Tag Archives: vending business

Vending Business Opportunities Profit

Vending Business Opportunities Profit Impending events in the vending business are opportunities for profit, so planning properly for these events is important…

We have a series of events that we know are going to happen in the vending business every month and every year.

Begin making note of the things that must be done on a weekly, monthly and annual basis so you can anticipate what you will need. Then put those in a calendar program that automatically reminds you of the event.

In this series we’ll be discussing impending events that impact operations, sales, marketing, profits and streamlining operations coming up in future shows.

For example, you are going to lose business guaranteed… what are you doing to replace that lost account? We’ll be discussing that event in the upcoming sales and marketing segment of this series.

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Vending Business Opportunities Profit Tom: Hey, I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show  Vending Business Opportunities Profit here again with Larry Towner who’s with Service Group International, a Vending Business Consultant. Today we’re talking about opportunities for vending operators.

Tom: What are we going to start with today, Larry?

Larry Towner: Vending Business Opportunities Profit  We wanted to do this as an introduction. We’re going to start a series on what we’re calling Impending Events or things that we know are going to happen in the vending business. And how you can handle these opportunities as they were, because after all everything is an opportunity, and how you can may get more profit from these opportunities. So that’s kind of it, as I say, this is the beginning of a series that we’re going to be working on, and we’re going to be talking a lot about how to properly use a calendar of all the most exciting things, or our calendar program if you want to call it that. That’s where we’re going to start.

Larry Towner: I had a question for you Tom. You get hungry. What do you do?

Tom: I try to go find something real convenient, a bite to eat somewhere.

Larry Towner: Something convenient and a bite to eat, do you do any planning when you do that? Or do you just take off and you go out and you just go find whatever food it is and then you eat it. If there’s a kid walking down the street with a candy bar, do you just walk up and snatch it out of his hands, or do you do a little pre-planning beforehand?

Tom: I usually try to think about in a couple of hours I’m going to have lunch, right? I know I’m going to get hungry and be ready to eat in a couple a hours, so if I it planned before, I’ll have a lunch ready to go, but if I didn’t grab my lunch or plan for my lunch, what am I going to do? I might go to a restaurant or I might go to a vending machine, who knows?

Larry Towner: Or knowing you, you’d probably find that kid on the street, steal his ice cream cone. Anyway, that’s another point.

Larry Towner: My point here is that we have a series of events that happen to us in business, and they happen to us every day, every week, every year, every month, every year, and they happen on a regular basis. Pretty much, in your case, we know you’re going to get hungry, what? Around noon, something like that, right? So in a couple of hours you’re going to get hungry. You’re going to get hungry, the more you get hungry in the afternoon. And believe it or not, whether you believe this or not, you spend a fair amount of time planning out what’s going to happen when you get hungry.

Larry Towner: My point here is that for the vending business there’s a series of events that we know are going to happen every day, every week, every month and every year, that you need to just have your mind thinking about these things. Some of these things what we’re going to talk about, a lot about in the future shows, is like sales and marketing calendars and things that you’re going to need to do to get yourself on a regular program so you can handle all of these things. Because as a small business owner … Tom you’re a small business owner, let me ask you a question, who’s in charge of everything?

Tom: Me.

Larry Towner: Me, that’s right, and in the vending business, your business, our business, there’s no difference, you’re in charge of everything. And everything is a lot of stuff. There’s a lot of things happening because you’re the Chief Cook and bottle washer, and you’re in charge of truck maintenance and you’re in charge of getting those machines filled and buying product and choosing product. And you’ve got to get with the drink guys, and you’ve got to get repairs done, and you got to do your accounting. Somebody’s got to count the money. You got to go to the bank, blah, blah, blah, a lot of things going on.

Larry Towner: I’m a planner. I’ve always said that. I would say, “I’m a systems guy.” I like systems, right? So my system is a calendar program, and there’s a series of calendar programs, I’m not going to make any recommendations on that. But start writing down the stuff you’ve got to do on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis, and anticipate the needs that you’re going to need, and put them down into some kind of calendar program that reminds you automatically, by the way. Because in today’s world, do we have a lot of time, Tom, when we’re out there working day by day?

Tom: Same as everybody else.

Larry Towner: No, that’s right. Yeah. The answer is no. In the vending business we’re all about automation, right? Our whole concept is that people automatically or they don’t automatically, but they put money in and we sell things in an automatic basis. Adopt that as a philosophy. It will help you out with your other programs.

Larry Towner: Like I say, this calendar thing … My calendar hits me with an email or a text every time something comes up, about a half an hour before I actually have to do it because I’m horrible in my personal time planning. That if I don’t have it, reminder, I’ll forget to do something. Like meeting with you, Tom, I’ve done that on several occasions as well you know. Now we have that set up on automatic.

Larry Towner: So this is the series that’s coming up. We’re going to do a whole series of things that are going to help you in your both operationally, profitability, generating sales, how to streamline your operations. We’re going to give you a whole bunch of information coming up in various different shows, and we’ll tag them with what they’re going to be about, if you have a specific area that you’re interested in, but that’s where we’re heading with this program. This is going to be a way for you to make more money under your current operations, get your systems in places. I’m going to tag the sales and marketing one.

Larry Towner: Folks, if you’re in the vending business, you can guarantee you’re going to lose business. In some way or another, you’re going to lose business. What do you have to do to replace that business? What system do you have in place? Does it just come to you magically? Do you wave your little wand, and the next thing you know, poof, you’ve got new accounts? Or do you actually have to put some time and effort into it?

Larry Towner: That’s where we’re at, Tom. Thank you for your time.

Tom: Hey, by the way, if you want a particular item that you’re interested in like Larry just mentioned one, just leave a comment under this video and we’ll get it, and we’ll see about adding that one into the queue.

Tom: Thanks Larry. This is going to be a great series. If you want to get more vending business tips like these, just subscribe and you’ve been watching the Vending Business Show, Vending Business Opportunities Profit  a publication of A&M Equipment Sales. Some more interesting videos Take Over A Vending Route Or Start Your Own?

Vending Operator Tools Planogram

Vending Operator Tools  Planogram


Vending Operator Tools  Planogram    Download the sample planogram: pdf or Word doc

Vending Operator Tools  Planogram  A planogram is used in retail stores to arrange certain items in specific locations to get the maximum number of sales. In a vending machine we use planograms similarly:  Once the items are put in a planogram  items that sell in that particular location thus making more money.  In the planogram  we can then track what sells and what doesn’t.  If an item is selling real well you might want to put two rows of the same item.  This is a win for you and a win for the customer.  An item that isn’t don’t run it.  With a planogram you should be able to lower your stales or out of date merchandise in the machine thus saving money.  You can then change out your next planogram to what is actually selling in the machine.  Remember people get tired of the same old thing so change some items in your planogram every week.

  1. Have all products arranged in the same place which will help with operations, continuity through all machines, helps with efficiency and profits.
  2. Par levels are set to reflect the rate of sales for a product in the machine so that product does not run out but there are few left when the route man shows up.

