FDA Proposes New Vending Regulations

Two tentative regulations were proposed by the FDA regarding caloric labels on menus and menu boards in chain restaurants, retail food establishments, and most importantly to us– vending machines. Luckily, they are still tentative and the FDA is open to receiving comments on these proposed policies. The document can be read in full here.

Digital Vending Machine

Japanese ingenuity never ceases to amaze me. Industrial designer Fumie Shibata put a high-tech spin on a simple concept. Personally I never use vending machines, but if this piece came state side, I might have something to put my spare change into.
The vending machine flaunts an impressive 47-inch multi-touch display screen. That’s bigger than the T.V. in my house man. What’s more is that it’s not just a vending machine. It utilizes a camera to process the gender and approximate age of the customer to display possible drink recommendations.
It even makes use of external data, such as time of day, temperature, and season. So for you early birds that would mean hot coffee, or a nice cold iced tea on a hot summer day.

Nike Football Vending Machine

That's great when people can get ball anywhere from vending machine. It make easy to everybody to play and get a healthy life.

Mechanical Vending Machine - Vending Machine History

The oldest form of vending machine finds relevance in a Green society.
Mechanical vending machine has a long history beginning thousands of years ago in 215 BC, when a Greek mathematician by the name of Hero invented a simple machine to vend a splash of holy water in Egyptian temples.  With the movement towards eco-vending machine, those in our industry now have two footprints to worry about, the footprint of the machine and the ecological footprint of our business.  As we have already discussed the benefits of efficiency in the vending business, viewing this classic design of vending machine in a different light is imperative in our movements towards an environmentally friendly world.

Bicycle Vending Machine

It's cool to have bicycle vending machine. The best place to put this machine is in the park. Riding bike also a good activity for your health.

Farm-Fresh Eggs Vending Machine

An Irish free-range egg farmer has been rewarded for his ingenuity after he developed an farm-fresh egg vending machine, allowing consumers to purchase farm-fresh eggs straight from the farm.

Tom O'Brien, who runs Eggs Direct in Thrasherstown, Co Cork, received the Joint Start-up Award as part of the JFC Innovation Awards for Rural Business 2010.

The first of the vending machines is installed at Mr O'Brien's farm gate where customers driving past can purchase farm-fresh eggs.

Mr O'Brien told Poultry World the invention has been a hit locally, with 37 trays of 30 eggs being sold per day from the machine over the last four days.

Full Meal Vending Machine

As more and more people eat on the run, and both vending machine and food advancements have enabled a larger variety of merchandise to be offered, still many are not realizing the profit from the everyday sell. Refrigerated meal products, or shelf-stable meal products allow vendors to offer a plethora of different items all aimed at capitalizing on the diner, as opposed to the traditional casual snacker.

From College campuses to business lunch rooms, the assortment of locations and the amount of operators that can benefit from adding full line meals are numerous, and still growing.  As consumers, vending machine, and technology meet in the effort to meet this demand for meals here are some questions to ask yourself about your location:

  • Is your traffic from university classes and late-night library studying sessions?
  • Does it usually service lunch breaks?
  • Are there easily accessible microwaves around?
  • Where is the nearest dining alternative?

Rising Fuel Prices Surely Affect Vending

With increasing fuel prices due to unrest in the Middle East and developing countries straining supply, other political factors have influenced the price of cocoa and sugar leading to several well known chocolatiers such as Hershey’s to announce an increase in prices. These announcements will surely leave many vending operators in a predicament. Will they attempt to absorb the price hikes, completely pass them off to their customers, or attempt to find a middle ground in an effort to maintain margin while mitigate sticker shock?

Roboputt Vending Machine

Roboputt vending machine is especially used for golf clubs and other golf places. This is best then other same product since it is providing high technological 5 minute swinging lessons with five dollar I think this is a first type of sports gadgets so which arrives advanced technology and functionality with cheap rates, customers always say its really unique, and fully satisfy so guys you want this product in your golf clubs. 
Are that awesome!

