In working on our upcoming State of the Vending Industry Report, it has become clear that good things are happening in today's highly challenging business environment.There is no doubt that new technology is creating a lot of excitement, even in a recession. And while I'm a big supporter of technology, I don't believe that technology in and of itself will return vending to the relevant role it once played in consumers' lives.
Coffee service, by contrast, has held its own during the recession. Why? Because today's office coffee presentations are relevant to the consumer. Today's brew-on-demand systems excite the consumer and beat the pants off of alternative retail options when it comes to overall value.We as an industry must think long and hard about what this means to vending's future.Convenience has always been vendings leading equity. But it has never been enough in and of itself to win the sale.Once upon a time, vending banks offered lots of food selections. As economics have changed, the food machines have been removed, relegating vending to snacks and beverages. This isnt enough to restore vending to its former glory.Vending has a unique equity in the convenience it offers consumers. It needs to find a way to better leverage that equity, and the food business holds a big part of that puzzle.