Full-Service Vending - What You Need to Know

    [fa icon="clock-o"] Apr 29, 2015 8:00:00 PM [fa icon="user"] Vending Group

    Many establishments ÛÒ workplace, apartment complexes, retail stores and more ÛÒ can benefit from having a vending machine on site.  ItÛªs an added convenience for employees, guests and customers by offering beverage and snack options for a nominal fee.  When you are looking for vending options, who do you call?  What are you really looking for?

    Full-Service Vending

    Full-service is a common choice ÛÒ thereÛªs no cash outlay for the purchase of machines, no ongoing maintenance that you are responsible for, and no hassle with going to the store to purchase product for refilling the machine.  On the contrary, a full-service option means that your supplier of choice surveys your location for space and electrical availability [link], coordinates with you to choose flavor selections likely to be popular at your site, determines the appropriate vend price [link], and places and maintains the vending equipment.

    Keys and cash collection 

    With full-service vending, the supplier owns and operates the machine, so they hold the keys.  On a regular basis, the supplierÛªs refill driver will visit the machine to replenish the selections and collect cash.  In certain instances, a portion of that cash collected will be sent to you on a monthly or quarterly basis in the form of vending commissions.

    Qualifying for a full-service machine

    Not all properties qualify for full-service vending, and one of the reasons has to do with anticipated sales volume and the concern for low volume.  The products in the machine are food items and have a shelf-life.  If youÛªve ever purchased an out-of-date product from a vending machine, you know how upsetting it can be ÛÒ itÛªs a waste of your money, it can be pretty gross, and perhaps most importantly, you canÛªt satisfy your thirst or hunger. 

    Vendors put great effort into maintaining the freshness of product in their machines; after all, expired product is a loss for them ÛÒ product that they just have to toss.  When vendors are evaluating a new placement opportunity, they want to be sure that the machine will be located in an area accessible to many people so that the product moves quicklyÛ_or at least sooner than the expiration date. 

    Location, location, location

    Making sure your vending machine is accessible is a key element to vending success.  If an apartment complex choose to place a machine on the pool deck of pool #2 at the back of the property, it probably wonÛªt sell as well as it would had they placed the machine near the mailboxes where all residents pass by.  Similarly, a lobby machine in a hotel will show higher sales than a machine on the 7th floor, and a machine in the customer waiting area of an automotive body shop will sell more soda than one in the break room, accessible only to those employees at work that day.

    Other than sales, one of the biggest problems encountered by vendors is vandalism.  When machines are not located in secure areas ÛÒ perhaps accessible to the public after business hours, on an upper floor of a hotel where employees cannot easily monitor the machine, or similarly in a less-visible area outdoors, vandals seize the opportunity to score cash and product.  Prying open a Coke or Pepsi machine takes a good deal of effort (and noise) in many instancesÛ_but that doesnÛªt stop vandalism. Many suppliers utilize devices to secure their machine such as Robo doors, hockey puck locks, and cages, but those added measures add to their cost, so they need to make sure the sales will justify the expense.  Typically, when a machine is damaged, the supplier bears the cost of the repairs.  Sometimes they will deduct some or all of the cost from commissions, and sometimes they will refuse to continue service and remove their machine.  Interestingly, high vandalism areas are often high sales volume areasÛ_it can create quite a dilemma.

    Supplier selection

    My location qualifies! Who should we work with? Many locations do qualify for full-service vending, a much-appreciated amenity.  Supplier selection is key ÛÒ you can work with your local Coca-Cola, Pepsi or Dr Pepper bottlers for brand-specific beverage options, or a local company who can offer a wide range of soda and snack products.  Here are the proÛªs and cons:

    Bottler full-service (eg. Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper)


    • Quality equipment

    • Uniformed service personnel

    • Honest reporting

    • Brand-specific, popular beverage options


    • No snacks

    • Large organizationsÛ_small customers and single requests can get lost in the mix

    • Response times can be longer than you want

    Local suppliers


    • High level of customer service

    • Quick response times

    • Wide range of product selections including snacks, food, and more


    • Large, reputable vendors are great ÛÒ but watch out for the fly-by-night garage operators who pop up and then quickly go out of business.

    • Wider range of machine selection ÛÒ can be good, or can be bad Û_ older & more varied equipment.

    • Reporting protocols ÛÒ sometimes smaller operators do not have the capability of ensuring proper cash collection procedures

    At the end of the day, choosing a bottler is always a great option, but there are plenty of hardworking, honesty and customer-focused local suppliers who will do an outstanding job.  Just do your homework, or work with a vending management company [link] to help with the selection.

    Vending Group

    Written by Vending Group