by Abco | Jun 18, 2013 | Vending Business Show
Is There Money to Make in Healthy Vending An interview with Larry Towner
Excerpts from the interview: Is There Money to Make In Healthy Vending
“Healthy vending products are hot, they constitute a growing market segment that needs to be capitalized on,but the business opportunities,…Is There Money to Make in Healthy Vending you need to do serious research on any business opportunity before investing in that opportunity.”
Are there ways to offer Healthy vending solutions besides these Business opportunities?
“A business opportunity wants to sell you machines fronted with a healthy promotional sign. They promise to place the machines. They promise fabulous profits.” Is There Money to Make in Healthy Vending?
“I always suggest to my clients that they partner with a reputable equipment supplier, someone that has many years of experience in the vending industry, a company that has a reputation of providing excellent equipment at a fair price and provides outstanding customer service after the sale. My choice was Joe Nichols and his staff at A&M Equipment.”
“In regards to Healthy product promotion, he has many options available, from machines fully with Healthy Vend logos, to individual column selections promoted as healthy selections.”
“The opportunities abound, just be smart. Get help from experienced people. I can consult, Joe Nichols can consult, talk to other business people, network. Be wary of someone promising the world.”
Listen to the interview:
Tom Shivers: Is There Money to Make in Healthy Vending Hi, this is Tom Shivers with the Vending Business Show and Larry Towner is on the call here as well. Thanks for joining us, Larry.
Larry Towner,: How are you, Tom?
Tom Shivers: I’m hanging in there. Today we’re going to talk about healthy vending and I know that’s a very hot topic right now. All kinds of things even up in Congress are talking about it. So is there a business opportunity in vending healthy items?
Larry Towner,: Boy, Tom, you’re not kidding. Healthy vending products are hot right now. They really do constitute a growing market segment that needs to be capitalized on. But the business opportunities, I think you need to do some serious research on any business opportunity before investing into that opportunity.
Tom Shivers: Why do you say that?
Larry Towner,: Well, business is business and there’s several ways to approach business. But one thing all businesses have in common is a desire to make profit. Any business opportunity that offers something of value that you cannot get elsewhere, you now, the offering company wants to make a profit too. So if a guy comes to you and says, “You can make a million dollars in healthy vending,” why wouldn’t he be doing it himself? So I guess the question always is, is what are these opportunities offering? What makes them unique and valuable? If you’re going to spend some money on a business opportunity, what makes it unique? What makes it valuable?
Tom Shivers: Well, are there ways to offer healthy vending solutions besides these business opportunities?
Larry Towner,: Well, there’s always alternatives. The first place to start is with the business plan. Write down your business idea, conceptualize it on paper. Be very specific, run numbers, go in and see how many things you have to sell, do a break-even, things like that. It’s very, very important to write a business plan for any business that you get into. This exercise in writing a business plan can either save you or make you thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars.
Tom Shivers: Get more specific.
Larry Towner,: Well, let’s just say a business opportunity wants to sell you machines fronted with healthy promotional signs and they promise to place the machine, and they promise fabulous profits and what alternatives might be out there? Well, vending companies invest large amounts of money into their equipment. Vending is a very capital intensive business. I suggest to my clients that they partner with a reputable equipment supplier, someone that’s got lots of years of experience in the vending industry, has a great reputation of providing excellent equipment at fair prices and providing outstanding customer service after the sale. I’m going to tell you, if you don’t have customer service after the sale on your vending equipment, you are really going to be left out in trouble because equipment is equipment and I don’t care what business you’re in, if you have equipment, things are going to happen to it, you’re going to need either a repair source or somebody to help you troubleshoot these things. My choice has always been Joe Nichols and his staff at A&M Equipment. Joe started in the vending businesses and actually his family has been in the vending business for 35 years. He intrinsically understands the wants and needs of vending operators because he’s been one.
