With food and beverage supply and service, there's already a standard of cleanliness and presentation that's upheld. Safety and satisfaction go hand-in-hand for those in the industry supplying food and beverages directly to consumers. Along with nearly everything else, the COVID-19 pandemic has made consumers and suppliers alike hyperaware of safety standards. For our customers operating and maintaining a micro market, how can you adhere to new protocol and be a continual source of safe, healthy food items for your customers?
Refresher Course: What is a Micro Market?
While on the rise for popularity and adoption, people still occasionally question what a micro market is.
At its core, a micro market is a self-serve kiosk people purchase fresh food and beverages from.
Plain and simple, it's a next-level vending solution. But it's more than that; that generalization does micro markets a disservice. What's a micro market?
An Innovative Option for an Innovative World
When they were first developed, micro markets seemed a bit too good to be true. An open market concept that operates on an honor system? Well, the modern vending model has been gaining traction and proving themselves as a viable option for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Today, Bernick's supports over 100 micro markets across the communities we serve.
Micro markets are a growing trend in the vending industry. Instead of a traditional vending machine, food and beverage options are stored in coolers and on shelves for easy, self-serve access. The convenience store models that micro markets are based on allow users to take advantage of a wide selection of food and beverage items. Vending machines are the most commonly reported source of work site food. Two-thirds of larger sized employers have vending options available, and about a quarter of smaller sized employers do. What are you doing to keep your employees happy?
A Modern, Safer Way to Eat
By definition, a micro market is a custom designed vending market or mart with a self-checkout kiosk. Micro markets can replace current vending programs, or act as a supplementary option for employees and staff. Micro markets provide users with a convenience store feel with vending options and prices. They bring a whole new level of selection, service, and satisfaction to your break room and work campus. Although micro markets may possess the general feel of a small convenience store, they are their own style of marketplace.
They offer more products than a vending machine but less than a full grocery mart. Think freshly prepared lunches, healthy snacks, and drinks that people can access whenever the mood strikes. Micro markets focus on the needs and preferences of a select group of consumers and offer a wider range of “better for you” items and products —specifically items that are healthy and refreshing.
The Stance from the Center for Disease Control
According to the CDC, "The risk of getting sick with COVID-19 from eating or handling food (including frozen food and produce) and food packages is considered very low. Currently, there is no evidence that handling food or consuming food is associated with COVID-19."
Keeping Your Kiosks Clean
After micro market patrons have made their selections, they check themselves out using a self-serve kiosk. This allows users to be efficient by quickly accessing the items they want throughout the day. Instead of having to carry cash or change to make purchases, customers can charge their purchases to an account set up within the micro market or swipe a credit card. In some instances, micro market checkout kiosks also accept payment with a fingerprint. Easy, quick, convenient, and focused on long-term success.
Kiosk screens and cooler doors, handles, and dry good racks are usually the most-touched surfaces in a micro market. The precautions of keeping a highly-trafficked area clean should be enforced daily and monitored hourly to ensure proper sanitation has occurred to protect users. Beyond enforcing masking and social distancing as per your company's policy, keep a steady supply of anti-bacterial hand sanitizer and EPA-approved disinfectants at various spots within your micro market.
A Much-needed Business Booster
Meeting the needs of employees or building tenants happens in a variety of ways. Everything from safety to new and updated technology and encouraging culture and atmosphere appeals to people working in a variety of industries. But are you considering the food and beverages you're offering your people when they're away from home, especially in heightened times of safety and precaution? A micro market would meet those needs.
Did you know workplace productivity is directly correlated to nutrition? One of the best features of a micro market is not only the convenience of accessible, healthy food items, but the fact that they are self-serve, and do not require any additional manpower to serve employees or tenants. These convenient, technologically advanced micro market stations take your business's vending options to a whole new level.
Where running out to grab coffee, lunch, or a quick snack before was commonplace to employees, that practice has changed. As the hospitality and food service industry continues to adapt and adhere to new mandates, it can be difficult to access food and beverages the way we all did before. Think of your employees' safety and needs as they come back to work, in whatever capacity your business is supporting. The availability of onsite food and beverages could be a welcome relief against the stark reality of the marketplace.
Along with an increased product selection and safety measures, micro markets also offer:
- Efficient self-checkout capabilities
- Cutting-edge inventory systems
- Customized products and setups
What surprises many businesses who explore micro market options is there is no investment necessary. When you partner with Bernick’s, we install and maintain your micro market at no cost to you. No purchasing, no leasing, no hassle. What could a micro market do for your company's culture—and keep it safe? Let's connect so you can find out.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October, 2018 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.