Is the world of vending taking over?

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Unattended retail is on the rise thanks to changes in retail kiosks, vending machines and improvements in technology. The world of vending machines are taking over. Machines give customers the chance to interact with merchants more quickly, without having to waste time standing in a long line or dealing with slow-moving employees.

Research found by USA Technologies concludes that the interactive kiosk industry market will be worth $1.073 billion in the next decade. What about the growth of the market from previous years? That comes in at a shocking number; the industry has grown from $533.37 million in 2013 to $716.97 million in 2016.

Over the past year more vending options are taking over, but what kind of retail can we expect to see in these new kiosks and vending machines? Everything from luxuries like the beautiful Marla Aaron carbine lock pendants jewelry, to necessities like groceries and medicine to personal care products for the homeless. Not to mention the rise of self-serve options is getting a swift kick into the future with the opening of the new Amazon Go Store. Food and beverage kiosks have become the most common kind of kiosks in the U.S., accounting for a combined 35 percent of machines in the field as of 2016. But the industry has seen an increase in clothing retail and vehicle-charging kiosks as well.

All of these new developments mean we are on the road to a completely different retail experience. Unattended kiosks and markets allow for a speedier shopping experience and can reach more consumers in venues brick and mortar stores simply can’t. With technology advancing, capabilities such as remote machine monitoring, interactive touchscreens, identity verification are becoming more affordable. The growth of this industry can and will expand beyond what is typically sold in vending machines.

Why vending guarantee is important in your machine.

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Technological advances in vending machines have enabled consumers to purchase vended products using apps, debit and credit cards. We have also seen other advances inside the vending machines. We’ve all made trips to the vending machine to purchase a soda and chips only to have our selection fail to vend after we swipe our credit card. Frustrated, we think the machine charged our card so we make a call to the number on the machine looking for a refund. Or worse, someone shakes the machine in hopes of getting the product to drop, which can cause a lot of damage to the machine. But did you know up-to-date vending machines include a guaranteed vend delivery system?

Each vending machine has an infrared light sensor at the bottom of the machine. Each snack or drink passes through this infrared light as it is dispensed. If the snack or drink doesn’t break the beam of light, it will give the customer credit back to make another selection. This feature makes the customer experience more reliable and minimizes the need to call customer service or request a refund. Not sure if your machine has a guaranteed vend delivery system? Many machines will have a sticker indicating the presence of one; you may also see a message appear after selecting your product. If the machines is equipped with a guaranteed vend delivery system, a message typically pops up encouraging the consumer to make another selection or dispense a refund. Guaranteed vend delivery systems can take care of a problem before it starts. Who needs a frustrated customer?

Work resolutions to start your year off right.

WorkResolutions2018WPThe New Year is quickly approaching and while personal resolutions are always a great way to start they year fresh, it’s also a great time to consider work resolutions. Below we have a few ideas on how you can start the 2018 work year off on the right foot and achieve those resolutions throughout the year.

Step out of your comfort zone

We know change is scary, and stepping out of your comfort zone is just as frightening for some. But stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to be leaping head first into something you’ve never done before. Maybe it’s as simple as asking a coworker for advice or help on a situation. Or attending an event you typically wouldn’t go to because you might not know anyone there. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be intimidating but as long as you are taking baby steps in the right direction, you’ll find your comfort zone expanding, which will allow for more personal growth.

Listen more than you talk

We all want to contribute to conversations at hand, but in some cases it can muddle the situation when people contribute ideas without thinking them through. Instead, take time to actually listen to what is being said or asked of you and then take time to formulate a response. A good rule of thumb is to wait a few seconds before replying to ensure you don’t interrupt the speaker, which also gives you time to form a thoughtful response. This tip might seem like a basic task but the next time you sit in a meeting, count how many times someone gets interrupted or answers get shouted out.

Learn something new

This resolution can go hand-in-hand with stepping out of your comfort zone but in the end you might pick up a new skill you never knew you had the ability to do. This can be a great way to open new doors in the work place and meet new people. Learning something new could be as simple as taking a class on leadership or attending a seminar in your field of work.