Larry Towner,: In regards to healthy product promotion, he has a bunch of options to choose from. You can get a machine that’s fully logoed, that has healthy signs on the front and you can customize those signs, you can do whatever you’d like as far as your own branding concept is on healthy vending. Or it can take you right down the column level, meaning if you just want to vend one or two items, he can do a promotional item up inside the machine that says, “These items are healthy” or whatever it is. But my goal always is, is if you can stay flexible with your promotions, it’s almost a better way to do it. You can promote your healthy selections as a part of your total product instead of the whole machine. But that takes you back to your business plan. You want that whole machine to be healthy products or do you want to mix those product selections? Have you even thought about it? A couple of words of caution, a typical snack machine costs around a thousand to 35 hundred dollars used, and 25 hundred to 5 thousand dollars new, depending on options and your customizations.
Larry Towner,: This snack machine should be fully electronic and have the ability to take credit cards and debit cards, as well as coin and paper currency, as it were, to take actual money. These are all things that, again, a reputable equipment supplier will be able to discuss your options and to give you the kind of information that you need as to whether or not this is going to be valuable to you. That’s always been my take. It’s just stay flexible and understand exactly what you’re trying to do.
Tom Shivers: You didn’t address the placement of machines.
Larry Towner,: Well, machine placement, it’s real common for people to promise they’ll place a machine out there for you and one of the things that we always say in that is is that sales basically is a … Or machine placement, if you want to call it that is a sales prop. It’s just a numbers game. If you call in enough people, you’re going to be able to place your equipment. In vending, placement is relatively easy. My numbers ran, and I’m not a stupendous sales person, but if I called on 10 businesses, I would end up placing one machine. And again, that’s a general average. It always seemed to work out this way. I had to make 50 calls before I got that one placement, but then I got 5 in a row. So when I took my long-term statistics, I knew if I knocked on enough doors, I would get the business.
Larry Towner,: But it depends on a bunch of factors and things like that. But that’s the kind of thing that if you think about it as it’s just a sales process, you need to do it. A lot of these business opportunities promise placement, but usually they provide you with locations that you could obtain by yourself with minimal efforts. I wouldn’t be paying a premium for placement of machines if they’re in marginally profitable locations. If there was so much profit to be made in these accounts, why would you be giving them away? That’s what I always say when it comes to the placement issues.
Tom Shivers: What else can you tell us about healthy vending?
Larry Towner,: Well, opportunities abound right now. As you said, we’ve got legislation going on in congress, we’ve got … It’s really a hot button right now. The big thing is just be smart. Get help from experienced people. I can consult, Joe Nichols can consult the vein of equipment. Talk to other people in the business, network. Just be wary of somebody promising you the world and talking about net profits and how you can place these and make tons and tons and tons of money. So that’s just always my words of advice to anybody that’s considering starting a new business is just be smart. Be patient. The opportunity will be there. The healthy vending opportunities are here now and they’ll continue to be here as our society gets more and more health conscious. And so be smart.
Tom Shivers: Well, thanks for sharing, Larry. Tell us about your business and what you do.
Larry Towner,: Well, we do consulting for the vending industry and we do videos and podcasts just like this. We can be reached at [email protected] That’s S-E-R-V-I-C-E-G-R-O-U-P-I-N-T-E-R-N-A-T-I-O-N-A-L. I don’t know my own spelling. @earthlink.net. Anyway, that’s how you reach us. We would love to consult with you on any of your leads and things like that. We’re extremely reasonably priced and things like that. Or contact Joe at A&M Equipment.
Tom Shivers: You’ve been listening to Is There Money to Make in Healthy Vending at the Vending Business Show, a production of A&M Equipment sales.
Other Vending Business Show blogs How To Start A Vending Machine Business
by Abco | May 7, 2013 | Vending News
Should Schools Have Vending Machines As many of you know, Congress has been debating legislature to regulate vending machines in all K-12 schools to require that vending machines provide only healthy options. The debate is rather interesting…
Should Schools Have Vending Machines Those in support of this bill argue that:
- There’s an obesity epidemic among America’s youth and vending machines are aggravating the problem.
- The market for healthy snacks will improve if this action is taken.
- Sugar and caffeine often cause students to lose attention and focus.
Should Schools Have Vending Machines Those who oppose the bill argue that:
- It’s not up to the schools to decide the eating habits of students or teachers.