24/7 Beauty Purchases

From one of the economic article, vending machines are set to become the latest craze in beauty purchasing. They’ve already been in situ in the States for a couple of years, with with names like Elizabeth Arden and Coty packing their products into snazzy new machines.
Ever since vending machines evolved into beasts capable of taking electronic payment cards, instead of whatever change you had lying around at the bottom of your handbag, the possibilities for them expanded. Ipods, cameras and champagne are all available already (along with the staples: black liquid optimistically called coffee, out of date Kit Kats, Tic Tacs and condoms).

Vending Machine Thieves

Do you have silent partners in your vending business? I know I have had silent partners from time to time. Fortunately I figured it out pretty quickly and was able to stop them. How did I do this? I simply changed the locks on my machines.

Did you know (I sure didn't) that most vending manufacturing companies use a very small set of keys for the machines they sell. Of course they deny it - but then we all know that they are lying. While this is more of a problem with the gumball and bulk candy vending machines it is certainly not exclusive to these machine either. Most companies have 4 - 8 keys and they "try" not sell other vendors in your area the same key. I say try because if they have more than 5 people buy machines in your area you can be sure they aren't getting an entire new key set created. Add to this the fact that so many people are buying and selling machines on eBay you can be sure that your "unique" key is anything but unique. Unfortunately, if you bought machines from: Vendstar (aka Multivend), North American Vending, Silent Sales Force Antares (aka Orion Corp or Natural Choice), Ultravend, and any number of other companies the key on your machine is NOT unique.

The first thing to understand is that your machine IS NOT as secure as you may think. Don't worry though the solution is simple. For about $10 a lock you can replace the lock/key for you current vending machines. If you have lots of vending machines this may be expensive but I can guarantee it is cheap then having a "silent partner" stealing from you every month. Change you locks today and fire you silent partner!

What Makes A Profitable Vending Machine Account

One of the biggest challenges in selling vending accounts is deciding what makes a good/profitable account. Let’s look at a couple of scenarios.
You obtain two leads: one is a small business (25 employees, one shift) in an industrial park you are already servicing, the other is a very large facility (350 employees, 24/7 operations) that is across town.
You learn that both companies currently have vendors in their locations now, but are considering change. You set appointments to meet with both.
What now? Your goal is to make an objective assessment of the locations, determine their expectations, and decide if you can meet their needs profitably. Information is key, and this is the best (and easiest) time to gather any information that could be valuable in your endeavors. I strive to ask questions like:
  • Who is servicing the account now? What do I know about this company? Are they reputable, good people? Do they generally provide good service? Do they effectively service the area and account in question?  Are they using bottler’s assets?
  • Why is the account considering changing vendors? Ask the question and let them talk, find out all you can about how they are being serviced now, what they like and dislike about their current service, what they would change.
  • What is their expectation for equipment and for service scheduling? What are the hours of operation and/or access to the location?
  • What is the pricing and do they expect commissions? Is the account open to a different pricing/commission structure?
  • What is the distance from the truck parking to the machines, first floor, second floor, elevator, stairs, and dock? How quickly can it be serviced?
  • Number of expected patrons? How many people have access to using your machines? How much indirect competition do you have (fast food restaurants or convenience stores within walking distance)?
  • What are the demographics of the account? Age, gender, cultural and ethnic factors all relate to sales of product. What are the environmental conditions in the account?
  • How easily is equipment moved into the location? Look for narrow hallways, large steps, short doors, tile and hardwood floors – any factors that could affect the move or that might induce unexpected liability.
In our scenario, you find that the 25-person account is being run by an operator you don’t know. He has told the customer that he is a part-timer who operates “blue sky” machines out of his garage. The customer relates to you that the machines are unreliable and that, while he makes a good effort to repair them, they just don’t seem to be fixed. The customer likes the selection offered, and the machines are full most of the time (mainly because the operator is out every other day to fix the machines and he restocks while he’s there). The customer has had several conversations about the reliability issue, but has had no solution to the problem.

