AN INTERVIEW WITH LARRY TOWNER
In this episode of the Vending Business Show, we interview Larry Towner, a successful vending operator, and vending business consultant. He shares valuable tips about school vending and healthy vending, .
Tom Shivers: I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show, and today, we’re here with Larry Towner, of course, who is a vending business consultant with Service Group International. We’ve got a interesting topic today, which is kind of unique for this particular year, about school vending and healthy vending, so tell us what we’re going to talk about today, Larry.
Larry Towner: Well, today we’re going to talk about everybody favorite topic, that’s healthy vending. We all know that healthy vending is coming, whether we want to believe it or not, there is now legislation. It’s early July here, and we are … Well, we originally were talking about impending events in our last video, and so we were discussing this concept, Tom and I were, and we decided we needed to do some impending events that’ll affect you right now that you can take out and use today, and that will be able to be used year after year and month after month, for that matter.
We came up with this concept of doing this, the healthy vending in schools, due to the recent legislation put into place by the Obama administration, saying that healthy vendors, there’s going to be certain healthy vending aspects that need to be done in school. The reason that we’re presenting it at this time is we know in the future that healthy vending is going to be an increasing part of our product mix as we go forward through time.
If we don’t get it legislated into our business, we’re going to end up … our customers are going to end up demanding it. Whether they really will eat it or not is another story, but they will demand it eventually, so you need to be preparing for that concept of healthy vending, and so we decided we would talk about … we would kind of wrap the school vending together with the healthy vending, because they really go hand in hand. That was one of the things that came out in our impending events. We know this is going to happen. Well, right now, you have to do it if you’re going to do vending in schools, and you know it’s going to be an increasing amount of our business as time goes on.
So, some of the challenge that we think are showing up in healthy vending really has a lot to do with product selection. It’s been difficult to identify the products that meet these requirements that the government has put down upon us, and so what we found is … I sort of had an idea that this might happen because we didn’t see a whole lot of push back from the various big companies like Frito Lay or Coca-Cola or Pepsi, and so what happened is, is they had products basically ready to go. They just didn’t launch them until this healthy vending initiative got passed through the legislation.
We wanted to give you a couple of resources, because we’re here about … At A&M Equipment Sales, and when we do these things, we want to give you the resources that you can go out and do the kind of work that you need to do. I’m going to take the screen that I have here and I’m just going to show you all some screen shots that we’ve taken off the internet. They give you a couple of resources that are available to you out there, as far as for healthy vending resources.
One of them is a website called HealthierGeneration.org. Actually, if you go to their home page, which I’ll scoot back to their home page, and I’ll show you how to kind of run through this program if I can find their home page. Well, I had it, anyway. Maybe it’s here. But they offer up a couple of products, or a couple of services, I want to say, that are really, really good services. I’m going to type in the HealthierGenerations.org. There it is right there. Let’s pull that up.
Yeah, this is the home page for the website, and what we wanted to do was kind of walk you through which screens, as it were, are really the important ones. We go to here to Eat to Live Healthier, and we click on Eat Healthier. In this Eat Healthier screen, as you can see, there’s a lot of information about making your diet better, but the things that really matter to us in the vending business are these two right here.
There’s product calculator and product navigator. The product calculator, if you click on that, will take you to this screen right here, and this screen is all about figuring out if your products actually meet the requirements for the school vending. It gives all kinds of different things, and it’s basically … It walks you through the things, and it’ll tell you if it works.
One of the other things that’s here on this website is the product navigator. What the product navigator does is it actually gives you lists of products that meet these requirements, so we click on that. We go down here to Smart Snacks, and of course, then you go back here to Snacks again, and it’ll give you a complete … Here’s a menu of items that it shows: bars, cereals, cookies, brownies, pastries, chips. If we just click on chips, it brings you up a whole bunch of things, and who makes them, and what the skews are, and all that kind of thing. This is a really tremendous website that you can use. It’s called HealthierGeneration.org. Really good one.
One of the other ones is, if you’re in the vending business, you already know about Vistar, but Vistar now has a whole series of products. As you can see on their home page, they have healthier snacks for a healthy life, and they have a whole section and a whole bunch of products dedicated to healthy vending, and getting you in the products that you need in school.
These are the kinds of things that we wanted to give to you out there so that y’all know what you’ve got coming up, because adding healthy products into your mix is going to be important as we go forward.
Tom, anything that you have to add?
Tom Shivers: That’s great stuff there, Larry. Now, we’ll have links to both of those resources below the video, so anything else we’re going to be talking about later?
Larry Towner: Well, we always have lots to talk about on the Vending Show, but we’re going to do, coming up is impending … Any of these impending events, we’re going to start doing a series on what we’re calling impending events. These aren’t necessarily doom and gloom things, but they’re things that are going to happen to you as you run your business, and we know, just because we’ve done this for a long time, there’s going to be certain things that we know we’re going to do.
We’re going to try to leave the seasons a little bit, which means we’re going to start into a fall program, because it’s dead of summer right now, but these things happen year after year after year at this time, so we’re going to do a series of events that are going to come up that you can do a little pre-planning for, get yourself prepared for it, and be ready to go. All of that’s going to come up in future Vending Shows.
Tom Shivers: Awesome. And of course, subscribe to get in on all these new shows that are coming, and you’ve been watching the Vending Business Show, a publication of A&M Equipment Sales.
Whether you are doing school vending or not, healthy vending is going to be an increasing part of your product mix in the future because customers are going to begin demanding it. So you need to begin preparing for it if you haven’t already.
Some of the challenges with healthy vending are identifying products that meet the government requirements. Here are resources that will help in this area:
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