Vending Operator Tools Planogram  Most manufacturers of vending machines will show you where to place items for better sales.

Download the form or create your own, then post it inside your machines so you can see it when you open the door of the machine.

The important thing is that you use this concept in your business.  Vending Operator Tools  Planogram    More Vending Business Blogs  Take Over A Vending Route Or Start Your Own?

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See all five videos in the Top Vending Operator Tools series

 Episode transcript:

Vending Operator Tools Planogram  Tom: I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show. Here with Larry Towner of Service Group International. He’s a vending business consultant. Today, we’re talking about tools. Both conceptual tools that will help you be more efficient, and also, physical tools. Thanks for being here Larry. What are we going to start with?

Larry: Well, I thought today, that we would start with a conceptual tool.  Vending Operator Tools Planogram One that has a lot to do with marketing and things like that. It’s called a planogram. What a planogram is, is a planogram is how you arrange your machines in the vending business. The concept comes from planogram, if you been in retail, you know what planogram is. You work in a retail environment, planograms are used all through grocery stores and almost any retail business has a planogram. It has certain items in certain places so that you get the maximum number of sales.

Larry: In a vending machine, what that is, is that there’s a couple of reasons to use a planogram. One is that you have your products all in the same place, which is going to help you operationally, so you’ll know what products go where. In particularly if you have a route man or multiple people servicing your machines. You will have continuity through all of your machines, which subsequently gives you better data as far as what’s selling and what’s not selling, and things like that. It’s a very, very powerful tool. It really wants to, rather, it helps you with how you set your machines up. It helps you with your efficiency. It helps you with your profitability.

Larry: In a previous episode, we had discussed where you could actually do placement of the machines, as far as which products go where, and that information is compiled by most of the manufacturers that tell you were to put things.

Larry: Vending Operator Tools Planogram   So, what we’ve got here, is we’ve put up a picture here of what a planogram looks like. This is a planogram picture that I built a long time ago. We used it extensively when I was running a vending business. We actually have the word product on the top level and the par level below that. So, the product obviously, is what product are you going to put in there. That depends on the conceptual arrangement of your machines. But, you put your product, and you basically write it in there, or in this case, you can type it in there.

Larry: Par level is the other really important thing. Not everything sells all at once. So, different products sell at different rates. Our goal, when we were running a vending company, was to have machines not run out of product, but also not leave a lot of product left in the machine, which is a very bad use of inventory. We always put par levels in there. A par level, on a really popular selling item like a Snickers, or a Dorito product might be 12. You might put 12 items in there. On a real slow selling product, something that just might not sell that well, you might put a par level of four.

Larry: What you do is, when you come back to the machine, you’ll actually know if you had a par level of four and two items are gone, you know you sold two items. If you come back and you had a par level of 12 and all of the column is empty, well maybe you need to take that par level up to a 14 or something like that.

Larry: That’s the basis of what a planogram is. It’s how you’re going to arrange your machines. Again, you need to, with these forms, and we actually printed them out, and we taped them up on the insides of our machines. We put them up above the changers, so every time we opened the door, we knew what was supposed to be in the machine. That’s kind of an old school way to do it, but I’ll tell you what, it works. It’s inexpensive, and it’s very, very simple.

Larry: Tom, do you have any questions on a planogram?

Tom: So, I guess they’re different for every type of machine, perhaps. But, you can modify this anyway you want?

Larry: You can modify this form anyway you need. You can either add columns or subtract columns. You can cross things out. However you need it to work. Or, you can actually get into the program and actually change the form itself. But, the form isn’t what’s really important. What’s important is the concept and that you actually use it. So, take it and put it in your machines and make sure everybody follows it, or put it in a notebook and carry the notebook. That works too. I always found it easier to leave it in each machine. That way, you never had any doubt as to what’s supposed to be where.

Tom: Alright, Larry. Well, thanks so much. We’ll have a link to download this planogram, so you can just print it off or put it on your computer, modify it, use it the way you want.

Tom: Also, if you want more vending business tips like this, be sure to subscribe. You’ve been watching Vending operator Tools Planogram  the Vending Business Show. A publication of A&M Equipment sales.

The Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part One

Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part One A business cycle reflects human nature because people tend to cycle…

Two different business cycles in the vending business: account sales and retail sales of product.

Spring is the time of growth and renewal – more sales and opportunities. Time to sell product sometimes due to the warmer weather. On the account sales side, refrigeration equipment tends to begin showing problems which is a customer service issue but also an account sales opportunity. Any time you have a lot of service calls it’s a good time for account sales.

Summer, retail sales shift from snacks to drinks. As the temperature increases people tend to buy non-carbonated beverages. Summer account sales are tough because people take vacations and their mind isn’t on vending typically.

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Episode Transcript:

Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part One  Tom Shivers: I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show, here again with Larry Towner who is a vending business consultant and today we’re talking about vending business cycles in the average vending business over a year, annual basis.

Tom Shivers: So, thanks for being here Larry. How do we get started with this?

Larry Towner: Well, Tom. Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part One.  One of the things that we deal with when we’re dealing with a business cycle is it has a little bit to do with human nature and what people’s cycles are throughout the year. So, I’m gonna ask you some questions too, because after all the last time I checked you were a human being.

Larry Towner: I always start with spring, because spring is the time of renewal and things like that. It’s when it’s exciting. For you, in the springtime are you … Do you look forward to spring? I mean, is spring a time that you enjoy as a general rule?

Tom Shivers: Absolutely. Oh, yeah. It’s a great time, because it’s right after a cold winter.

Larry Towner: A long, cold, and dismal winter. We’re gonna talk about wintertime last. Let’s start with spring. But, again it gets back to human nature.

Larry Towner: People tend to cycle. They go through yearly cycles, they go through monthly cycles. There’s a lot of things that affect how people do business, what they purchase, and when.

Larry Towner: It’s simple things like life events, job changes, things like the weather. The weather has a huge amount to do with the Vending business, whether you believe it or not. But, we’ll go into some of those specifics.

Larry Towner: One of the things that … I’m gonna break this out into two areas too, because Tom, do you agree with this? That there’s two different business cycles in the vending business?

Larry Towner: There is the account sales portion of the vending business, which is when you’re selling to actually go achieve accounts. And then, there’s the retail sales portion of it for the actual sales of product and service out there. Does that sound about right to you?

Tom Shivers: Yeah. I can see that.

Larry Towner: Yep. So, I’m gonna address … When we address these issues we’ll address the retail side of it first, and then I’ll talk a little bit about the account sales side of it. Some of these things are cyclical or most of these things have a cycle anyway through them.

Larry Towner: So, let’s start off with spring. Springtime is generally the time of growth and renewal, I like to call it. It’s when your business starts to pick up and you start to start seeing more sales than you do in the wintertime … I’ll get to winter towards the end, but you start to see things picking up.