Vending Machine Operation Tips

Success in vending machine business, is the compilation of many small activities, each of which, done properly, seems to be insignificant.  Your small activities in the Vending Business are the basis for all profits that you may or may not have.  Mind your pennies and the dollars will follow!
This article is about foundation building, getting the basics, creating a system that is functional and profitable and will build long term success.  I start with a broad analysis.  Have you ever looked at your operation objectively?  Ever stepped back and dissected every function of your business, challenged you assumptions about the business?  This is where I start!
A vending operation has many components, is a dynamic distribution system, and can be as complicated or as simple as you would like it to be.  I will put forth a few tips that might make you more efficient and more profitable.

Product Acquisition
Let’s face it, without product; you don’t have a vending business!
How do you get product?  Do you go to warehouse clubs, order from manufacturers, third party suppliers, purchase through co-operatives, and other methods?  Each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages, and one must stay focused on profitability when purchasing product.
With this in mind, do you purchase from the lowest priced supplier, is cost your only consideration?  This is where proper analysis is critical.  If you can purchase commodity type products (Coke, Frito Lay, Pepsi, and Hershey’s) at a lower price, doesn’t it make sense to purchase from that supplier?  The question is not as obvious as it seems.
Have you ever factored in your acquisition costs?  What’s an acquisition cost?  An acquisition cost is the total cost of purchasing product including labor, interest, referrals, scheduling, availability, and all other factors that might affect your ability to get product.
Credit:  Larry Towner

Calculate How Much You're Making

Do you really know how much money you're making on your vending route? I'm not just talking about the spread between the cost of goods and their selling price. I'm asking if you've taken the time to calculate exactly how much you're making per hour (after ALL your expenses).

If you are tracking your business via accouting software (like QuickBooks or Quicken) then the answer is easy. If you track it using some other electronic method (or even manually) then the answer may take a couple extra minutes - but still worth your time. Take the "Profit" number from one of your P/L statement - I recommend you use at least a quarterly or semi-annual reporting period. Once you have this number divide the amount of time you spent in your business by it. The answer you get may surprise you - hopefully for the better.

Do you even track your business? If not, then my first question is, "Why not?" How can you be expected to make intelligent decisions if you do not even know "where you stand"? So this week's assignment is for you to review exactly how much you are making. If you have no way of knowing then first you need to start tracking your business.

Vending Machine Comission Problem

The subject of vending machine comissions is always a problem for both new and experienced operators. Unfortunately there really isn't any easy answer to the question. Typically I only pay comissions to "Bulk Candy" locations and usually NEVER pay comissions on "Snack/Soda" locations. T his is due to profit calculations - being that bulk candy has a greater margin than snack or sodas.

Here is the problem I run into though. About this time of year (i.e. the holiday spending season) many location owners are low on cash. They sit and stare at my machine all day thinking about how the comission money in the will solve their problem. They dream and hope that it'll be a "good comission" this month. Of course when I get there and the comission isn't as high as they hoped they get mad at me - the vending guy. If the consequences weren't so dire to my business (they may kick me out hoping to get a "better" machine) the situation would be comical. I mean why get made at me? I'm not the one who spent too much money during the holiday.

Anyway because of this recurring problem I've developed a few placement strategies you should implement and follow. I prefer to use a charity system (local charities only), and perfer corporate locations were the money goes into an "employee party fund", and above all I avoid locations if the owners are constantly telling me stories of financial woe.

Make Profit From Vending Machine

The number one question people are asking me is how to fix a broken vending business. Before you can even begin to fix problems you MUST know your numbers. Are you even profitable?

What are your fixed costs?

What are your variable costs?

Remember that equation from school? - y=mx+b

OK, it isn't that complicated but that would be the best way to calculate it. Knowing your commission and product cost you can figure out your net profit. For sodas mine is about .40 = .75 (sales) - .36 (product cost) - 0.0 (0% commission, remember I do not pay commissions). Multiple that number by the average number of sales per service (obviously we would also add net profit from snacks but I want to keep this example as simple as possible). Now that you know your net profit you need to determine what your other costs are, i.e. fuel, machine depreciation and time. Subtract those costs from your total net profit. If it is negative you are not making money. If it is positive you are making money (you can then divide your cost of equipment by this number to get your ROI).