Be more organized

As soon as projects start to pile up, the system for organization can fall by the wayside leading to scrambling to finish projects or even missing deadlines. Setting up an organizational system that works for you can help you in those times when your work load is piling up. Set reminders to help you prioritize what needs to be completed first and take a few minutes each day to assess any new projects that reach your inbox.

Get inspired

No matter how long you have been in your industry, it can be easy to feel uninspired about the work you do. As you move into 2018, think about how you can get inspired about the work you do. Look towards clients who are happy with the work you provide or consider attending a conference in your area to help reignite the excitement for your industry.

Make Goals

Make a list of goals you want to accomplish during the year, whether it’s staying more organized like the resolution above or working harder to meet deadlines. Take the time to write them out, or set reminders in your work calendar.

Talk about your goals

Goals are pointless if nobody knows about them. Tell your boss, your coworkers and have the people around you help hold you accountable for everything you want to achieve. If you get half way through the year and feel like you’re straying away from your goals, do an assessment to see how you can get back on track. If you get to the end of the year and missed a goal, no worries, take time to assess why you might have fallen short or what prevented you from accomplishing that goal and work to make a change for the following year.

What you need to know about vending management.

Vending ManagementIs vending management right for you?

You’ve just been handed the task of finding a new vending service for your company and you don’t know where to begin. A quick Google search leaves you with a few leads, but on top of coordinating the new vending you still have your job responsibilities to complete. More stress has been added to your day!

That’s where National Vending comes in. National Vending is a vending management company that specializes in coordinating all your refreshment needs, from office coffee and vending to micro markets and cafes for companies with multiple regional or national locations. We coordinate a seamless transition at each location, but our services don’t stop there. National Vending serves as the main contact for all customer service calls, provides a detailed account of revenue for each machine and negotiates the terms of your refreshment services program in accordance with your needs. We also work to bring you the latest in vending innovation and energy efficiencies.

Our full service vending management program takes care of everything. Each property has different employee and traffic counts and regional taste preferences, so we tailor a vending and refreshment service program that meets the needs of each facility.

Many businesses such as offices, schools, hospitals and other locations make great spots for our vending machines. We can also consolidate your refreshment services program to include office coffee and filtered water systems. With National Vending you won’t have to worry about screening service providers, coordinating site visits or negotiating an agreement. We provide your staff with more time to do the job they were hired for. You can trust the vending details to us!

Questions about vending management? Reach out to us here.

 

How to keep your desk job from killing you slowly.

Staying healthy at work can be difficult, from morning sweets brought in by a co-worker to long hours sitting at your desk, all these can factor into your long term health without you realizing it. New research is finding out that a sedentary lifestyle can be as detrimental to our health as smoking a pack of cigarettes every day. Here’s how your desk job is killing you slowly.

“Sitting is so incredibly prevalent that we don’t even question how much we’re doing it. And because everyone else is doing it, it doesn’t even occur to us that it’s not ok.” Nilofer Merchant said at TED 2013. An increase in the amount of standing desks entering the workforce is a positive but more can be done. A recent study from Career Builder states that 41 percent of people have gained weight at their jobs and most of that can be attributed to unhealthy snacking.  It’s not just about our activity levels on and off the clock but our eating habits as well.

Below are a few statistics on how sitting can be slowing harming your health and how to make minor improvements throughout the work day.

Health, Work,

Why Being a WBE is Important

workplace-1245776_1920Established in 2002 and certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), National Vending supports the growth of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (MWBE) within the communities we service. But what does it mean to be a WBE?

For National Vending, it means things like supporting entrepreneurial growth and assisting clients in meeting diversity requirements. Statistics show that companies who embrace diversity are more profitable than companies who don’t. MWBE procurement has a direct and positive impact where corporations do business, which builds brand loyalty.

Tier I and II

Companies with supplier diversity programs are also interested in Tier 1 and Tier II supplier classifications. A Tier I supplier has a direct relationship with its client. To qualify under Tier II, a company’s direct supplier, like National Vending, contracts with other MWBEs and reports that spend back to the company.

