously unavailable pathway to provide employees access to quality, affordable food. And using Surface Pro 3, LeanBox also has the ability to adjust to the tastes of the office, becoming more attuned with the appetite of each site.

“Over time, Surface Pro 3 is taking in data that helps each LeanBox machine adjust to the needs of employees and what they are actually eating. That means employees get more of what they like and less of what they don’t.” –Shea Coakley, LeanBox Co-Founder

Surface Pro 3: The Clear Choice

Because LeanBox’s kiosks are full-service smart terminals, they needed a full-service device that can provide their inventory-management personnel with real-time information, their customers with a reliable user experience, and their finance team with peace of mind.

“We needed a brain on site, so to speak. A device that employees could interact with and something that could communicate to us what is sold, when things expire, what to replace and, most importantly, what our customers want. We tested a lot of different laptops and tablets, and the Surface Pro 3 was the only device we found that could do everything we needed in the right form factor. An iPad couldn’t even come close,” Coakley said.

What helped Surface Pro 3 win out over the competition? Powerful processors, Windows software and hardware durability were all key factors. Additionally, Surface’s front-facing camera offers better quality than the alternatives, to more reliably read QR codes. And the full-size USB port and the power management strength can support an electrical relay, card swipe, barcode reader, and other peripherals mounted on the LeanBox’s units.

Beyond the terminals, LeanBox employees take Surface Pro 3s when they talk to potential customers. As a rapidly expanding company, they are on the road a lot and need a device that’s not going to slow them down. Not only are Surface Pro 3s great laptop replacements, but they allow LeanBox employees to show potential customers firsthand what the purchasing experience is like.

I’m always happy to hear of the diverse and different ways that Surface is helping people. LeanBox is such an inspiring company with a goal that I believe in, giving people access to healthy and convenient food. There was no other laptop or tablet on the market that could live up to the LeanBox standard and Surface Pro 3 was the clear winner.

For more on how businesses are using Surface to work in a variety of industries – including retail – visit

Matt Chapman

Surface Marketing