Siluvathasan Edwin Ravienthira, a route driver for Culinary Ventures Vending in Union, N.J., enjoys his role. “I like being independent and meeting different people at each location,” he said.
His attitude shows in his work. “He is great with our customers and is always one step ahead of their needs,” said Steve Mistretta, operations manager. Mistretta nominated Ravienthira because: “He has been a well rounded, excellent employee with perfect attendance.”
Winners of the route driver of the year contest, sponsored by Kraft Vending & OCS, are based on scores in the following areas: years as a driver, number of machines serviced, miles traveled, accidents and citations, days missed, speed, thoroughness, customer compliments, truck condition, empty spirals and sales.
“Ravienthira has covered all the bases of what is required of a route person, including accountability, machine cleanliness, personal appearance, driving record, etc.” said Mistretta.
Technology presents opportunities
Ravienthira has also embraced technology. His skills made the transition to pre-kitting his route a simple procedure. And Mistretta says he has become a mentor to the other route personnel.
“As the vending industry implements more technology, we as route drivers are able to service additional customers on our route per week,” said Ravienthira, “and at the same time increase the products sold, which increases our commissions.”
More variety and larger sizes important
A big trend Ravienthira sees in vending is a greater variety of products available to, and asked for by customers. Popular items include larger serving sizes. The number of snack items has also doubled, making more healthy items available to customers.
Products aren’t the only item requiring more warehouse space. “Our drinks have also doubled in selection (with) flavored water, vitamin water, juices, energy drinks, non carb items and many diet drinks” he said.
In his free time, Ravienthira enjoys playing volleyball, vacationing at the beach and barbecuing with friends and family.