- Revenue from vending machines is used to pay for all kinds of school expenses like football uniforms, band trips, etc. Healthy snacks aren’t expected to bring in as much revenue.
- In banning these machines, schools are saying that some foods are “bad.” Instead schools should provide educations on healthy eating and exercise habits.
- Banning these foods on campus will cause some students to leave in search of their desired snack, increasing tardiness, etc.
Should Schools Have Vending Machines See more details about the bill in Congress and how some representatives have voted.
Over at debate.org, a site that promotes open discussion between all members of the community on a wide range of topics, people have weighed in on this issue. As of today:
- 81% say “Yes, schools should have vending machines” and
- 19% say “No, schools should not have vending machines.”
In addition to the above arguments, there are a number of other arguments or opinions on this issue. On the “Yes” side of the debate:
Chele72 says “There is no reason a vending machine HAS to be filled with garbage they can just as easily be filled with fairly healthy choices like granola bars or 100 calorie packs or perhaps nuts and trail mixes.”
Kurta234 says, “IF the parent teaches the child the good and bad foods early on kids would know that its okay to have a snack every once in a while without overstuffing.”
alyssaa says, “There is nothing wrong with giving students choices about what they will consume.”
On the “No” side of the debate:
Anonymous says, “Putting vending machines in school is putting temptation in school for our kids – a poor choice on our part as adults.”
Anonymous says, “It wouldn’t be fair to have vending machines in school because the children that don’t have money to get vending food would feel left out and if a friend gave them money for vending foods they might not have the money they need and go after the kid who he has given the money to”
What’s your opinion on this debate? Should Schools Have Vending Machines More Vending Business Blogs Gym Vending Machine
by Abco | Apr 9, 2013 | Research, Vending News
This year’s Best Vending Machine Products is
The winners of the Automatic Merchandiser’s Readers Choice Awards for “Products of the Year” were recently announced in a number of categories. Winners for new products of the year include:
- Cookie category – LLC’s RUGER® Strawberry Wafers
- Candy category – DOVE® Silky Smooth Cookies and Creme bar
- Food category – Pierre Drive Thru™ Deluxe sandwich
- Snack category – Kellogg’s Special K® Cracker Chips
- Cold beverage category – Nestlé Sweet Leaf Tea
- Hot beverage category – Barista Prima Coffeehouse® Vanilla Latte Café Beverage
- Pastry category – Mrs. Freshley’s Cinnabon® Honey Bun
Learn the winners of micro markets, all-natural healthy, and OCS categories at VendingMarketWatch
Best Vending Machine Products are the cookie category winner, RUGER®, LLC’s RUGER® Strawberry Wafers, is served in multi-functional pouches perfect for traditional vending or micro markets, as is the Best Vending Machine Products diverse packaging sizes of the candy category winner Mars Chocolate North America DOVE® Brand Silky Smooth Cookies and Crème bar. The Best Vending Machine Products in food category winner, AdvancePierre Foods Pierre Drive Thru™ Deluxe sandwich, fits the growing micro market trend by offering restaurant-style food.
Wellness focused, the Best Vending Machine Products snack category winner, Kellogg’s® Special K® Cracker Chips is regarded as a healthy choice snack low in sodium and calories. In addition, the cold beverage category winner, Nestlé Sweet Leaf Tea, is viewed as a healthy beverage alternative, made with pure cane sugar and no high-fructose corn syrup.
Consistent with the demand for café-quality office coffee, the Best Vending Machine Products is Barista Prima Coffeehouse® Vanilla Latte Café Beverage for the Keurig® Vue® system, has won the hot beverage category.
The last category is representative of a consumer favorite Best Vending Machine Products — Mrs. Freshley’s® Cinnabon® Honey Bunwhich won in this year’s pastry category.
by Abco | Mar 20, 2013 | Vending News
Popular Vending Machine Snacks When it comes to using vending machines, we all have our fond associations. For many, vending machines bring connotations of going swimming when we were young and eagerly tucking into a packet of chips and cup of soup from the cafeteria’s vending machine after the swim! For others, vending machines may remind us of our university years, when the students would gather outside the lecture hall’s vending machine in order to stave off hunger pangs after a rather laborious two-hour lecture!
