Vending is very important to the Alleghany County Port Authority in Pittsburgh, Pa. since bus drivers work all hours of the day, said Kimberly Zelen, contract administrator. A 2-year vending contract is awarded based on bid. While the current contract includes a commission, the authority pays careful attention to the vending operator’s response to service calls and complaints about products.
“You have recognizable brands in there,” Zelen said of the vend products. “We don’t see any ‘off’ brands or generic products.”
Vending is especially important to the Colorado Department of Corrections, noted Jack Laughlin, service division manager for the correctional industries, which is a financially self sustaining organization. One reason it’s important is that visitors are not allowed to bring food into the prisons when visiting inmates.
COMMISSIONS SUPPORT EMPLOYEE BENEFITS
Jerome Scott, contract administrator for the Metropolitan Transit Authority in Houston, Texas, said the revenue that the vending service provides is very important since it supports employee benefits, such as holiday parties and scholarships. “It’s a source of income. We have the machines to boost morale,” Scott said.
The transit authority wants the beverage and snack prices to be reasonable since the employees rely on them for refreshments, especially during times when there are no restaurants or stores open. While the $70,000 to $90,000 in annual vending revenue is important, Scott recognizes that the 28 percent commission paid on gross sales is not the only important factor in maximizing the revenue from the machines.
Overall, locations continue to value vending as an important source of refreshments for employees. As more employees work irregular hours, the need for vending in many locations is more important than ever.
At the same time, new consumer tastes, mandates for healthier options, and new benefits brought by new technology have all resulted in a service that is more complex for account decision makers to manage than in the past.
Accounts continue to rely on commissions, but they also realize that a service that does not deliver the consumer focused benefits compromises its commissions.