Government regulation is a prime factor in changes to any industry, and lately vending has been in the crosshairs. Every day new regulations involved aimed at improving nutrition is saddled on those in vending, and consequently is lamented as targeting us in the vending industry. However, some operators are viewing this as an opportunity instead of a scourge, and are thriving because of it.
While some people choose vended goods to fulfill their sweet-tooth, a large portion consider them last resorts due to how unhealthy they are. Offering a wide variety of products has always been integral to the success of vending operators, and now instead of resisting this change we must embrace the advent of a new market. Offering full-meal healthy products based on your given location is a surefire way to add value to your margins and your diners, and is sure to entice those who would not have considered it otherwise.
Checkout some tips on discovering which locations will benefit from full-meal vending!
Change is often lamented in business but if recent history has taught us anything it is that those who are willing to adapt quickly and adopt early, will do very well for themselves. The laggards are consistently the ones that struggle and eventually fail. These parallels can be seen in the American auto-industry, which resisted change for decades, until finally they collapsed. The only one to come out ahead had their wake-up call and embraced change just barely in time.
Running late for a seven o’clock morning meeting, Julie did not have time to make her lunch today. Instead she would rely on her humming companion in the break room to provide her with a quick meal before the start of her afternoon meeting. As more and more people eat on the run, and both vending and food advancements have enabled a larger variety of merchandise to be offered, still many are not realizing the profit from the everyday “Julies”. 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, 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?
While there are other factors, if you answered yes to these questions, it is most likely worth it to consider a combo vending machine capable of offering large meal-sized food items. Many college students keep odd hours and odder eating habits, and many business professionals need something quick and on the run. All of these factors come into play when understanding the unique dynamic of your locations, and if there is more profit to be gained from them.
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The oldest form of vending finds relevance in a Green society.
Mechanical vending 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, 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 machine in a different light is imperative in our movements towards an environmentally friendly world.
These undervalued machines offer a reliable simplistic design that takes advantage of the laws of physics to bring products to their customer, in the most efficient manner possible—One that requires no electricity. This holds true across the entire mechanical class with the exception of refrigerated mechanical vendors, which use electricity to insure that cooled products maintain acceptable temperatures.
One serious reason for this downplaying of their potential is that they are not measured by Energy-star criteria. They use too little energy for them to be fairly compared to many of these models is often the reasoning behind this, and the stigma with the “mechanical” nature of their design is difficult to shirk. It is true that they tend to offer slightly less security than electrical vending machines, so they are not well suited for the most mischief prone of locations. However, they are perfect for a well-maintained and supervised area, and require considerably less run-cost than your standard electrical machine. These machines are an underestimate paragon of the Green movement.
A Shift in Vending
As manufacturing and big business continues to be outsourced from America, operators face declines in the classical desirable vending locations. Instead of adapting to these changes, often times it is decided to reduce routes, cutting smaller “less profitable” sites, which in the future may become a large portion of the available locations. To adapt to this change, a paradigm shift must occur. Operators must embrace technology, and the recognition that a compact, full feature machine can add a tremendous amount of value to a route.
While the cutting edge of vending machines moves towards telemetry and remote inventory management, to the majority of small operators; it is still widely inaccessible due to the investment cost. Smartcard/Smartware technology is still readily available however, and offers an efficient way to poll inventory levels without taking a large chunk out of your bottom line. In addition, some lines of standard Smartware offer the ability to be upgraded down the road to offer remote access to inventory levels, which offers scalability as smaller revenue streams grow through efficiency. Be aware, however that the third-parties required to upgrade often charge monthly fees. Other technologies that allow the operators to monitor driver speed, routes, and efficiency enable the streamlining of location management. This can serve to fast-track the development of the newer efficient standards necessary to succeed. Looking to the future of vending, it is vital to understand the role technology can play in increasing efficiency and turning these satellite locations profitable as America sees the return of small business.
The full feature compact vending machine is often overlooked by the operator, but it provides all the advantages of a full-size vending machine with less upkeep and less initial investment. This coupled with the appropriate technology can help the operator add value to their routes, and reinvigorate those flagging locations. When implemented properly to account for local foot-traffic and demand, along with the utilization of forecasting to help predict future localized demands; the compact machine can be leveraged as a valuable tool in the arsenal to fight the diminished standing of vending in America.
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In a break from our “Green” discussion, and with the economy still struggling, small vending businesses are finding it harder to survive. This year Section 179 is a useful tool to help, working in conjunction with the stimulus package to provide substantial tax write-offs based on immediate depreciation. This section of tax law is useful for small businesses that want to purchase new company equipment, but do not want to deal with years of depreciation costs like they would with investing in vending machines. For the remainder of 2010, a small business can write off $500,000 worth of equipment and other tiered limited quantities after that. The real problem is it will most likely change at the end of the 2010, so take advantage of this write-off while it lasts. Equipment that is included is limited to:
- Equipment (machines, etc.) purchased for business use
- Tangible personal property used in business
- Business Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight in excess of 6,000 lbs
- Computer Software
- Office Furniture
- Office Equipment
- Property attached to your building that is not a structural component of the building (i.e.: a printing press, large manufacturing tools and equipment)
- Partial Business Use (equipment that is purchased for business use and personal use – generally, your deduction will be based on the percentage of time you use the equipment for business purposes.)
Looking out for other small vending businesses is our goal with sharing this information, and even though we provide as accurate information as possible, we advise you check with your accountant to insure you are complying with all tax law. To check out how much you can save check out the the Savings Calculator resource. The read more about Section 179, check about More Information.
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Steve Chesney, President of Seaga offers insights on why the vending industry can go green while improving profitability.
In this four-part piece, we will explore the challenge of “Going Green.” It is on the minds of many operators and locations today and is clearly communicated to me as I travel and meet customers throughout the world. Most everyone offers suggestions for programs or products to enable all of us to live in a better world while enhancing our industry’s image. Certainly the urgency to “Go Green” has increased dramatically by the inflationary demands across all segments of our operations. The seemingly never-ending rise in the cost of energy is fueling inflation and as a result, impacting everyone’s bottom line.
Posted in Eco-vending
Tagged energy-star vending, green vending, Seaga, snack machine, Vending, vending business help, vending business information, vending information, vending insight, Vending Machine, Vending machines, vending tips
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