Whatever vending machines remind us of, it has to be said that what have now become an almost inherent feature of both urban and even rural landscapes around the world, never fail to cease in popularity. Given the somewhat unique longevity of what could be described in the modern era as being a slightly old-fashioned piece of equipment, it would be interesting to know what the most popular snacks are that people demand out of the time-honored vending machine.
Popular Vending Machine Snacks According to American Merchandiser’s the top selling snack in vending machines are Snickers. Part of this chocolate bar’s popularity is likely to stem from the fact that comprising of caramel, nougat, peanuts and chocolates, Snickers are not only mouth-wateringly delicious but they fill you up as well, which is, after all, what vending machines are all about.
Popular Vending Machine Snacks The great thing about Peanut M&Ms is not only do they taste great and keep you going until lunchtime, but they are also more nutritious and healthier than you may think. Being a predominantly peanut snack, with a light coating of chocolate, Peanut MandMs are the perfect way to satisfy those pangs of hunger and cravings for a sweet snack without devastating the diet.
Given the fact that Peanut MandMs are tasty, nutritious and filling, it is hardly surprising that they are one of the most popular snacks to be bought from vending machines, as they really can refuel you whilst you’re on the go!
Popular Vending Machine Snacks Unlike a ‘conventional’ bag of chips, Doritos seem to go that bit further. This ultra-crunchy snack that comes in a variety and bold and unique flavors certainly fills an empty gap in stomachs and therefore have almost inevitably proven to be a popular choice of snack from vending machines around the world.
Popular Vending Machine Snacks The one thing that is great about the world-famous Twix is they are a fantastic accompaniment with a cup of coffee or tea. More often than not people will buy a coffee or tea from one vending machine and then choose a snack to go with it from another vending machine, which, according to American Merchandiser, is a decision which often falls in favour of a Twix. More exciting videos at Vending Machine License: Is It Something You Need?
Harry Kelly has been installing vending machines across the UK for the best part of five years and therefore has a good understanding of what snacks are popular. Harry writes for numerous websites, including www.wholesalecoffeecompany.co.uk.
by Abco | Feb 19, 2013 | Machines, Vending Business Show
AMS Vending Machines Durable and Dependable An interview with John Whitwell of Buffalo Rock
John has been buying AMS equipment for 8+ years and comments on the quality, customer appreciation from the factory and factory reps and the versatility of their machines.
“The reason I use them is they are really dependable. We use very few parts on them over the past 10 years.”
“The brand new machine that’s coming out this year; we just got a few in. The appearance of the machine is just unbelievable compared to what it used to be. The numbers are lit up, everything looks great, compared to what it used to look like.”
AMS Vending Machines Durable and Dependable “Again, I couldn’t praise more about the durability and dependability of these machines compared to what we used to deal with… good product.”
“One other plus about the AMS refrigerated machines, the 35 and 39 inch machines, is they use the same parts. Besides the shelf being wider, I don’t have to carry duel parts.”
AMS Vending Machines Durable and Dependable Tom: This is Tom Shivers with the Vending Business Show, and I’m here with John Whitwell, who is the market equipment manager for Buffalo Rock. Today we’re going to talk about AMS equipment. So thanks for being here, John.
John: Thank you.
Tom: Now with buying AMS equipment, what do you think about the quality, the warranty, and customer appreciation from the factory and factory reps of their five wide snack machines?
John: I really enjoy using the AMS. I think we started back about eight or nine years ago, and I pretty much exclusively use AMS. I toured their facility. I’ve watched from the metal coming in to the end product. I’ve met Roy Steeley, the owner of that company, all the people that work there.
John: But the biggest factor, the reason I use them, is they’re really dependable. We use very few parts on ’em over all the last ten years. And then the sales rep that I have, Tim Paul, is really knowledgeable on the equipment, and if I need him here today, he’ll come today, if he’s in the country. There are times he’ll be in Puerto Rico.
