Joel Sachs, president of M&P Vending Inc., Chicago, found the Stonyfield Farm branded machine a cost-effective tool to meet the demand for healthier products at one of his school accounts. The machine keeps the temperature at about 40 degrees F and offers juice, snacks, nutrition bars and yogurt, the latter item priced at $1.50.
Stonyfield Farm allows him to lease the machine. When the lease term expires, he is confident that the location will review the results and agree to make changes that he suggests."Parents see that you're trying," he said.
Versatility becomes more important
"Where a machine goes initially isn't where it's going to be for the rest of its life," said Todd Elliott, co-owner of Tomdra Vending Inc., Tucson, Ariz. "The more options you have, the better." He has placed a spiral-driven, AMS Visi Combo in schools featuring snacks on the top three shelves and milk on the bottom two. The same machine offers soda and snacks in hospital accounts.
For Elliott, this machine allows him to get the extra revenue from these products without investing in a dedicated snack vender plus a dedicated beverage machine. This is an excellent choice for satellite break areas.
Randolph Sheppard of Wisconsin, which manages the services for the state's blind agencies, has used a GPL 480 glassfront machine to offer soda and snacks in post office annexes that are not large enough to justify a dedicated beverage machine and a dedicated snack vender, noted Kent Walser, manager of business development for the Madison, Wis.-based agency.
Walser noted that this machine is not a great revenue generator, but it is profitable, and it allows him to satisfy a customer that also has some larger facilities. "We have their main facility, which is a very good location," he said.
Reftrofit trays offer options
Dixie Narco Inc. recently introduced retrofit trays that convert the BeverageMax glassfront machine into a combination snack/soda or food/beverage machine. The kit includes a wide five-motor tray or a narrow 10-motor tray, a new master harness and an e-prom. Different size spirals are available to accommodate different packages. There is also a health timer.
Ann Marie-Kohlhepp, national accounts manager at Dixie Narco, said there is a big demand for milk and yogurt in many accounts today. "Anything can go in there except for something that has to be frozen," she said. Dixie Narco will offer machines with the trays already installed under the name, Entray.
Tom Hutchison, Western regional sales and marketing manager at Mountain Coin Machine Distributors Inc., based in Phoenix, Ariz., said the new Dixie Narco machine allows the operator to take advantage of the benefits of the glassfront beverage merchandiser without the difficulties many have encountered.
Everyone agrees the glassfront machine merchandises better than a closed front machine, but Hutchison noted that with 45 facings, many have found it hard to find enough beverage variety. "I think it's going to breathe new life into quite a few locations," he said. "It's almost like a c-store."
Meeting requests for food
"They're always asking for food in these smaller accounts," said Bob Daubach, St. Louis, Mo. territory salesman for Columbus, Ohio-based Shaffer Distributing Inc., who sees the new Dixie Narco machine as a solution for the account with 75 to 100 people. He has tested the newly configured Dixie Narco machine in different locations. One has 10 sandwich rows and three bottle rows (including milk, soda and juice). There were no temperature control problems.
More players enter the market
The VS4000 glassfront beverage machine from Seaga Manufacturing Inc. is another merchandiser that has a health timer and versatile shelving that enables it to offer milk, yogurt, shelf stable soup, fruit, and other non-perishable food items in addition to beverages. "It's getting close to being a food machine," said Dave Bowersox, national sales manager for the company's Vendtronics division.
Bowersox said the company does not recommend that sandwiches be put in the machine, and because the machine is not coil driven, he does not recommend candy or snacks. The machine does have vertical adjustable shelves, allowing it to vend most size and shape beverage packages, in addition to many nonperishable food items.