“The reason diversity works is that on almost every measure, greater racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse workplace teams function more effectively than more homogenous teams. Members from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives avoid “groupthink,” whereas non-diverse teams get mired in it. …In short, the business case for diversity is overwhelming.” [1]

Tax Incentives

The federal government provides tax breaks for companies that utilize minority and women-owned businesses as suppliers.  A second tax incentive reduces tax liability to companies that use minority and women-owned businesses that supply labor or services to a project funded with federal or state grants or loans. State tax incentives may be available as well. Find out more at https://goo.gl/zG8rNa.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie….Trip through a Vending Machine

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It’s National Cookie Day and that means it’s the perfect excuse to visit Laura Numeroff’s classic, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Take a trip through the vending machine to see all the other things a mouse will need after his cookie!

As you know, if you give a mouse a cookie, he’ll ask you for some milk and then a straw. While in this case, the mouse will ask you to go to the Keurig coffee vending machine to grab a hot chocolate k-cup to wash down the cookie crumbs then he’ll need a napkin to wipe away all the crumbs. Then he’ll need to get some gum from the vending machine. After chewing the gum for a bit, he’ll realize that he’s hungry and he’ll need a snack. He’ll ask for some potato chips but after he opens the bag, he’ll ask you for some chocolate since he loves the sweet and salty combination. After the snack, he’ll get very full so he’ll probably ask for a blanket to rest, but before he can go to sleep, he’ll need a cold bottle of water.

When the mouse wakes up, he’ll realize that he’s full from all the food so he’ll probably ask you to take him on a walk. After the walk, he will be all sweaty, so he will ask you for a bath, but he’ll need some soap. He’ll ask for extra bubbles but make a mess so he’ll ask for a towel to clean it up. He will stand back and realize that the floor needs to be sweeped so he’ll as for a broom. Then he’ll clean the whole house, but when he gets to the kitchen he bumps into the jar of cookies. The cookies come crashing down. He’ll have to eat the cookies quick so they don’t go to waster. And chances are if you give him another cookie, he’ll ask to go back to the vending machine for another hot chocolate and another cookie to go with it!

Enjoy National Cookie Day for yourself and see where your adventure takes you! What type of cookie will you have to celebrate National Cookie Day?

Popping Tabs for the Ronald McDonald House!

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Pop your tabs for the Ronald McDonald House Charities! The Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) help keep families with sick children close to their kids and provide the care and resources they need. Having a child fighting an illness can be tough on the family both financially and emotionally, but RMHC works to provide housing, finances for moving to a new city, and helps with medical and dental care in vulnerable communities. RMHC has chapters in more than 63 countries and regions. There are 359 Ronald McDonald Houses around the world!

A continuous fundraising program that the Ronald McDonald House Charities participates in is the pop tab collection program. The organization works with local recycling centers to receive money for collecting tabs from aluminum cans. You can donate the pop tabs to any McDonalds restaurant or a local Ronald McDonald House Charity.

Do you know why they collect pop tabs versus the whole cans? The pop tab is actually made entirely of aluminum whereas the can is a combination of metals, so you get more money from the pop tab than the can itself! The donated pop tabs are weighed to determine their value and then the recycling center sends the RMHC the value of the pop tabs. RMHC receives this money to help fund their programs. Yearly, RMHC serves more than 7 million children and families so by popping your pop tabs, you have the ability to help families across the world stay with their loved ones and give hope to a brighter future!

Do you want to get involved in helping the Ronald McDonald House? You can help out with the pop tab collection program by getting your family, friends, and coworkers involved in popping their tabs for the Ronald McDonald House!

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An October Adventure to the Pumpkin Patch

As the leaves begin to change color along with the crisp autumn weather, many people love to go find the perfect pumpkin! A day full of wagon rides, corn mazes, and choosing the perfect pumpkin is a fun way to spend a fall October day!

