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Breaking Down Different Vending Machines and Their Features

Breaking Down Different Vending Machines and Their Features

Vending machines have come a long way over the years—gone are the days of stuck snacks, expired chips, and needing cash on hand. Modern vending machines have evolved to meet the needs of users with the conveniences of technology we’ve come to rely on. These days, vending machines are highly flexible and serve a number of settings with a wide variety of consumables. We’ll discuss the different types of vending machines and talk about the benefits of modern variations, the reasons to have a vending machine service, and tips on choosing the right vendor to meet your needs.

What Are the Different Types of Vending Machines?

When most people think of vending machines, they think of the traditional snack dispensers—filled with quick and easy packaged items that can live at room temperature. These are the most common formats, as they can hold products with longer shelf lives and are lower maintenance in terms of inventory management. Advancements in technology have led to food vending machines that have the capability to house cold products, including refrigerated and frozen. Instead of being stuck with a vending machine that has only candy and chips, those with refrigeration capabilities can stock salads, wraps, and sandwiches without worrying about temperature control. Those able to store frozen foods can dispense microwavable meals and ice cream. This improves their benefit, as it means the machines are better as a source of meal options and healthier alternatives.

Drink vending machines are another popular format. From water to soda or any other pre-packaged liquid, these types of vending machines are extremely convenient and flexible. They’re temperature-controlled so that cans or bottles can be distributed cold for better enjoyment, as most people don’t enjoy warm soda. For those who prefer hot options, there are also coffee vending machines capable of pouring the perfect latte or freshly ground roast. Employees, students, and customers always need drinks (especially of the caffeinated variety), and drink-based vending machines are successful in nearly every environment, including businesses, schools, and waiting rooms.

While more than a physical dispensing machine, micro markets fall into the vending family as well. These are small shop-like areas set up to provide a wider range of grab-and-go options. They have a larger physical footprint than one or two vending machines and are suited to high-traffic areas. With a self-checkout, the consumer is still able to easily pay for their items, and you don’t have to consider extra staff to work the register. Micro markets create a large variety of options for those in need of a meal or snack and are perfect for hospitals, hotels, and larger workspaces.

Food and drinks aren’t the only things that can be vended—non-perishables as inventory have grown too. Airports often have vending machines full of non-food products such as charge cords, headphones, and battery packs. There are a number of machines dispensing products beyond food, and it’s a specialty that continues to grow.

What Is the Most Popular Type of Vending Machine?

Digital vending machines are growing in popularity rapidly. Advanced features that improve accurate dispensing, make digital payment easy, and allow for greater temperature control have driven a change in the kinds of vending machines found in businesses.

Whereas old machines required coins or cash to pay—which most people no longer carry—modern versions make payment easy through card payment or mobile payment. As long as your phone or card is handy, buying a snack is never a problem! Methods such as Google Pay and Apple Pay have become widespread among all age groups, so odds are most people using the machine will have at least one payment option available. Digital payment also reduces potential issues with dollar bills being too ragged or folded to be accepted by the machine.

Many different types of vending machines are also moving to digital displays that help show information on the product selection. For example, if you were interested in the calories or other nutrient information of a selection, you can’t reach in there to turn the package around and look at the back. Instead, the panel on the machine can show nutrition information with the touch of a button to help you make informed food choices.

Refrigeration configuration in vending machines has also grown, allowing hybrids that hold both room temperature and cold food selections. The temperature features of vending machines allow for a wider variety of perishable options for consumers. For facilities with minimal space to spare, a hybrid machine opens up broader possibilities for inventory. Who wouldn’t want a vending machine that serves both chips and ice cream novelties?

Technical features on vending machines have evolved over the years. One advancement is iVend, which ensures that no matter what you select in the machine, it either dispenses correctly or you get your money back immediately. You won’t have upset patrons requesting you refund them, and you won’t have to call a number to get the money returned to you—eventually. No one will miss trying to shake the machine when the bag of chips gets stuck.

What Are the Benefits of Having Vending Machines?

Vending machines are convenient, pure and simple. They provide easy access to food and drinks in spaces that would not be able to sell workers or patrons any refreshments otherwise. Vending machines make getting food easy when you forget your lunch and don’t want to take the time (or don’t have any to spare) hitting a drive-thru.

Since inventory can be customized, you’re able to accommodate known food preferences or allergies by stocking the machine with the appropriate options. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for socialization—people are drawn to it and cross paths with others they wouldn’t normally interact with. It organically increases the connections between staff in the office.

There are also added benefits to working with a vending machine service. A vending service like S Vending Solutions does all the work for you without any fees. From setup of the device to restocking regularly or necessary maintenance, you get the perks of the machine without any of the work. A vending service allows you to effortlessly provide options that are convenient to your business, school, or facility with customized inventory and dedicated support.

Tips for Choosing the Right Vendor for Your Needs

Always ask detailed questions when interviewing vending machine service providers. It’s important to clearly understand what exact functions they will serve, any responsibilities that will fall to you, whether there are fees involved, how modern their machines are, and whether you can customize the inventory.

When reaching out to vendors, get a feel for how their customer service is handled. Do they respond quickly to outreach? Are their answers straightforward and clear? Does the representative have decision-making powers, or do they have to consult a manager? How quickly are they able to get you set up? A good vending service provider like S Vending Solutions will have quick and helpful responses, be able to meet your requests without red tape, and have you running within a day or two of your agreement.

The equipment they offer should also be modern and well maintained. Ideally, they will help you explore the types of vending machines to choose from to help you make an educated decision on what best matches your needs. With different options to consider, having guidance during the selection process will improve confidence in the machines you choose for your facility. A benefit to working with S Vending Solutions is that we perform all maintenance, from making sure the machine is calibrated correctly to repairing issues that arise.

A vending service should also be able to customize what is stocked in your machines and make changes to the inventory at your request without fees or delays. Swapping out snacks or drinks for something your staff is requesting is easy with SVS, since we’ll approve it when you call and take care of it within a day or two. The service should also include a regular schedule of inventory replenishment and monitoring for items reaching an expiration date. The people at your organization deserve to have food and drinks that they like—and you deserve to have that handled with ease.

At S Vending Solutions, we take care of our customers like we do our own family. With more than 25 years in the business, we focus on prioritizing what you need and delivering on our promises so you can focus on your business or facility. We’re the partner you can rely on to make sure your teams are fed and happy.

To start effortless vending services for your workplace, school, or facility in the Nashville area, submit a quick form and the perfect vending solution will make your team’s break happy!

Steve Caldwell
Steve Caldwell

Steve Caldwell is the owner and CEO of S Vending Solutions. As a former vending equipment salesman and later the National Sales Manager for PBS Vending Services from 2001-2008, Steve learned the industry inside and out. In 2018, Steve started his own vending company and quickly established routes in Nashville, Knoxville, and West Tennessee, expanding from there. As his personal routes grew he decided to sell his company and help new and existing vending operators market their businesses. Steve currently sells both new and used vending equipment and specializes in helping new operators start and grow their vending companies. He has become a certified Service Entity for the USI/Wittern brand of equipment.

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