Larry Towner: It picks up in the vending business. Now, most of my operations I did in the south. Although, I did work in the greater Boston area for a number of years and these cycles work pretty much the same even north and south. They’re somewhat geared more towards the south, but they still work for the north.

Larry Towner: Springtime. Springtime is the time to sell product. In the springtime we tend to have an increase in product sales, largely because of the weather. It’s cold in the morning, it’s warm in the afternoon. That’s lends a great amount of credence to selling snacks in the morning and selling cold drinks in the afternoon.

Larry Towner: And then, of course coffee if you sell coffee. That sells always usually when it’s cold, but good coffee drinkers drink coffee all the time. So, we’ll leave that one out. But, that’s what springtime does for you.

Larry Towner: Spring is time to sell and people … Their money’s loosening up a little bit, and they’re looking forward to warm weather, and it tends to give them a very positive attitude, which in turn helps with your sales.

Larry Towner: It’s gonna help people feel better about themselves and that will lend to your sales on a retail basis. Now, on the account sales side springtime is kind of a tough time to sell. You need to be doing your calls in the spring, but the calls that you do in the spring are gonna be geared until a little later on in the year.

Larry Towner: One thing I always mention about sales calls in the spring is, spring is the time when you start to see some problems with machines. Particularly the refrigeration side of the business. Because, as the machines are coming out of winner they’re not … The machines aren’t cycling on and off a lot.

Larry Towner: And so, what happens is, is when the weather starts to warm up a little bit the refrigeration units start to kick on and off and that’s usually the time that you’ll start seeing some problems with refrigeration equipment. Largely drink machines start to have failures in the springtime, particularly as there’s big changes in humidity.

Larry Towner: What that spurs is that gives you an opportunity to go in and sell from an account standpoint, because if the existing vendor isn’t out there making his service calls and isn’t aware that the springtime is gonna create service problems he’s gonna have a bunch of service calls saying the drinks are hot, this and that.

Larry Towner: Anytime you have service calls it’s a good time to go with selling accounts. That’s the time when you want to sell accounts. Summer time. We’ll go into summertime. Retail sales in summertime your whole product line shifts from snacks over to drink, because as we like to say it’s 80 to 100 degrees out.

Larry Towner: People aren’t really hungry, they want cold drinks and you’d even be surprised they’re gonna drink more … As the temperature increases they drink more and more of the noncarbonated kind of drinks. They’re gonna drink sports drinks, water, things like that. Noncarbonated stuff.

Larry Towner: Nobody wants a lot of sugar when it’s really, really hot. There’s always exceptions to these rules, but as a general rule this is what you’re gonna see from a realistic standpoint. Fall time … Oh. Account sales. Summertime account sale’s really tough and this goes for the retail side too.

Larry Towner: People take a lot of vacations in the summertime, so what you see is your workforce gets diluted a little bit. If you’re in the traditional vending account where you’re within somebody’s business, a lot of people on vacation means your numbers are down, so your sales fall a little bit.

Larry Towner: But, getting to account managers in the summertime is difficult. They’re on vacation, they’re not really … Their mind isn’t really on vending per se, it’s more on production and on getting their business up and running than it is on changing out the vending company.

Larry Towner: Again, service calls. If they have service calls it’s a perfect time to go sell. If they have any issues or they have recurring issues in particular, good time to go sell.

Larry Towner: You got to make your calls, but your chances of success are less so than they are at other times of the year. Fall time. From a retail-

Tom Shivers: Hey, Larry. Can I interrupt right here? I think that’s about all the time we have for this show, can we pick up with fall and go into winter in the next one?

Larry Towner: We certainly can.

Tom Shivers: Okay. Great. You’ve been watching Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part One  at the Vending Business Show, a production of A&M Equipment Sales.

New Vending machines are available at https://www.amequipmentsales.com/prodcat/new-vending-machines/ 

Sales Success Secrets of Vending Pros


Sales Success Secrets of  Vending Pros Episode Transcript:
Tom:  Sales Success Secrets of  Vending Pros is a webinar coming up February 25th, and joining me to talk about it is Larry Tanner, who is a vending business consultant with Service Group, International. So, Larry, what’s this webinar gonna be about?

Sales Success Secrets of Vending Pros  Larry Tanner: Well, Tom, our goal in this webinar is to help you, or help our audience, to become better sales people in regards to vending, going out and getting new accounts, generating new accounts, and becoming more profitable.

Tom: Okay, and who’s gonna get the most from it? Who’s this webinar designed for?

Larry Tanner: This webinar is really designed for an owner/operator, but it could be designed for a sales manager as well. It’s designed for a guy that needs to go out and generate some accounts, wants to get profitable accounts, wants to learn a couple of new techniques, or maybe, quite a few new techniques, on how to generate leads, how to get good prospects, and how to actually close deals. So, that’s who’s gonna get the most out of it.

Tom: Okay, and what’s your background in the vending industry?

Larry Tanner: I’ve been in the vending business for about 35 years. I owned my own vending company for over 15, finished up with in excess of 500 thousand dollars a year in sales, and in three route guys, and we had about 110 or so accounts, 350 machines. Built that from the ground up, from zero. So, that’s my experience in the vending industry.

Tom: Okay, and who else is gonna be on the webinar?

Larry Tanner: We’re gonna have two other guests; Dan Jordan, who is a professional sales guy. He owns a staffing company right now, but he has been selling for almost all of his professional career. He does sales consulting as well, and we’re also gonna have Joe Nichols, president of A and M Equipment. And Joe is a very seasoned vending professional. He has been in the business for 40 plus years. Grew up in the business, basically, has run all aspects, and currently sells vending equipment.

Tom: Thanks, Larry. You can learn more about the webinar in Sales Success Secrets of Vending Pros, at amequipmentsales.com. And there should be a link to the registration page somewhere on this, around this video, either below it or somewhere around it. We’ve got room for a hundred people.

Servicing New Vending Accounts Handling Money

Servicing New Vending Accounts Handling Money An interview with Larry Towner

In the last video in this series, Larry explains how to efficiently load a snack machine. In this video, Larry goes into detail Servicing New Vending Accounts Handling Money about handling the money from the machine.

In the vending business security becomes a big issue because the minute the money comes out of that machine, it is vulnerable to being stolen.

I can tell you from personal experience that being unprepared when handling the money can lead to theft. It happens if you aren’t prepared.

1. You need some kind of bag to put the money in.

  • Bank bags
  • Canvas bags
  • Something that can handle lots of coin and dollar bills

I always did money last for a number of reasons, but you should either do it first or last.

2. When it’s time to handle the money, you want that bag ready and open.

  • Use the door of the machine as a block/barrier
  • Pull the coin box out and pour it into the bag
  • Slide out the bill validator and into the bag it goes
  • Close the bag up
  • Hide the bag in a box of chips and cover it up

These are simple security measures that allow you to handle the money in the safest way possible.

