Vistar Corp., the nation’s only nationwide vend product distribution company, has replaced its own vending banks in its Denver, Colo. headquarters with a “micro market” and has been so impressed by the results that the company has committed to expanding its product offerings to serve these self checkout markets in all of its distribution centers.
Patrick Hagerty, president of Vistar Corp., told VendingMarketWatch that Vistar is expanding offerings to include non-food items and perishable items in addition to other single-serve products that cannot fit into vending machines.
Hagerty noted that the company’s expansion into retail channels besides vending in recent years has prepared it to offer more stock keeping units (SKUs). Vistar has expanded into the college book store market, hotel gift shops and airport gift shops in recent years.
Six months ago, Hagerty noted, Vistar replaced its vending machines with an Avanti Markets market serviced by A & R Services LLC, based in Monument, Colo. He said the market offers about 300 SKUs, which is far more than the vending machines did.
“One of the big wins is the variety,” he said.
Hagerty said the sales have dramatically increased. He said Vistar has been able to use a prepaid card to reward employees with purchase credits.
Hagerty said vending operators expanding into the “micro markets” will be able to source all product from Vistar.
Hagerty said he does not expect the micro markets to replace vending. He said the markets make sense in large, secure locations.