Powerful planogramming: A demonstration on merchandising

July 21, 2023
In this education session from the 2023 NAMA Show, a panel of experienced operators explored three areas relating to merchandising for various location types.

In this education session from the 2023 NAMA Show, a panel of experienced operators explored three areas relating to merchandising for various location types. They discussed different solutions for multiple locations and how to create attractive, comfortable and functional spaces with product merchandising in mind.

Panelists included: Arthur Siller, SVP of operations, Evergreen Refreshments; David Pemberton, chief operating officer, the Pepi Companies; and Louis Baresh, sales manager, Executive Refreshments.

This article is part of a series from Automatic Merchandiser and VendingMarketWatch.com that recaps some of the sessions from the 2023 NAMA Show. Check out Automatic Merchandiser’s Vending & OCS Nation podcast, hosted by Bob Tullio, for more comments on the education sessions.

Cafeteria services

In a cafeteria setting, David Pemberton, chief operating officer, the Pepi Companies, said he asks the question, What’s the target – who are we serving? That is an important focus.

Pemberton outlined some key points relating to cafeteria service.

  • If a facility has quick break times, you need to create a space that can serve employees very quickly, very efficiently. Grab-and-go scenarios and quick checkout are important.
  • Communicating with end users using monitors and signage is important, relating to products and pricing. This will help move customers through the line more easily.
  • Put impulse products at the front of this line, not the end of the line, when quick checkout is a priority.
  • Switching from fountain to bottled drinks can also speed up the checkout process and eliminate mess.
  • The employee focus has changed from a leisurely dining experience, with a new priority of quickly getting their lunch and having the time to enjoy their break.

Traditional micro markets 

Arthur Siller, SVP of operations, Evergreen Refreshments, said his company is involved in operating over 1,000 micro markets.

Siller outlined some key points relating to micro markets:

  • Micro markets need to be a destination, and they need to be visible.
  • Having a micro market that looks like it can roll out the door is not ideal. Markets need to look special – invest to make them appear more permanent. Louis Barash, sales manager, Executive Refreshments, added that investing in design pays off – it has for his company.
  • One point of sale should be enough. This type of location should be a manageable traffic flow.
  • Place your point of sale near the entrance and your beverages further from your point of sale.
  • Know your impulse buys, which vary from market to market. Look at c-store data, visit c-stores and see what they are putting in their point-of-sale racks.
  • Ideally, in a micro market, you should be able to avoid listing specific prices for every item – maybe a range of pricing, if anything at all.
  • If you are providing coffee in a micro market, place it as close to the point of sale as possible.

Hotel lobby markets

Siller said there is a big opportunity for operators in hotel markets. “What we consider standard service looks to them like a white glove approach. That is how badly they need the service component,” he said. He also outlined some key points on serving hotel markets.

  • Be prepared to have sundries.
  • You need to have breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack items.
  • Place the market in sight of the front desk, but not close to the front door. Near an elevator bank is ideal. Again, a price range posting as opposed to specific pricing is ideal.

Building lobbies

  • More emphasis on grab and go.
  • Product mix can include everything from detergent to phone chargers to sundries.
  • Get tenant buy-in. Baresh said it is important to connect with building tenants and get their input, allowing them to select specific products.

Siller wrapped it up by saying that if an operator is going to invest in merchandising and planograms, then they need to take it seriously. His company has people dedicated to the process, evaluating data and providing product placement guidance. “For us, it is worth the investment. It’s working,” he said.


Bob Tullio is a content specialist, speaker, sales trainer, consultant and contributing editor of Automatic Merchandiser/VendingMarketWatch.com. He advises entrepreneurs on how to build a successful business from the ground up and specializes in helping suppliers connect with operators in the convenience services industry – coffee service, vending, micro markets and pantry service specifically. 

Subscribe to Automatic Merchandiser's new podcast, Vending & OCS Nation, hosted by Tullio and designed to make your business more profitable.

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Tullio delivers this promise to any company that hires him for a 30-minute or 1-hour Zoom call: "One short session with me will elevate the performance of your sales team.”


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