As you leave the building keep your head on a swivel because bad guys won’t come after you if you’re looking around.

In the next video, Larry will tell us how to load a drink machine efficiently.



Tom Shivers:Servicing New Vending Accounts handling Money   I’m Tom, with the Vending Business show. Here again with Larry Towner. We are in the midst of a series where we’re talking about what to do once you land a vending account. In this particular show, we’re talking about New Vending Accounts Handling Money  how to handle the money and a few other things. Take it away, Larry.

Larry Towner: We left off where we had filled all the snack machine up. We had gone tray by tray and we had had everything handled in the most efficient way. Now, the question is what do you do next? Where are you at? You’ve got a couple of concerns. Let’s go to the big one. Everybody likes to handle the money, right Tom?

Tom Shivers: Maybe.

Larry Towner: Maybe? Yeah, now there’s the key word, maybe. I say that in that there are some concerns of course when you’re dealing with money. It is not what you think. It’s not all that great. If you haven’t paid attention, in the vending business security becomes a pretty strong issue. One of the big security issues is when you handle your money because the minute that money comes out of that machine, it becomes vulnerable to being stolen. It can get stolen out of the machine too, but generally if you’re keeping your machines locked, they’re gonna have to break into that machine. I can tell you from personal experience, if you take the money out and you put it in a bag or you happen to take the dollar bills out and set them down behind you because you’re gonna get a bag to put them in, guess what happens? You set them down, somebody walks by, and poof, they’re gone. I say it because it’s happened. Or, somebody distracts you and somebody else grabs the money. You think it doesn’t happen, but it happens all the time if you’re not careful.

Larry Towner: When we talk about handling money, we wanna talk about a couple of issues. One is you need some kind of a bag to put your money in. We invested in some nice heavy duty canvas bags that you can buy through the various different banking outlets. Your bank people can hook you up with that kind of information, and there’s some blogs around on the vending business, but you want some decent money bags. Something that can hopefully handle quite a bit of coin and quite a number of bills. That’s the first thing. You need to acquire some kind of a bag. In a pinch, I can tell you I’ve used lunch bags. Forget the money bags, stop at the local grocery store, grab some paper bags. It’s just not a great solution for a long term situation. Anyway, when you get done filling your machines, I always did money last. You either do it first or last, it’s your choice. Do it first or last. We always did it last because we took it to the truck and the truck left the scene at that point, so they would’ve had to run the truck down to steal the money from us, not break into the truck to steal the money.

Larry Towner: With that said, it’s your choice folks. You can do it however you want, but that’s just a tip that we use. When you get ready to handle that money, you want that bag ready and open. I myself, and I trained all my people to do this, I used the door of the machine as a barrier and a block. I would never handle money without having the door usually up against my shoulder. I would wedge myself between the door and the machine and have my body blocking how much money I was handling. Because they, meaning the bad guys or the people in the account … First off, let’s even step back from that. You don’t want the people in the account to know how much money you’re taking out of that account. You just don’t. You want to give the impression that you’re not taking very much money out of that account because that just makes it easier for you to be in the vending business.

Larry Towner: Anyway, I always blocked that money. I put myself between the doors. I always did coin first. I would pull that coin box out and pour that money into the bag. At that point then, I would turn with this arm, reach, and I would open the bill valve there and slide the money out. Into the bag it goes in one big sweep. Put it in, close the bag up. You think I’m paranoid, but trust me. There’s enough times, if you do it long enough, and like Tom said it’s been 20 plus years of being in the vending industry, only takes getting stolen from one time, just once, and you’ll learn your lesson. Right? Does that make sense, Tom?

Tom Shivers: Yeah, it does. Makes a lot of sense.

Larry Towner: You wanna be quick in getting that money. At that point, I always took that money and would put it into one of my boxes and bury it underneath the chips. Do not set it out on top of anything. Do not set it out where somebody can snatch and grab it and it’s gone. It’s common sense, but I’ve seen it done over and over and over again. Put the money into a box, cover it up. If you really wanna be sneaky, as it were, you’re picking up money from multiple machines, put your money into multiple boxes. Just so long that you don’t forget where you put the money. I’ll tell you a quick story. We used to do that in the truck too, when we would do multiple stops. We would put the money around in the trucks in various different places. One day, we lost a set of money from one of the machines and for the life of us, it was myself and one other guy, for the life of us we could not remember where the money went and we thought we had gotten stolen.

Larry Towner: About two years later, I was cleaning the truck out and I found that bag of money. We had done a really good job of hiding it, I’m just gonna tell you. It was really a good job of hiding it. It took us two years to find it. Anyway, those are some real simple security measures. I know, it’s hard to believe, but that’s what it went. Those are simple security measures that allow you to handle the money in one of the safest ways possible. As you egress the building, as you leave the building, keep your head on a swivel. Be looking around. There are people, and again it depends on the account. There’s lots of accounts where you’re completely safe. But, if you’re in a kinda public location, keep your head on a swivel. Be looking around. You don’t know who’s gonna come around. All they want’s the money most of the time. By the way, if you ever do get confronted by someone, give them the money. Save your life. Let it go. It’s not worth it. These are just little tips. You start looking around, and I swear to God, bad guys won’t come after you if you’re looking around. They just don’t, because they know that they’re coming after you. Little tip, big payoff. Big, big, big payoff.

Tom Shivers: Thanks, Larry. Excellent stuff. What’s the next topic we’re gonna be talking about?

Larry Towner: We still haven’t worked on drink machines, so I guess we better work on a drink machine next.

Tom Shivers: All right. You’ve been watchingServicing New Vending accounts Handling Money at  the Vending Business show, a publication of A&M Equipment Sales.

Vending Success Secrets

Vending Success Secrets Episode Transcript:
Tom: vending Success Secrets of  Vending Professional is a webinar coming up in the middle of January. Actually, I think it’s January 14th. And joining me to talk about the webinar is [Larry Towner 00:00:08] who is a vending business consultant with Service Group International and Joe Nichols, owner of A and M Equipment Sales.

Tom: So, Larry, why don’t you start by telling us what the webinar’s about.

Larry Towner: Well, the webinar is about,Vending Success Secrets  we’ve got multiple vendors who are gonna be sharing their success secrets with you all out there. And then, we’ll have a whole series of components on operations and sales and marketing, and equipment purchasing, and all the, really, the things that you need to know, along with a large question and answer section.

Tom: Well, who’s this webinar designed for, and who will get the most out of it?

Larry Towner: The person that’s gonna get the most out of this webinar Vending Success Secrets is gonna be somebody that’s looking to run their own business. They want to get away from, perhaps, a job that they might get laid off from, something like that. They’re looking to get ahead. They’re driven by financial independence. They want to get there as quick and as easily as possible. They’re all want to suck our brains dry as it were, and learn a whole lot of things. Joe, what do you think about the people who want to come to this seminar?

