January is here and that usually means one thing: resolutions. In 2015, 47% of people’s New Year’s resolutions had to do with self-improvement including weight loss and exercising more consistently. The folks at PepsiCo were right on target with their Hello Goodness vending initiative they announced in December. What else is new in vending? Here are three reasons why people will continue to count on vending machines for their food and beverage needs.
1. The Fresh Factor
Gone are the days of vending machines existing solely to dispense M&M’s or Pepsi for convenience to people who don’t have time to run to a gas station or grocery store. The vending machines of today are dining destinations offering real mealtime fare to the throngs of people who spend their days away from home. Specifically at Bernick’s, we partner with local catering company Short Stop to outfit both our vending machines and micro markets with real, fresh food, which outpaces the sale of traditional vending snacks by three times. Sandwiches on 10-grain or wild rice cranberry bread, wraps, fresh vegetables, and dairy products are all part of our cold food portfolio.
Speaking of portfolio, the brands we represent continue to acknowledge consumer habits and demands to bring new innovation to the food and beverage industry. Gatorade is launching an organic line this year, for example. We’ll be excited to get those product lines into vending machines. The Hello Goodness line of better-for-you products will be featured in machines that suggest food and beverage pairings. Would you like almonds with that coconut water? Now that’s smart vending.
2. Technology that Tastes Good
It’s 10pm and you’re heading to work as part of the overnight crew. You swing into the gas station for a cup of coffee, and cringe when you realize it’s probably been close to 18 hours since the store brewed fresh coffee for the morning commuters. Vending technology believes that every consumer should have fresh coffee options and with that, introduces the rise of bean-to-cup coffee machines. It’s still that touch-of-the-button dispensing, but the machines grind and brew coffee per individual cup. Care to add a shot of espresso or finish with froth? You’ll have those options too. Adding a beans-to-cup coffee machine to your breakroom, employee lounge, or convenience store means more options for people with loyalty to give and experiences to share. Bernick’s just installed one at the Super America in Sauk Rapids – swing in for a cup of gas station coffee like you’ve never experienced.
Other technology upgrades to vending include the ever-expanding network of machines that accept credit or debit cards. Time and convenience continue to be factors for people seeking out vending machines in the first place, and a decent portion of the population doesn’t carry cash. From the building owner or manager’s point of view, there’s less hassle when it comes to the monetary portion of vending machines. One-swipe transactions versus digging for correct change or reporting a mis-dispensing of change favor both the consumer and the premises.
3. Bernick’s Bucks
Maybe you’re an apartment building management group, a car dealer, or a campus. It doesn’t matter what industry you hail from, because Bernick’s hails from the food and beverage industry. Where your people are, is the need for vending machine options that we can provide. And there is more to the relationship between our clients and us than just a can of Pepsi being sold. We favor positive user experiences and satisfied consumers.
We’ll work with human resource departments to offer “Bernick’s Bucks,” which are essentially vending coupons that can be awarded to employees as incentives. We encourage an engaging and rewarded culture in every business and service we partner with because we know that vending machines are just one part of the overall piece. On the other end, we’ll work with suppliers like Mtn Dew to offer promotions for swag to vending machine users who pull the lucky bottle of soda, for example. It’s all part of the overall experience and making people happy.
Maybe we’re not in the food and beverage industry, but the making-people-happy industry. We’ll take it!