Ray Friedrich, a Detroit, Mich. area vending operator who has been marketing the Fast Track Convenience system to vending operators, recently developed a foodservice application for the system that allows an operator to offer more product variety with less labor than a traditional food line. The cafeterias equipped with the self checkout station offer foodservice products priced at $5 and $6.
Customers can order their meals from an attendant, then pay at the self checkout kiosk. Because of the improved inventory control, the location can offer as many as 600 different items, far more than traditional cafeterias.
Friedrich said he has been able to install three of these systems without requiring a subsidy from the location.
He said the system generates $53 per labor hour with two full-time employees.
“It gives us the ability to increase the customer satisfaction and drive volume,” said Joe Hessling, president of foodservice at Sterling Services, the parent company of Fast Track Convenience. “The RFID is what allows us to do that. The product offering is what grabs the customer.”
MB MEDIA OFFERS AN LED TEXT SCREEN
MB Media is a Phoenix, Ariz.-based company that produces a wireless text messaging system for vending machines. The company retrofits existing vending machines with digital screens that run text messages of stock reports, public service announcements and world news stories, which are updated daily. These news feeds contain no advertising.
The main LED screen is about 26 inches wide, 3.9 inches deep and 1.8 inches thick. It fits just across the bottom of a 5-column snack machine and is attached using Velcro. There is also a smaller version of the sign which is 20 inches wide with the same height and depth.
Dave Levine, company president, said the system has been used by vending operators as a selling tool. He said he has operator customers in about eight states.
“It’s another bell and whistle to sell to the customer,” said Todd Elliott, president of Tucson, Ariz.-based Tomdra Vending, who has a handful of MB Media’s LED screens on his machines. He said the screens run news and can also deliver a customized message.
DIJI TOUCH BEGINS FIELD TESTS
The Diji Touch machine — a partnership between Crane Merchandising Systems, Kraft Vending & OCS and Samsung, was introduced at last year’s national expo and is being tested by Canton, Mass.-based Next Generation Vending and Foodservice, Inc. in the Boston metropolitan area, beginning this month.
The test locations will be college and university settings, health care locations, transportation centers and other high traffic locations. The test will measure consumer interaction with the machine relative to both purchasing snack products and the delivery of video advertising and promotions.
The test will measure sales volume, consumer interaction and acceptance, and its potential to deliver video advertising over a 6-month period.
Sales volume will be measured by product and by machine using Crane Streamware management software. Sales volume will be tracked weekly and will be compared to prior year performance.
In addition, when the Diji-Touch machine is in a bank of vending machines, sales volume will be measured for all machines to determine if the Diji-Touch machine can drive higher sales for the entire bank of machines.
Consumer interaction and acceptance will be measured in two studies conducted by Digitas LLC and Nielsen Strategic Media Research Service, respectively.
Digitas LLC will implement data mining and analysis on 20 Diji-Touch machines to capture interaction time, drop-off rates and more for the various screens in the consumer user interface.
Nielsen will conduct 375 interviews at 15 locations to better understand who, demographically, is using the machine. The combined objective is to determine how consumers use the machine, their acceptance of the machine, and if necessary, what issues might inhibit even higher usage and acceptance rates.
The potential to deliver video advertising will be measured in a study conducted by Nielsen Strategic Media Research Service. In addition to the 375 interviews conducted at 15 locations, continuous audience measurement for Diji Touch will be delivered by an electronic measurement device called TruMedia.
COKE PLACES INTERACTIVE VENDER