A Japanese beverage maker has taken the wraps off a workplace vending machine it hopes will help restore interactions and creativity to offices and factories amid the coronavirus pandemic – by providing free drinks when two employees scan their ID cards at the same time. Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd., which unveiled what it has dubbed the "company president's treat" for corporate customers recently, aims to install the vending machines at 100 companies by 2022, beginning in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The cost of free drinks will be covered by the client firms. The idea for the special vending machine emerged after the COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in those working from home, consequently reducing interactions with bosses and colleagues. Suntory said it hopes the machines will increase opportunities for small talk and foster new ideas when people do go to the workplace.

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