For the past few years, micro markets have been a huge success for both our customers as well as our business. We continue to enjoy having conversations about this innovative vending solution — why they differ from vending machines, how they're run, and what the future holds for the industry. To help address those questions and more, I've compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions, along with the answers and all the important details you need to get started on considering a micro market of your own.
1. What is a Micro Market by Definition?
It’s an unattended vending concept that offers people access to fresh foods and beverages in places like offices, campuses, or facilities. People can choose from meal-type foods, snack items, fresh produce, handcrafted sandwiches, ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages, hot coffee, and other sundry items. A new innovative solution to keeping employees happy and sated!
2. How Do I Know if My Business Can Support a Micro Market?
Take a look at your current vending offerings. Are those areas heavily trafficked? Do you have people who’ve asked or requested for more in-depth options? Do you have the dedicated space to add coolers, shelving, and a processing kiosk? Are there at least 100 people who would frequent a micro market, making it a worthwhile investment? Consider those questions and if you can answer yes to the majority of them, your business is a likely candidate for a micro market.
3. BUdgeting 101: How Much Does a Micro Market Cost?
At Bernick’s, there’s no expense required to install or maintain a micro market. Individuals pay for the food and beverages themselves, and also have the ability to select vending options, without adding cost to the operation. We handle the inventory and own the equipment, and provide all necessary service. If your space has dedicated electrical outlets, water and internet access, you’re all set.
4. What Kinds of Items are Featured?
Our micro market team indicated that this question pops up the most frequently. People are often familiar with traditional vending options, but just don’t know what to expect in a micro market. We like to say everything from morning coffee to midnight snacks — and everything in between — can be included in a micro market. Fresh bakery items and prepackaged cereals, oatmeal, and granola bars; lunchtime provisions can include handmade sandwiches, protein packs, fresh fruit, salads, and other heat-to-eat items; and there are beverages that appeal to every type of consumer including hot beverages, water, non-carbonated options, soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, and tea.
5. How Do I Know what to Stock in My Company’s Micro Market?
We always turn to our micro market customers as the expert on their particular workplace or building and people who are part of it. At Bernick's, we have a wide variety of options, but our top priority is customizing the perfect selection to fit your company. We’ll ask what hours of operation are, the types of people who comprise your workforce, and what feedback (if any) you’ve had from your team about onsite food options. From there, we’ll establish a general idea of what types of food and drinks work best using our data and experience as the influence.
The key to a successful micro market is convenience and variety. Sticking to a particular selection of items that are too narrow to appeal to a lot of people isn’t a great idea. For example, if your workplace is generally very health conscious, not offering a single candy or snack item isn’t recommended. What happens when the need for chocolate or other comfort strikes? It always does, maybe just less frequently. A good micro market offers a little bit of everything.
6. Why Would I Want a Micro Market?
The reasons why a micro market is a good idea are plenty. It’s viewed as a workplace perk — yes, even if people have to pay for it themselves. The convenience factor is a big one. Imagine your teams of people never having to leave your premise in search of lunch or coffee options. Promoting workplace culture is another reason micro markets are becoming so popular — granting people a place to gather for breaks and mealtime options can foster unity and camaraderie.
7. How Does the Installment Process Go?
You’ll work closely with your Micro Market Specialist to schedule the install at a time that makes sense for your business. Our goal is to be as non-disruptive and fluid as possible, and you should be confident in sharing that with your team as well. Setup includes delivery of equipment and installing the coolers, shelving, and security camera, adding products, and setting up the financial part of the kiosk, personalized to your building.
8. How Are Items Paid For?
Payment options vary depending on your wishes. The payment kiosk can accept cash, credit, personal identification numbers, and in some cases, fingerprint IDs. That is setup during the install so when our trucks pull away, your micro market can be considered open for business!
9. What Happens if it "Doesn't Work"?
While Bernick's doesn't set expectations for "success" of a micro market with a specific set of metrics, we don't just set it and forget it, either. We'll maintain regular communication to ensure your micro market is working properly, stocked well, and appealing to the needs of people onsite. It's not uncommon to adapt as time goes on to add product or eliminate items that don't move quick enough, or to meet the ever-changing preferences of today's consumer.
My hope is this FAQ list has put some of your own lingering questions to rest on the topic of micro markets. If you're still wondering if this vending solution is right for your business, simply click the button below to start the conversation with our team.