Stuart Bond, owner of City Wide Vending in Kansas City, MO, had a problem and needed a streamlined solution. While the company had the ability to remotely monitor the temperature of its vending equipment to prevent food spoilage, that wasn’t the case for its micro market coolers.
“There were health lockout mechanisms available for the coolers, but there was no wireless technology behind them,” Bond said.
Sometimes, a customer would call the company and tell staff that a cooler door got locked in the micro market, he said. This might occur when a shopper left the door open for too long while deciding which product to choose. The temperature would rise inside the cooler, just long enough to trigger the locking mechanism, especially during busy times when the cooler door would be opened and closed repeatedly. A service technician would then need to respond to resolve the situation.
City Wide Vending deploys FreshTraq feature from TriTeq
When Bond heard about the TriTeq FreshTraq feature, which would give him remote monitoring and unlocking abilities for his micro markets, he seized the opportunity.
“We’re able to see the real-time temperature of all the coolers at all times. And if they hit certain thresholds that aren’t right, we’re able to respond to make sure that the coolers are cooling properly and working properly,” Bond said.
He said with FreshTraq, City Wide Vending staff can remotely lock or unlock the cooler, which saves time and money.
“Food safety is everything,” Bond said. “Making sure you maintain the temperature of your food from the warehouse cooler into the truck and maintain the correct temperature at the truck and to get it into the cooler in the customers’ breakroom is so important, and having FreshTraq behind you to be able to monitor the food when it’s not in your care is a nice feature. It gives us that ability to monitor everything so much more closely and to make sure that everything is working well for our customer.”
FreshTraq in action
FreshTraq has come in handy multiple times. For example, recently a customer emailed Bond to let him know a cooler door had locked, and it was about to be the employee's lunchtime.
Sending a service technician to the location would have involved a commute of about 20 to 25 minutes to the site during lunchtime, the busiest time of the day for the operator.
Instead, City Wide Vending personnel were able to remotely check the temperature of the cooler and see that the temperature had dropped in an appropriate amount of time after a brief increase. Because the temperature had dropped in a safe amount of time, the decision was made to remotely unlock the door. If the temperature had not dropped in the appropriate amount of time, the door would have remained locked, and personnel would have been dispatched to dispose of the food and restock the cooler.
“Being able to remotely unlock the cooler allowed for us to save time on sending a technician out, the cost of sending a technician and we were able to generate sales through our market during the lunch hour because the cooler was able to be opened back up as well,” Bond said. “It was a win-win. The customer was happy, and it was a quick turnaround for the customer.”
FreshTraq plays role in company strategy
Bond said he has worked in the vending business for pretty much his whole life. He grew up working for his father’s vending business on school breaks, and he learned the business over the years. After time in other industries, Bond decided to start his own vending operation, City Wide Vending. Bond's father, Gary, has been a huge part of City Wide Vending's success over the years and has helped City Wide Vending become the company it is today. Both father and son continue to grow the business working side-by-side in the Kansas City market.
“We try to utilize the latest technology available for our micro markets and for vending. This product has just been great to have, a great addition to all our markets. Our customers love knowing that we have that security feature available to ensure the food is monitored and safe for their staff, 24 hours a day,” said Bond.