Joe NIchols: Well, I think they need to be self starters. They need to be hard working people. Vending is not rocket science. You just got to, you know, you got to have a little bit of common sense and hard work. And some sort of drive. And the harder you work, the more money you can make.

Tom: Now, I know you two guys have been in the vending business for decades, so, but I want to know, how did you create this vending business training that we’ll be getting on the webinar?

Larry Towner: Well, I’ll take … I started the vending business in 1985. I worked for a fellow in the greater Boston area. He was very, very successful. He taught me everything there was to know. I moved to Atlanta for personal reasons, and I was doing very well in the job I had. But, I was looking for some tax advantage. I was looking to be back to being the captain of my own soul, so I started part time out of my garage. I bought a guy’s assets out. I just bought about 13 sets of equipment from him. Went from that to full time, three trucks, three routes, five employees, about 7,000 customers, 135 accounts.

Larry Towner: Basically, I spent a lot of time training employees. I probably forgotten more about the vending industry than most people will know. So, that’s why we decided to do the training. Joe, what about you?

Joe NIchols: Well, I started in ’73. I’ll tell you how long I’ve been in the vending business; Back when I started, they didn’t even have dollar bill validators on the machines. All you could do was be, put change in the machines and pull a handle. So, I’ve seen the vending industry progress, you know, a lot of different ways. You know, everything’s electronic now, but I’ve seen a lot of change, but you know, a guy that’s just starting out can still make a lot of money.

Tom: All right, well, thanks Joe and Larry. You can learn more about Vending Success secrets at Vending Business Show  webinar at amequipmentsales.com. There should be a link around this video somewhere to the registration page, and we will see you …  Vending Business Blogs  Vending Machine Technology

Finding Good Vending Machine Locations

Finding Good Vending Machine Locations ?   Perhaps a better question is what areas might you be most effective in by account demographic and account type?

The work force has shrunk and a lot of industries have down sized. How do you get the tactics to get accounts that remain profitable for you in smaller type accounts?

  • 50-100 person range with the right demographics
  • Be cognizant of your geography to limit drive time between accounts
  • What’s your service interval that makes the account profitable?

Examples of good small accounts:

  • Small logistics warehouses with lots of truck drivers coming and going
  • Knock on all doors in an industrial park for opportunities – get in one facility and you might get into all in the industrial park

What about saving money on the equipment?
Return on investment is important but consider operating costs and turn.

Episode Transcript:

Tom Shivers: Hi, I’m Tom with The Vending Business Show. And I’m here with Larry Towner, who is a vending business consultant and been in the vending industry for closer to three decades. He’s sold the majority share of his vending business in 2012. So thanks for being here, Larry.

Larry Towner,: You’re welcome, Tom. It’s always a pleasure.

Tom Shivers: Yeah. I noticed an interesting question in a vending group. Basically went like this: Finding Good Vending Machine Locations right now? And it was a good question because there’s a lot of people, a lot of vending operators who are struggling to find those. So I thought maybe you could help us figure that one out.

Larry Towner,: Well yeah. It’s a multi-tasking approach. Finding Good Vending Machine Locations. It comprises marketing and sales. Vending is largely a sales effort. So you want to focus in on your sales skills. Basically if you knock on enough doors, you’re going to get accounts. I think what this gentleman’s looking for is what areas might you be most effective in. And so, and meaning by account demographic and account types.

Larry Towner,: There’s a bunch of different ways to go about Finding Good Vending Machine Locations. Traditional vending has always wanted the 150 plus population of account peoples. Meaning that they have at least 150 employees there all of the time for, again, for traditional vending companies. And traditionally, that works for the models that they use for their traditional vending operations where you need larger facilities.

Larry Towner,: But Tom, what’s been happening to the workforce and the workplaces in America?

Tom Shivers: Yeah. Things have shrunk. You know, more people working from home. Things like that.

Larry Towner,: Yeah. So what we’re seeing is we’re seeing workplaces out there, particularly vending always was kind of a smokestack industry. It was done with a lot of industry and a lot of manufacturing and things like that. And a lot of those industries have gone away. And particularly, not so much gone away, but they’ve downsized. Like everything has downsized.

Larry Towner,: And so the number of facilities that have large numbers of people has been steadily declining. So how are we Finding Good Vending Machine Locations I guess the thing is, is how do you, there’s a couple ways to look at it, but how do you get the tactics to get new accounts that remain profitable for you in smaller type accounts?

Larry Towner,: There’s always been a huge market in the 50 to 100 person account range. And if the demographics are right in those accounts, they can be highly profitable. And I say demographics, and that’s age, sex, ethnicity, who actually is working in your account? Are they good vending purchasers?

Larry Towner,: And lots of times on those types of accounts, you’ll get a good mix. You’ll get white collar plus blue collar. Vending is largely a blue collar event. You’re looking for blue collar workers.

Larry Towner,: Examples of these types of accounts. If you, first off, let’s set the stage. If you’re gonna go after smaller accounts, you need to be very cognizant of your geography. And you might ask what do I mean when I say geography. You’re gonna want to limit the amount of drive time you have between your accounts.

Larry Towner,: The other thing in small account vending that you need to be thinking about constantly is what’s your service interval? How long between my stops makes it profitable for these accounts? And that issue sometimes has to be done by trial and error.

Larry Towner,: But in general, you can draw some, there’s some numbers and some equations we can use that’ll give you an idea of what your service interval’s gonna be as per the number of people that are in your account.

Larry Towner,: So between geography and scheduling, those are the two things that’ll keep you profitable in small account vending. You’ve got to have accounts that are close together. Because you don’t want to spend time behind the wheel, you want to spend time in front of the machines, filling machines and dealing with your customers.

Larry Towner,: So those two issues are biggies, but after that, the industries that are smaller that are increasing are things like small logistics warehouses where they have a lot of truck drivers that come in and out. And they might have 20 to 50 employees that work there. They might have another 20 to 50 truck drivers that are dropping product off and getting it ready for their distribution. Or they have 20 truck drivers that are out on locations.

Larry Towner,: We had a bunch of these actually in retail stores. There were some retail furniture stores that gosh, you look at the furniture store and you say, “Boy that’s not much of a vending account.” And if you looked at the number of people that actually worked in the retail side of it, it wasn’t much of a vending account.

Larry Towner,: But they also had about 12 trucks on the road every morning with three guys on each truck. So what happened was is you didn’t really realize that unless you were out doing your sales prospecting at 6:00 in the morning like I often did. Where I’d be driving through industrial parks or I’d be driving around and I’d see all these trucks parked there.

Larry Towner,: Well if I saw all these trucks parked there, I would stop in just to see what was up with all those trucks. So that’s one of the tactics that I used. But that is the kind of accounts that are out there. They’re somewhat plentiful. And they’re generally very close together.

Larry Towner,: I had a habit of when I would go out and I would go selling, I would knock on every single door in an industrial park. I would go door to door. Do what I call walking and talking. And I would hand out business cards. And I would just be looking for any opportunity.

