You would think that there is a fundamental conflict between vending solutions and the HORECA industries, with restaurants, cafes and hotels seeing very little relevance for vending machines in businesses that typically rely on providing food and drink to their clients to generate large portions of their revenue.
The reality? It’s not as clear cut as you might think at first glance, and although there are some crossovers between the provisions available via fresh food vending, snack vending and coffee vending, there is space for both to coexist and deliver significant benefits to HORECA businesses. In this article, we explore how.
Vending Machines in Hotels
If you’ve ever watched a tv series or a film, you’ve likely seen a snack vending machine or cold drinks machine in a hotel or motel. Vending machines are the perfect solution to place in hotel lobbies or corridors for one obvious reason – they’re accessible by clients 24/7, so when room service and the hotel restaurant are out of commission, guests can still get access to food and drinks. And as far as films and tv sets go, hotel vending machines make a great focal point to centre dialogue around!
Hotels that introduce vending also benefit from a captive audience – generally speaking, hotel guests don’t like the idea of getting out of bed at 3am and trekking to the nearest shop (and hoping that it’s still open). Whether you’re after a refreshing bottle of water or a sugary snack to give you an energy boost, these machines are tactically placed and highly effective use cases for vending machines.
You’re less likely to see fresh food vending machines in these settings as the type of settings as most people staying in hotels have plans outside of the hotel for lunches and dinners, and breakfasts are typically served up by the hotel restaurant.
Coffee Machines in Cafes
When you’re visiting your local café for a bite to eat and a nice cup of tea or coffee, you’d expect to see a fancy barista machine and some coffee brewing wizardry as they whip together your drink. This is still the mainstay of smaller coffee shops, but as the coffee market grows ever larger and cost pressures increase, some coffee shops are starting to look for other ways of delivering hot drinks.
Commercial coffee machines are now seriously impressive pieces of kit, and can put out high quality bean to cup espresso, alongside frothy fresh milk, and can also deliver syrup shots into cups for a flavoured beverage. Some cafes, and even some high street coffee chains, now utilise commercial coffee machines to reduce the time taken to grind and brew espresso coffee, helping them get more customers orders fulfilled and keep everyone happy that they aren’t waiting around.
There are also well-known pubs which rely entirely on automatic coffee vending machines as self-serve coffee bays for their customers to grab their own hot drinks, which again helps them reduce queues at the bar and removes the need for trained baristas to be available every shift.
We have also seen some cafes that have utilised smart fridges or other fresh food vending options to help remove some of the burden on staff during peak hours, where they are needed to wait tables or manage more complex hot food orders.
Fresh Food Vending Machines for Restaurants
Restaurants utilising fresh food vending machines is a trend which saw significant growth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, where diners and takeaway customers were not able to enter the restaurant dining areas or interact with staff because of social distancing rules, especially during the lockdowns.
Fresh food vending machines gave these restaurants the ability to hold pre-prepared food in ovenproof or microwave ready packaging so that they can be purchased, taken home and heated up at home. Restaurant vending machines provided a vital source of revenue for businesses whilst they were unable to have paid guests visit for sit down meals.
Commercial smart fridges have grown in popularity over the last couple of years for this exact reason – their flexibility, security and accessibility are now in much higher demand by businesses who need to claw back some revenue, and by consumers who are looking for more convenient ways to access food.
Whatever HORECA setting your business is in, we’re confident that we have vending machines and solutions available that can help you reduce costs, increase speed of delivery and reduce queues for your coffee, fresh food and confectionery products.
To find out more, speak to our expert team on 01865 341011 or contact us.