Apriva, a provider of end-to-end wireless transactions and secure information solutions, and MEI, the leading global manufacturer of unattended payment systems, announced that they will jointly host a town hall meeting on the economic advantages of deploying bill recycling technology, intelligent vending solutions, and cashless payments solutions at the Southeastern Vending Association (SEVA) Conference, at the Sandestin Resort in Destin, Fla. The town hall is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 4th at 1:30 p.m. in the Magnolia D room at the Baytowne Conference Center. The event is open to all vending operators attending SEVA, and is free of charge.
Following 2010’s town hall event at SEVA, this year’s session focuses on the variety of solutions that vending operators can successfully leverage in order to grow revenue, reduce costs and increase profitability. Among the topics to be covered are bill recycling benefits and site recommendations, intelligent vending and advanced telemetry solutions, vend pricing strategies, location, demographics and other factors for successful bill recycling and cashless vending, and an overview of Interchange policies and processes.
“With our Apriva Vend™ offering, we’ve worked with vending operators throughout the country who are now enjoying the tangible business benefits associated with cashless technology,” noted Stacey Finley Tappin, vice president for Apriva in a prepared statement. “We would like to use this town hall session as a vehicle to share our collective experiences and demonstrate how operators can use cashless technologies to address their most urgent needs, like breaking out of a commoditized sales cycle, reducing OPEX, and most importantly, improving profit margins.”
An end-to-end solution, Apriva Vend gives operators the ability to cost-effectively integrate cashless vending into their operations to improve customer satisfaction, increase operational efficiency, and capture better sales and profit margins. Apriva Vend’s comprehensive services incorporate system hardware and software, wireless connectivity, transaction and alarm reporting capabilities, and integration with leading payment processors and financial institutions.
“Bill recycling and cashless payment solutions are proven tools for driving same location sales lifts. Many of the operators we speak with already have a good understanding of the mechanics of bill recycling or cashless technology, and are currently evaluating the practicality of deploying these solutions within their own businesses,” said Chuck Reed, MEI’s marketing director. “This Town Hall event gives us an extraordinary opportunity to share best practices, and reinforce the numerous benefits that bill recycling and cashless technology delivers to operators across the board.” ion in?ai?8??ald’s will expand new in-restaurant, website and mobile communications, and marketing vehicles making access to this information even easier. To begin, McDonald’s is now making available its first mobile app so customers can access nutrition information on-the-go on iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android devices.
During the past two years, the McDonald’s system has significantly invested in nutritional menu innovations and communications. Examples include investing in scientific and customer research, expanded agricultural supply chain contracts, an expanded team of nutrition experts, and updating nutrition information on McDonald’s website.
“As a member of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, I applaud the commitments made by McDonald's today,” said Roger Clemens, University of Southern California, adjunct professor of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences. “They have captured the intent of the Guidelines and have taken a reasoned, evidence-based approach that should have a positive impact on the millions of children and adults McDonald’s serves every day.”
“I welcome and support today’s announcement by McDonald’s. These types of incremental improvements in popular meals can have a broad impact on public health,” said Adam Drewnowski, PhD, director, University of Washington Center for Obesity Research. “Better to improve the diets of many than to seek perfection for the few.”
Actions in support of the nutrition commitments are already underway at restaurants.
- Sodium Reduction: McDonald’s has already reduced sodium by 10 percent in the majority of its national chicken menu offerings – most recently Chicken McNuggets®, a Happy Meal favorite. Sodium reductions will continue across the menu in accordance with the Company’s 2015 commitments.
- New Happy Meal: McDonald’s will begin rolling out the new Happy Meal in September 2011, with the goal of having them available in all 14,000 restaurants during Q1 2012. The new Happy Meal will automatically include both produce (apple slices, a quarter cup or half serving) and a new smaller size French fries (1.1 ounces) along with the choice of a hamburger, cheeseburger or Chicken McNuggets, and choice of beverage, including new fat-free chocolate milk and 1 percent low fat white milk. For those customers who prefer a side choice of apples only, two bags of apple slices will be available, upon request.
- By adding fruit in every Happy Meal, McDonald’s hopes to address a challenge children face in meeting the recommended daily consumption of produce. McDonald’s has offered apples as a requested choice in Happy Meals since 2004. And, while recent research found that on average, 88 percent of McDonald’s customers are aware of the option, apples are chosen in only 11 percent of Happy Meal purchases.
“Recent research has shown that younger children are consuming more fruits and vegetables, but we still have a long way to go to increase consumption to meet daily recommendations for these important food groups,” said Elizabeth Pivonka, PhD, RD, president and CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation. “McDonald’s announcement to include apples in every Happy Meal and being one of the first quick service restaurant to do so - further strengthens their seven years of support in our campaign to educate children and their parents on the benefits of fruits and vegetables.”
For many months and in some cases, years, McDonald’s has been engaging suppliers, government and non-government organizations to determine ways it could play a role in helping society address today’s obesity concerns. McDonald’s will develop additional fruit and vegetable choices and expects them to roll out over the next few years. The company will continue to evaluate new scientific research, public health statistics and customer insights and behavior to determine further nutrition adaptations to Happy Meals.
“McDonald’s agrees with leading food and nutrition experts that making incremental lifestyle modifications with food consumption may lead to improvements in an individual’s well-being,” said Cindy Goody, PhD, MBA, RD, McDonald’s senior director of nutrition. “We support parents in their effort to encourage their children to enjoy the foods that are good for them along with the foods they love.”
- Children’s food and beverage advertising initiative: Since 2006, McDonald’s has supported the Council of Better Business Bureaus (“CBBB”) Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (“CFBAI”) involving a voluntary Food Pledge to only nationally advertise products to kids that represent healthier dietary choices. McDonald’s was actively engaged in the process to help develop CBBB’s recently announced more rigorous pledge standards, which include stricter sodium and sugar criteria, zero grams artificial trans fat per labeled serving, and requirements for nutrient components to encourage.
- Listening tour: To ensure that the company’s ongoing commitments are supporting parents and communities, Fields and McDonald’s U.S. executive leadership team will embark on a national listening tour in August. They will hear directly from parents and nutrition experts about how McDonald’s can play a role in this important topic. McDonald’s will launch a new online parents’ community that provides a forum for McDonald’s and parents to more frequently engage in dialog around these important topics.
- Accountability and measurement: To evaluate McDonald’s progress and the impacts of its nutrition commitments, McDonald’s will rely on independent third-parties with expertise in children’s well-being. The company is establishing a Kids’ Food and Nutrition Advisory Board comprised of parents and experts in children’s nutrition, education and behavior to help develop effective nutrition and active lifestyle marketing messages and programming for kids. McDonald’s will also enter into an agreement with a third-party organization to collaborate on a comprehensive measurement process that sets benchmarks and annual progress against commitment goals, which will be reported publicly.