The industry continues to recover. Operators on the Operator Confidence Index Board report a strong third quarter for 2016, raising the the overall OCI number to 133.9, 8 points higher than it was a year ago. All segments appear to be adding accounts and doing well as businesses add employees.
Vending and office coffee service have seen the most shift, depending on the strength of the local economy. Micro markets are a straightforward leader, however, inspiring an extremely high outlook as we head into 2017.
Vending remains a stable core business with a flat to strong outlook. It has been recovering steadily since the recession and in the hot months of summer, many vending operators did quite well. Technology is pushing vending forward with operators recognizing that cashless payments can drive sales. In smaller locations it is still the most economical way to deliver food, snacks and beverages.
Coffee service is having a soft year although still presenting a strong revenue opportunity. While aggregate sales continue to increase, operators have found growth of OCS difficult in certain areas. In some cases, revenues have slipped while in others business customers are adding employees and asking for additional services from the OCS provider. This is drawing mixed reviews but overall the outlook is positive.
Micro markets are the strongest segment, with potential growth driving operators into new location with speed. In some cases, the addition of micro markets is taking the place of vending sales, but revenues are usually higher, making the switch profitable. Micro market operators see micro markets as the future of the workplace breakroom, with very little chance installs will slow over the coming months.