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Check out a few exciting pumpkin patches around the world:

  • Roloff Farms (Hillsboro, OR) – This farm has been featured on TLC’s reality show, “Little People, Big World.” The farm is home to several unique structures that have become popular tour destinations during the fall. With pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, you’ll be sure to find the perfect one even giants, blue/pink pumpkins, and “Ghost” pumpkins! Don’t miss the food corner and be sure to grab some fresh kettle corn! There are also wagon tours, pony rides, face painting, and an adventure area for the kids.
  • Cool Patch Pumpkins (Dixon, CA) – Are you ready to visit the home of the World Record Corn Maze? Go explore the Cool Patch Pumpkins where you will find a pumpkin patch featuring edible and non-edible pumpkins, gourds, squash, and more. The Fun Zone is a fun time for all ages whether its the mini maze, corn bath, trikes, hay castle, hay ride, or pumpkin cannon!
  • Peanuts Pumpkin Patch Express (Bryson City, NC) – The Peanuts characters have returned to the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Pumpkin Patch! Don’t forget your costumes for this Halloween themed adventure! There will be a narration of Schulz’s “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” as the train travels to the pumpkin patch. Passengers will have a photo opportunity with Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Snoopy! During the layover, some fun activities include: roasting marshmallows, coloring, getting temporary tattoos, trick or treating, jumping in the bouncy house, and going for hayrides! Each child will get to choose their own pumpkin from the Great Pumpkin Patch to take home. This is the perfect pumpkin patch trip for the young ones!

What’s your favorite fall tradition? Pumpkin patches and apple orchards are definitely top choices around the nation!

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The Sweet History of Chocolate

Happy chocolate day! Today is the day you can express your love of this sweet treat. America’s favorite flavor is chocolate. Whether it is chocolate candy, ice cream, desserts, or snacks, it’s the perfect day to indulge in this sweet treat.

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In order to celebrate a day dedicated to the sweet treat, it’s fun to look back on its history. Chocolate originated from Latin America. The Olmec are considered to be the first people to use chocolate around 1000 BC, but it is unknown how or if the Olmec actually used chocolate. From about 250 to 900 AD, the Mayans used chocolate quite a bit. Cacao beans were used as a currency and in religious rituals. The rich prepared chocolate as a beverage every once in a while but chocolate was not consumed very often.

The Aztecs kept the chocolate tradition alive by drinking chocolate from 1200 to 1500. In 1519, Cortez and others discovered cacao, but they despised it since it was bitter without sugar, so they continued using it as currency. The Spaniards had kept chocolate to themselves for a while, as it was considered a health food and a medicine. Doctors believed that it could cure fevers, cool the body, improve digestion, and reduce pain and the church said that it was a nutritional supplement while fasting.

It wasn’t long before chocolate made its way to Europe and demand quickly increased. Slaves worked on cacao plantations to help meet this demand. As more chocolate was produced, chocolate prices decreased and more people had access to it. In 1850, Joseph Fry added more cacao butter to cacao powder and sugar to create the first solid chocolate. In 1875, Daniel Peter and Henri Nestle added condensed milk to solid chocolate to create a milk chocolate bar. This was just the beginning of the chocolate craze that would spread across the world. The chocolate industry is over $35 billion dollars today!

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Chocolate comes from the cacao bean from cacao trees in tropical rain forests, so it is technically a vegetable! In fact, the cacao bean is one of the most powerful superfoods in the world. Cacao beans are packed with antioxidants, magnesium, iron, chromium, manganese, zinc, fiber, omega 6 fatty acids, and vitamin C. These antioxidants protect the body from aging caused by free radicals, which can cause damage that leads to heart disease. Dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Chocolate stimulates endorphin production which gives a feeling of pleasure. It contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant, and theobromine/caffeine which act as stimulants.

Here are some ideas to add more chocolate into your day:

  • Breakfast – chocolate chip pancakes, glazed chocolate donuts, chocolate cereal, chocolate muffins, chocolate covered bacon or chocolate crepes
  • Lunch or Dinner – grilled chocolate sandwich (bread, chocolate chips, and  banana), chocolate chicken, or chocolate soup
  • Snacks – chocolate covered fruit, chocolate covered nuts, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate chip bread, or chocolate dipped potato chips
  • Dessert/Treats – cake, cupcakes, cookies, or candy bars
  • Drinks – chocolate milk, hot chocolate, chocolate liquor, or chocolate shakes

Enjoy chocolate day and let us know how you’re celebrating the day!

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