John: But generally we have a great relationship, they do a great job, and that’s one thing that I never got out of some of the other manufacturers.
Tom: Now you buy both the snack machines and the refrigerated machines, is that right?
John: That’s right.
Tom: AMS is the only manufacturer that makes a 35″ four wide, refrigerated vendor. Do you use a lot of those?
John: Well when we first started purchasing them, we bought only the refrigerated, and that’s because the refrigeration unit was, actually, the expense was only a few hundred dollars more, and we lease them back to ourselves, so that’s a big savings. And they also make a food … I don’t know if you knew that, but they make a food machine, a 35 and a 39, and that’s all I use on food as well. I use their AMS 39 and 35s.
Tom: What types of food do you dispense from the refrigerated food machines?
John: We do everything from the big sandwiches, to some of the platters, like wing platters. You can just about configure it any way you want. And, of course, that’s pretty much set through our corporate office, how they want the machines set. But we can pretty much sell anything through ’em. And we sell a lot of different things.
Tom: AMS is the only company that makes an ETL approved, high security, outdoor vendor. Do you use a lot of those?
John: We use them in the schools.
Tom: Okay. What configuration of snack machine do you buy from AMS? Single helix or dual helix? Regular fluorescent light or LED light? Gum-
John: Well, everything that’s coming to us now is the dual helix, and LED, and, of course, they’re all ADA approved. Actually the brand new machine that’s coming out this year, we just got a few in, and the appearance of the machine is just unbelievable compared to what it used to be. The numbers are lit up, everything looks great compared to what it used to look like.
John: To me, again, I couldn’t praise more about the durability and the dependability of these machines compared to what we used to deal with. Just a good product.
Tom: What do you think about the new epoch look on the machines now?
John: That’s what I was saying, the new look, to me, is just unbeliev … you know where it extrudes out and it just looks way better than the other ones. It’s a little bit more. Again, to me, as long as they work, that’s bet … you can have the best looking machine out there with all the bells and whistles, but if it doesn’t work, it’s not dependable and you’re going back to it, and you’re putting money in it as far as parts trying to make it work, then it’s no good unless it’s dependable. I think these things work great.
Tom: Do you use any of the healthy vend machines?
John: I don’t think we’ve gotten into that, I think there might be a few selections in there that they’ll code healthy vend, as far as whether it be a … I ain’t gonna say a chip because I can’t, I don’t think they are, but I know that the full line vending team does recognize, they’ll put something on there, I’ve seen it before, it says, “Healthy vend,” or something that’s on there. Is that what you’re talking about?
Tom: Yeah. Overall, which company, in your viewpoint, makes the best refrigerated vendor?
John: Again, to me, because I use AMS and I wouldn’t have stayed with them if I didn’t like it, but it’s not hard to change out the refrigeration unit if it’s bad. After a couple times, if you ever had to do it, pretty simple. So we stay with them, we really enjoy that machine. My guys’ll like it. Simple to use, that’s the biggest thing. Simple to work on.
John: One other plus about this machine, and again, I hadn’t … I’m not in touch with what the other ones do because I hadn’t given over the last ten years probably haven’t given them a whole lot of opportunity to come in here, because I get such good service out of the people from AMS, but the parts I use in an AMS 35 are the same parts that go in a AMS 39. Besides that shelf being wider, everything else is the same, so I don’t have to carry dual parts, and that’s a plus in itself.
Tom: That’s great. Now is there anything you’d like to tell us about Buffalo Rock?
John: We’ve been in business for a pretty good while, over a hundred years. I don’t know what, it was a hundred years a few years ago so I don’t know the dead on number. But I think it’s a great place to work for. I think we all is … because we have divisions all over Alabama and Georgia, and Mike Bunt is the CME, corporate marketing equipment, guy in Birmingham. We all work well together. And if we need things from each other, it’s just a phone call or an email away. We meet quarterly, and just a great place to work.
Tom: Alright, well, you’ve been listening toAMS Vending Machines Durable and Dependable at the Vending Business Show, a publication of A&M Equipment Sales. More Vending Business Blogs USA TECHNOLOGIES ePORT G9