Larry Towner,: And sometimes you would get into one facility in a small industrial park, and by the end of the year, you end up with ’em all. Because they’re having terrible service, and then they start to see your trucks and then employees talk to employees. And the next thing you know, you’re getting an opportunity to service a different company. And you end up with a really nice little piece of business where you go spend one day every two weeks in that industrial park and you walk away with decent profit.

Larry Towner,: The converse of that is you’ve got one on this side of town and one on that side of town and you spend all your time driving back and forth and you don’t make any money doing anything.

Larry Towner,: So a couple of quick tactics there on how to go out after small account. Traditionally what they call small account vending.

Tom Shivers: One other question.

Larry Towner,: What other questions, Tom?

Tom Shivers: About that. There’s sometimes. So like this one fellow responded to this question with he’d located 20 Sega Office Deli Two’s on small locations. And I guess he was saving money on the machine. What is your take on that?

Larry Towner,: Well it’s like anything. It’s all relative. If you’re looking for return on investment, which is a financial concept, but you have this amount of equipment that you’re gonna put into a location. And you’re gonna spend whatever it is you spend on that equipment. And you expect to get a return on your investment. Meaning if you put 1,000 dollars out there in the field as a tool, it needs to be generating whatever it is you deemed to be profitable every single day so that you get a return on investment. If you get a machine for free and it works. Key phrase being that it works. And you can place it, your initial investment is zero so your return on investment is unlimited.

Larry Towner,: Now that’s hard to get. You know, you won’t get ones that are free. But then you also have your operating costs, meaning for every piece of product that you end up throwing, you lose your profitability if you have to throw product away. So you have to look at it more as, it’s not just placement, it’s also turn. Turn is sometimes more important than actual placement. How many times you roll your inventory over in a year determines your actual profitability in the end. And also determines your profitability on that particular set of machines.

Tom Shivers: Okay. Yeah. So.

Larry Towner,: Did that make sense? Did you understand what I said there?

Tom Shivers: Yeah. I think so. And the equipment is, sometimes can be a hazard if you don’t get the right stuff up front.

Larry Towner,: Correct.

Tom Shivers: So tell us a little more about what you –

Larry Towner,: And it can cost you the wrong equipment placement. Well I’m in the consulting business. What I do is I take questions like these and I help people solve these types of problems. How do you go about getting new accounts? How do you maintain the accounts that you have? How do you stay profitable? How do you deal with other issues? These are all things that I work on. I’m available at servicegroupinternational.com. Just drop us an email.

Tom Shivers: Thanks, Larry. And you’ve been watching Finding Good Vending Machine Locations  on The Vending Business Show, a publication of A & M Equipment Sales.

You can Look at a great snack machine the Automatic Products 113 Snack Machine

Credit Card Readers in Vending Machines

Credit Card Readers in Vending Machines   An interview with Greg Hasslinger, VP of Sales at InOne Technology

Credit Card Readers in Vending Machines  How new does the machine need to be to incorporate a cashless reader?

It does not depend on the age of the machine, but instead on the machines control board. It must have the capability to accept card vends.  For example, InOne Technology provides replacement control boards for older AP and National snack machines built in the mid 80’s to the mid 90’s. Also if you are interested in remote monitoring the machine must have DEX and an updated version of the firmware (will show Card sales in the Dex file). The firmware levels are maintained and provided by the machine manufacturer. There are numerous options an operator has available to install the card reader. These range from installing in the additional knockout hole, surface mounting to the door, attaching card bezel to the bill validator and other adapter kit options available from the vending machine manufacturers.

Does it need a multi-drop bus?

MDB is required in vending machine environment. We will aslo work in a pulse mode.

How does the digital exchange collect the data?

DEX is an industry standard. The vending machine controller tracks/stores all of the activities at the vending machine. This data is then transmitted remotely by the modem to operators database that is hosted by the Cashless/Remote Monitoring provider. The majority of the machine manufacturers provide resident DEX in their vending machines. InOne provides Dex kits for those machines that do not have DEX.

What else might someone need to know who is installing a cashless reader for the first time?

  1. Having adequate Cellular Signal Strength is needed for Cashless to operate. InOne provides service via different carriers, Ethernet and wi-fi. Boosters and different antennas are also available.
  2. There is a merchant processing fee for all card vends- currently 5.95%
  3. Ability to have a cash (discounted) price and a card price for the same product. For more information on credit card readers   USA TECHNOLOGIES ePORT G9

Vending Efficiency Delivering Product

Vending Efficiency Delivering Product  An interview with Larry Towner, vending consultant

In this podcast, Larry discusses:  Vending Efficiency Delivering Product

  • Plan your route schedule in advance
  • Park out of the way and avoid being off the curb if possible: marketing, security, safety
  • Inventory of each machine in one box
  • famous saying: “Vending is a business of minutes”
  • Do a pick list
  • Limit trips from truck to machine
  • Items to keep in your pocket
  • Drive in a line to limit windshield time
  • Plan well for a smooth and efficient route


Tom Shivers: I’m Tom Shivers with the Vending Business Show here with Larry Towner who is a vending business consultant. Larry sold the majority share of his vending business a few years ago. Thanks for coming back, Larry.

Larry Towner: Good to be back, Tom.

Tom Shivers:  Our topic Vending Efficiency Delivering Product  The last time we talked, you had a lot of interesting things to say about efficiency and specifically you’re talking … told us a lot about loading the truck effectively so that you can have a smooth flow of your … of the products from the truck right into the machine. What are we gonna cover today?

Larry Towner: Well, I think today, Tom, what we’ll talk about is now that we’ve got the truck loaded and we’ve got it ordered in a way that makes sense, basically the way you have your machines laid out, let’s talk about getting out to the machines and getting out to the accounts.

Tom Shivers: Okay.

Larry Towner: Like I say, you’ve got your truck loaded. You’re ready and you’re rearing to go. Generally, just as a course of action, I usually started my day the night before. What I would do is … Well, actually, I started a week before, but I would have my route schedule printed out on a weekly calendar program. I used a office shelf calendar program that you can get at any store, but that allows you to do repeating schedules where you can do things weeks and weeks and weeks in advance. The keys here are is when you’re scheduling your time, you do it the night before so you have an idea. One thing that a lot of people don’t do, they don’t plan around traffic. Tom, you live here in metro Atlanta like I do. Is traffic a factor here?

Tom Shivers: Just a little bit.

Larry Towner: A little bit, yeah. We, in the vending business, don’t get paid to sit in front of the windshield of the truck. We get paid to sit in front of the glass of the machine and actually fill that machine up. One of the things that I always did, and just depending on the days, I would go and look on … look at my schedule and say, “Where do I need to be during the traffic time?” [inaudible 00:02:19] and I always used both traffic times, both morning and afternoon. I would be making sure that I had a series of stops that were all very, very close together during those traffic times.

