Vending Newbies – Five Things to Consider.

Making the decision to buy your first vending machine is not one that you will take lightly, especially when it has the potential to completely transform your workplace for the better. With most people who are new to vending not knowing where to start, we thought we’d share the five common considerations to make, before you sign on the dotted line.

Size really does matter when it comes to buying a vending machine

There are a couple of crucial size considerations when you’re looking at your first vending solution. Firstly, there’s the size of your organisation, both the physical premises and the number of staff who are based on-site. Secondly, you’ll need to consider the size and capacity of the vending machines, which should be directly related to the size of premises and staff numbers.

Vending machines make most commercial sense for organisations who have more than 50 staff on site, typically. There will be a tipping point for every business where the benefit of implementing vending outweighs the costs of doing so – this can be the commercial breakeven point, where the revenues generated by a new machine are higher than the cost of buying, or the benefits to staff of having ready access to cold drinks, snacks and fresh food makes it sensible to invest.

Take care though, as even if the business decision is sound, the premises you’re on need to be suitable for a vending machine, with adequate space, access and electricity supply all important considerations when buying a vending machine.

The right machine for the right environment

It’s also important to understand the footfall, demand for products and the usage of the space you’re going to put it into. If you are looking to buy a vending machine that will be on the shop floor of a manufacturing facility, it will need to be more hardwearing and easy to operate when wearing PPE than a machine in a quiet office space might be.

Staff in manufacturing and industrial settings are likely to be operating machinery with greasy, or oily components, and that’s the last thing you’d want on a touchscreen when you’re next in-line to choose your snack. Sturdier keypad devices are often better at working in these environments, so making sure you understand what the technology differences are between machines is hugely important. especially if you’re wanting cashless or contactless vending.

Is it you, or is it me?

Managing, rotating and ordering new stock for your vending machine can be a time consuming and distracting exercise, especially if you’re a busy Office Manager or Facilities Manager. If you are really keen to keep costs under control and will have a straightforward product rotation, then this might be a good shout, but most of the time it’s worth the extra fee of having a vending operator do all of this on your behalf. And besides, they’re experts who are managing stock and cleaning machines day in, day out.

A Fully Managed Vending Service is a great way to take that stress and distraction away. At Connect Vending, this is our most popular service for those investing in new machines, as not only does it take away the stock element, but also means that any call outs for engineers to come and fix equipment are covered in your costs. With 75% of engineer visits being within 4 hours of logging a service call and 90% of all faults being fixed first time, it’s definitely something worth having a think about if you decide that Connect is the vending partner for you.

If you decide against having a service and maintenance plan, you can always buy stock from wholesale suppliers, which vending companies like Connect will happily provide you with competitive pricing for.

To buy or not to buy a vending machine, that is the question

Like with most other purchases in 2022, you’ve got a great deal of freedom when it comes to machine financing. Yes, you can buy a machine outright with a one-off payment, but most of the business buying vending machines opt for a lease agreement and stagger their payments across a three, five or sometimes seven-year deal.

Some vending businesses still offer Free on Loan (FoL) machines, but in our experience these are few and far between, and for good reason – companies opting for FoL are more likely to receive poor service, both from an operating and maintenance perspective. It may look great on paper that there’s no upfront or ongoing cost associated with your new machines, but you could be in for a bumpy ride if your operators aren’t regularly turning up to clean, stock or fix your machines.

We’d strongly recommend investing in your equipment, operating and maintenance packages – you’ll be avoiding lots of frustration in the long run.

Your brand and your culture

There are many different routes you can take into the world of vending, depending on what your staff’s food and drink requirements are. But when you do want to buy a vending machine, a coffee machine or any other vending solution, you need to consider how the machines, aesthetically and in terms of the products they vend, will tie in with your brand identity and company culture.

Let’s use a London tech start-up as an example – a vibrant, energetic and rapidly growing company is looking for the best way to keep staff productive and happy all day, every day. Their brand centres on challenging the status quo, and delivering new ways to solve old problems. Throughout the week the business can expect to see prospective investors, clients, potential new starters, and a range of other important stakeholders.

As a forward-thinking tech startup, they want everyone who walks through their doors to know that they’re doing something different – and their food and drink solutions shouldn’t be an exception. For this organisation, investing in premium solutions, whether it’s a high-end matte finished water tap to make a tasty tea at the turn of a tap, or a fresh milk coffee station with a fantastic, modern touchscreen interface.

Similarly, if your business is manufacturing important mechanical components for customers, you want everyone at the workplace to know that the vending machines and coffee machines will stand the test of time and be as rock-solid as the products you’re making. This alignment with your brand and culture will have an influence on the machines you put into your workplace, and is something that companies like Connect consult companies on as part of the sales process.

If you’re looking for assistance navigating the vending world for the first time, look no further. Connect Vending have been working with businesses for more than 25 years, and will work with you throughout the process to ensure your first vending solution is the right one. Speak to our expert team by calling us on 01865 341011 or by contacting us.