The Vending Machine Conundrum

The expected number of drinks vended per day and the layout of the business premises are the most important considerations when selecting a vending machine. Other factors are involved but these are a matter of personal preference rather than practical implications.

It is probably not worth investing in a hot drinks vending machine unless more than 25 cups of beverage are consumed per day. A small coffee machine, kettle or brewer would probably suffice.

Research has shown that a typical office worker will consume 3-4 cups of coffee or tea per day from a conveniently situated vending machine that is set at a fair and reasonable vend price. Consumption tends to increase to 5-6 cups a day when on ‘free-vend’. The number of drinks expected to be vended to visitors and customers should also be factored in.

The layout of the business’s premises is also important. Many companies prefer to have all their vending machines in one designated area. Some business may prefer to have smaller table top machines situated in more convenient positions throughout the office.

Modern drinks vending machines offer a fantastic range of beverages. Freshly brewed tea, coffee direct from the bean, luxury cappuccino, mocha and latte are all available. Machines that serve hot beverages made from only from instant ingredients can also be a viable alternative if there are budget constraints.

Other options include selecting the drink strength, extra sugar or a no-cup option so staff may use their own coffee mug. Many machines now offer large 12oz cups so the beverage is comparable in size and quality to drinks purchased at the local coffee shop. Most vending suppliers now offer drinks made from ethical and sustainable sources and this can be an important factor in determining which company to choose.

Most vending machines are available in a number of different colour schemes and many suppliers can offer bespoke graphics so that the machine matches the company decor or logo.

Typically, a vending machine is supplied on a lease rental basis and the company can set the vend price to subsidise, break-even or make a small profit depending on the price and quantity of drinks served.

Large businesses with many staff may be in the strong position of negotiating with a supplier so that all the vending equipment is installed, serviced and maintained free of charge. The vending operating company is responsible for filling, cleaning and servicing the machine as well as collecting the cash. Some deals for the larger user may even have the benefit of ‘cash-back’ deals as a percentage of revenue taken through the vending equipment.

A reputable vending supplier will always listen the requirements of the customer first before making a recommendation, rather than simply promoting the virtues of the latest equipment.

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