Larry Towner: Generally vending people start very early in the morning. They start 4:00 AM, 5:00 AM, 6:00 AM in the morning. By the time the main traffic time rolls around, you are pretty much … you should be in a stop if you’re doing everything right. Of course, here in metro Atlanta as you know, you can get stuck in traffic anytime of the day, anytime of the night. It’s just how it goes being a major city. Anyway, you start the night before you go and you lay out your route and where you wanna go and when you think you wanna be there. You give yourself an approximate amount of time as far as your sales and your dollar [inaudible 00:03:01] per your accounts. That’s the first place where you start.

Larry Towner: When you get into the accounts, there’s a couple of techniques … Or, you’re heading into the accounts. You pull up into the driveway. There’s a few things that I used as a rule of thumb. One is I’m very marketing oriented and also … but also safety and security conscious, too. I would be very careful. I usually parked on the loading docks and I wanted to make sure that we were out of the way. We didn’t wanna be an eyesore to anyone and we didn’t wanna have to work off a curb if we could help it. You end up working off a curb a lot, but you try not to work off the curbs where you’re out in the plain view of everyone, at least that’s my opinion. I always liked to kind of stay back and out of the way.

Larry Towner: Then again, I don’t like to be in dark corners either for security purposes where there somebody might come and accost you because the minute they know you’re in the vending business, they know you’ve got cash and you become an easy target. Try to stay like, if you’re working at night, well-lit areas and things like that. You get out of your truck. Now, there’s several different ways to do it in the vending business. One way … The way that I currently do it is I have boxes inside the truck. Inside each box I carry a whole inventory of a machine, rolls into the account with me. I have a set … preset level of inventory that’s in each box and it’s arranged just the same way as the machines are. I start top shelf down and work my way down through the machine using my boxes.

Larry Towner: You think this is kinda silly, but the amount of time that you spend walking back and forth between your truck and your … the machines can add up to considerable time. In past shows, we talked about how the vending business is a business of minutes. It’s all about how many minutes. If you can cut five to ten minutes out of each stop, you can add one to two stops per day, which is giving you an extra impact on your bottom line of your business.

Larry Towner: We roll in to our stops with basically a full amount of snack on the thing and then we do a pick list on the drinks. You can roll in and do a pick list on your accounts if you want. I do that on some of the more difficult locations that I have. If I have to go up some stairs and I don’t have an elevator access or something like that, I might go in and make a pick list. A pick list just is you go into the machine and you pick out the particular items you need as per the shelf and you write them down in a card you brought. You pull them out. You put them into a box and you just carry one box in instead of carrying in nine boxes, which is what I currently take in with me every time.

Larry Towner: If I have a good, easy access, I roll the whole thing in. I make one trip into the machine. I don’t have to make multiple trips in and out in and out and in and out. Generally we try … Right now we limit our trips in and out to two. We can’t carry the whole amount of product with drinks and snacks in our hand truck all at once. We usually do too much volume to do that. That’s should be your goal that you have that much volume. Do you get an idea of what I’m talking about, Tom?

Tom Shivers: Yeah. It sounds like you wanna cut off those minutes and find a way to get things in and out quickly.

Larry Towner: Right. Right. That’s really the key. You also, when you make your lists, make sure you can read your lists so that you know. When you come out to get your drinks, don’t guess. Make sure you know exactly what you need. Again, to make one extra trip back out to the truck takes anywhere from two to five minutes just depending on the stop, but two to five minutes adds up at the end of the day. That’s what we do. We also walk in with our money bags.

Larry Towner: We walk in … I keep in my pocket, you’re gonna think this is funny, but I keep in my pocket, I carry two pens, a small screwdriver, a magic marker, and I also carry a three by five pack … I don’t use three by five cards, but they’re the three by five spiral ring notebooks is what I use now. I used to use three by five cards. They got a little pricey. I keep those in my pocket. I always have something to write with. I always have something to do a small minor repair and or open a box, which is what that little screwdriver is for. If I need to mark on something, I always have a marker. Don’t think it means that much, wait til you forget and you have to run out to the truck to get a small screwdriver to tighten something up or to cut something.

Tom Shivers: How ’bout a stopwatch?

Larry Towner: We’ve … We’re not UPS yet. If you’ve ever talked to … When you get out there, talk to a UPS driver. They’ll tell you, they’re measured by the minute with a watch, too. It is something that if you wanna do it, actually, we used to do a little bit. We tried. We’d time ourself and see how long it’d take us to get in and out. We would strive to do better and better on a daily basis.

Larry Towner: The key, again, it starts at night though. You wanna make sure you have all the prior … It starts the day before. You want all that product on the truck and you wanna make sure you have enough. You wanna make sure you get your boxes full and get your route scheduled because it’s the same issue if you’re driving … you don’t wanna drive back and forth and back and forth. You wanna drive in a line. We generally work our route lines … or routes in circles, where you start at one place, you go out, you loop around, and you end up back at home. We try to limit the amount of windshield time between stops because, again, we don’t get paid to drive. We get paid to fill.

Larry Towner: That’s really, really critical. All it takes is good planning. I think in a previous show we had talked about scheduling as far as your … how …what’s your interval between stops are as far as weeks go or months or days. It just depends on the size of the account. Again, you have to integrate all this information together so that you’re nice and smooth and efficient. Theoretically, on a great day, you’re gonna spend 80% of your time filling machines and 20% of your time driving, if you’ve really got everything clicking and doing really well. That’s where you’ll be.

Larry Towner: That’s some of the tips is basically use a pre fold type system. If you get farther on and you have better resources, there’s all kinds of technological things that stream real time data back into your handhelds or into your iPhones and stuff like that. For most guys starting out, you can’t afford that technology. It’s very, very expensive. It works great for very, very large companies, but for small guys it’s just a little pricey.

Tom Shivers: Good stuff, Larry. Thanks for the tips. Tell us a little about your business and what you do.

Larry Towner: Well, we do vending consulting. We specialize primarily in startup type operations and helping guys get out there and get efficient so that they can start to make some money in this business because, believe it or not, just because you buy it for a quarter and sell it for 50 cents, you can’t necessarily make money on that. We help people get efficient so that they can start earning money faster.

Tom Shivers: How can people contact you?

Larry Towner: Best way to get ahold of us is send us an email. It’s [email protected]

Tom Shivers: You’ve been listening to Vending Efficiency Delivering Product at  the Vending Business Show, a publication of A&M Equipment Sales.  More Blogs of the Vending Business Show  Vending Efficiency Operating Procedures

How the Vending Machine Business Has Changed

How the Vending Business has Changed  An interview with Jimmy Bryan of Eagle Vending

Jimmy has been in the vending business for 29 years and runs 18 routes in the Atlanta area.

How the Vending Business has Changed  What changes have you seen in the vending business?

Over the last 10 years there’s been a gradual decline in buildings and stores being built, so fewer opportunities are available to place our equipment. There are a number of issues:

  • Reduction in work forces
  • Down turn in the economy has been tough
  • Healthy snacking and nutritional issues has had an impact
  • Sales are stable now, so no more reductions but no growth either

There’s more going on with technology now that will have a positive impact on our business:

  • Validators now accept higher bills with bill recyclers
  • Credit card fees aren’t justifiable yet
  • Micro markets – the unmanned stores are coming
  • Handheld computers that download sales data for better merchandising
  • Reducing energy consumption and recycling is a new trend for vending machines

What do you see in the forseeable future?

  • Remote monitoring brings the ability to monitor real time data so the operator knows exactly what sells at a location and what doesn’t, but it’s costly right now
  • Yes the marketplace is changing and those who can grow with it will adapt  How the Vending Business has Changed   You can see another episode of the Vending Business Show   School Vending Machines Have A Healthy Option

Listen to the interview:


Episode Transcript:

Tom Shivers: I’m Tom Shivers with the Vending Business Show, here with Jimmy Bryan of Eagle Vending. He’s been in the vending business for 29 years, and runs 18 routes in the Atlanta area. Today we’re going to talk a little bit about how the vending business has changed.

Tom Shivers: So, Jimmy, thanks for being here.

Jimmy Bryan: Great, glad to join you.

Tom Shivers: What changes have you seen in the vending business, especially I guess more relevant in today’s market?

Jimmy Bryan: Well, over the last 29 years there’s been huge changes. Back many years ago, there was almost continuous growth and new buildings going up, and companies adding employees, and lots of industrial blue collar locations. And we’ve seen over the last 10 years or so, a gradual decline in many of those. You don’t see too many home depot stores being built, or plants, or factories going up. It’s just the opposite. You’ve got closings and reductions in workforces, and shopping centers closing down.

Jimmy Bryan: So, there’s just fewer places for us to place equipment than there was years ago. The downturn in the economy we’ve seen over the last three to four years has been particularly tough on us. We’ve probably lost 15% of our base of accounts because of what we’ve gone through. And in addition to that, we see issues with healthy snacking and drinking, that’s had an impact on our business. And schools look like they’re going to be addressing some of their concerns with childhood obesity, which is also going to have a negative impact on vending sales.

Jimmy Bryan: And I think the per capita consumption at the average location is down as far as money that goes into vending machines, and that’s just because of the workplace, and concerns over nutritional issues, and they way people stop on the way to work and get a cup of coffee. So, all those things combined have had a downward pressure on our overall sales.

Jimmy Bryan: Currently where we’re at, it’s fairly stable, just like what you hear with the economy and the stock market, it’s kind of leveled off. So, we’re not seeing reductions, but we’re not seeing a lot of growth either. There’s probably more going on now as far as technical, or technology issues than any time in the past. So, I think that’s going to have a positive impact on our business.

Tom Shivers: Oh, really? What do you mean in terms of technology?

Jimmy Bryan: Well, if you go back many years ago, we started putting validators on all machines. Now we’re seeing just about the majority of our machines going out of our warehouse take ones, twos, fives, and in some cases take tens with bill recyclers. Credit cards are growing, but the fees that we get hit with on the credit card sales make it somewhat difficult to expand that in all areas, which is a problem, because so many young people today don’t carry much cash with them, and it would be great if all vending machines took credit cards. But the fees are so significant that it would almost require an across the board price increase.

Jimmy Bryan: So, I think as time goes on you’ll see more and more credit cards, and hopefully the fees will become more manageable, and more accepted. And you know, then there’s issues, the micro markets is a new thing that’s coming out. The unmanned C Store concept, I think that’s going to be a growing area going forward where vending operators are going to have to add that to their ability to service locations. And I think there’s some exciting things with that, but you know, you’ve got to be able to handle that technology and that merchandising.

Jimmy Bryan: We’ve recently moved into handheld computers, where we’re downloading sales data, called Dexing. And we think that’s going to help us in terms of being able to [inaudible 00:04:33] at some point in time, and also merchandising gives you great information in that regard. So, a lot of smaller operators might find that difficult to start off with. But I think that’s going to become more and more commonplace.

Jimmy Bryan: And then there’s areas like customers will come to us wanting options on reducing energy consumption, and recycling. And I think those are becoming key areas of concern along with some many of our accounts have someone in charge of nutrition, or wellness. And we’re seeing more and more requests for what can you do to provide our employees, or our associates, with healthy options for their drinks, and their snacks, and their cold food, and all? So, those are areas that are also of concern, that we can address.

Jimmy Bryan: But it’s tough to grow a vending business, because of the market place and the competition. And it’s just not an overall growing business, where a lot of new accounts are sprouting up. Most of the business we get now, we actually take from another operator, because there’s just not a lot of new accounts moving into our market.

Tom Shivers: Well, anything else you see in the future? What else do you see there?

Jimmy Bryan: Well, I mean remote monitoring is an interesting concept, with the ability to obtain real time data from your locations, Cannon is kind of the leader in that area. And I think that it’s certainly exciting to be able to get that information, but it’s also very costly to be able to harvest that data based on the cost hit with the fees and all. So, it would be nice if everyone in the industry could pull their vehicle up to the location and know exactly what they needed to take in on that first trip. But a lot of the equipment is older and won’t accept that kind of technology. And the newer equipment that will, it’s expensive to do it.

Jimmy Bryan: So, it’ll be interesting 10 years from now to look back and see how much of that is going on, and how much more efficient routes can be come, where drivers are not spending as much time in elevators, and going back and forth to trucks. But they’re spending more and more time actually in front of the machine, loading it. And they have that merchandising information, where they know exactly what sells at a location and what doesn’t.

Jimmy Bryan: And I think those are the exciting things that will allow the vending industry to compete with the other food service channels that are out there.

Tom Shivers: Yeah, maybe the price of that Cannon date will be coming down over the years as more machines are made with it. Who knows?

Jimmy Bryan: Yeah, yeah. I hope that’s the case, and you hope technology becomes more efficient. And we just recently went through a transition from our former software system to an upgraded Cloud based system called Census. And the transition was so much easier than it would have been a few years ago, because of the ability to transfer data.

Jimmy Bryan: So, things are changing, and the old concept of just a vending machine that takes coins and dollar bills, and spirals turn, and the guy with the vehicle that pulls up there. Certainly that is changing, the marketplace is changing. And you know, the people that survive longterm and are able to grow and be efficient, they’re the ones that are going to adapt. And it’s an interesting process that we’re all going through right now.

Tom Shivers: Good stuff, thanks for sharing, Jimmy. Anything you want to share about your business and what you do?

Jimmy Bryan: We’ve been in business 29 years, and we’re in Marietta, Georgia, just north of Atlanta. So, we’re members of USG, and enjoy that relationship and the benefits that come with it. So, we’re alive and well and learning, and hoping to survive and grow in a tough marketplace. So, I’ve enjoyed being able to talk with you for a little bit about it.

Tom Shivers: Great. You’ve been listening to the Vending Business Show, a publication of A&M Equipment Sales.

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