Vending for the future: The changing face of on-the-go catering

John Broderick, managing director of Broderick’s – the UK’s leading vending and refreshment business – shares his views on the future of vending as a positive choice for public sector spaces and his belief in the channel’s responsibility for providing healthier on-the-go snacking options.

For years vending machine products were viewed as a distress purchase for out-of-home refreshment, only called on when there was no alternative.

However, with the latest innovations changing the face of the channel, facilities managers are turning to vending machines as a leading-edge, healthy solution for everywhere from hospitals, to educational establishments and from offices to call centres.

Gone are the days when the extent of vending’s offering was sugar laden snacks and watery coffee. Facilities managers are catering for an increasingly educated market: with initiatives like Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Rush War on childhood obesity and the sugar tax on fizzy drinks hitting the news, consumers are more health conscious and discerning than ever. Further, the NHS is leading by example: with the proposal to impose a 20% tax on all sugary drinks and food in NHS cafes set to be introduced by 2020.

Embracing healthier options, at Broderick’s, we’re proud to be spearheading a vending revolution. Whilst the vending sector overall experiences a 6% decline, Broderick’s continues to grow by 8% year on year. So, what’s this down to? It’s an absolute passion for putting consumer choice front and centre, to make vending an active and positive choice.

Healthier snacking solutions

A hard-working product mix is vital, and at Broderick’s we work on a bespoke basis, rather than a one size fits all approach. Directly answering market demand, Broderick’s has developed a Better for You range, backing emerging brands in the healthier snacking sphere, bringing on board exciting innovations like 9bar – a source of naturally healthy energy in a tasty bar format.

Future-fit machines

A startling 53% of the workforce and people in public places don’t carry coins, which means that if vending machines accept only coins as payment, they instantly preclude 47% of their potential market! Add to this the imminent introduction of the new £1 coin in March 2017, and many machines will instantly look archaic, calling for an expensive upgrade – and all the associated disruption for facilities managers – when companies belatedly set about updating their machines.

Broderick’s 500-strong estate of smart vending machines is getting establishments like Manchester Grammar School and Stepping Hill Hospital – amongst many others – fit for upcoming changes and keeping consumer lifestyle choices firmly in mind in the development process of its innovative machines. Accepting payment methods including Apple Pay, PayPal, Wave&Pay, foreign currencies and note loaders, Broderick’s is working hard to keep currency real. It’s a little-known fact that vending machines can detect fake coins where the human eye cannot, which just goes to underline the importance of accepting alternative payment methods.

Communication is key

Vending is an important revenue stream for many organisations, and keenly specified vending machines are now able to share invaluable sales data that offers insight into shoppers’ habits in different environments. Pioneering intelligent vending machines with integrated screens, Broderick’s can help organisations – from hospitals to schools – tailor on-screen messaging to suit their needs: whether that’s sharing important health messages, fundraising or advertising. We’re currently working with Manchester Metropolitan University Business School to create a loyalty programme centred around an app for vending to reward regular custom.

Procurement of vending machines – 5 things to look out for:

  1. Does the vending machine accept alternative payment? Machines with everything from note loaders to Apple Pay facilities are now a reality.
  2. Do the provider’s testimonials or case studies stack up? It’s worth checking out other clients the provider supplies: a history of long-term agreements gives an indication you can trust the machine provider.
  3. What’s the after sales service like? Dig deep here! Does the provider use the latest in reporting technology? What’s the engineer call-out policy? What about hygiene practices and standards?
  4. Is the choice of product thoughtful and innovative? Ask about the provider’s attitude to negative filling. It’s a cheap tactic that will keep fulfilment easy for the machine company, but which can cause menu fatigue. The Broderick’s team pride ourselves on dedicating time and energy to understand what the consumer wants and what sells well.
  5. Where’s the added value? Do check if the vending machine provider is willing to upgrade equipment mid contract rather than just at the start of a new agreement. The market moves quickly and it’s important not to be tied to out-dated equipment whilst paying current rates!


BRITA Vivreau’s Vi tap and Bottler – a successful combination

BRITA Vivreau, a global leader in the development and manufacture of purified drinking water systems, has been challenging and
changing the way drinking water is sourced for over 25 years, paving the way for sustainable bottled drinking water.

As pioneers of the Table Water Bottling System, BRITA Vivreau’s key products also include the Vi tap, Vi tap Plus, DDA Module and reusable Designer glass bottles.

BRITA Vivreau is the industry standard for all hospitality and catering environments from corporate headquart
ers and leading hotels to Michelin starred restaurants, and now services the needs of the world’s leading companies including approximately 75% of the top 100 UK companies and many fortune 500 companies.

In recent years, the company has diversified its product range and customer base to include care homes, independent schools and universities.

Schools and universities are under pressure to be more environmental and have less plastic on campus. The University of Indonesia compiles a GreenMetric Ranking of World Universities encompassing 62 categories, including transport, energy and climate change, waste management and education about green issues. This can implicate those universities shirking environmental responsibility. There is also a UK ‘green league’ of universities compiled by People & Planet.

Many, if not most, UK universities now provide conference facilities and catering for meetings including drinking water. The great water bottle debate has raged for many years in terms of plastic vs glass and the evidence is clear; for venues wishing to reduce waste and decrease carbon footprint as part of a CSR plan, offering reusable glass bottles in meetings instead of disposable glass/plass1-vi-side-head-and-neck-close-7tic bottles is a no-brainer. In addition, by offering chilled, filtered water from a self-service dispense point, a campus can encourage students to reuse bottles instead of buying more plastic.

Taste Manchester is The University of Manchester’s delivered hospitality service, offering refreshments, snacks, lunches, buffets, dinners and much more to any location around campus and City Centre Manchester.

Jonathan Minshull, Head of Catering Operations for Taste Manchester decided to invest in a BRITA Vivreau Table Water Bottling System for its conference facilities and a Vi tap in its new café area, Vasaio. Jonathan explains: “We were impressed with the look of the Table Water Bottling System and the Vi tap. We initially conducted a site visit with BRITA Vivreau at the BBC and I was impressed with how it looked. Initially we ordered one bottling system in University Place which is our main conference venue. We then decided to put the Vi tap in a new dedicated café area, Vasaio, for students and staff to have the benefit of a fresh filtered water system on tap.”

The University of Manchester has a very strong environmental policy, with an aim to reduce the amount of plastic on site. Installing BRITA Vivreau products has helped the University achieve this aim. Jonathan continues: “From a sustainability point of view, we’ve reduced the amount of plastic bottles that we have delivered on campus. Our deliveries, storage and recycling have all improved as a result of installing the BRITA Vivreau systems.”

The Table Water Bottling System dispenses unlimited quantities of purified filtered chilled still and sparkling water in-house. Reusable Designer glass bottles are used to serve water and can be branded with a company logo, as well as an environmental message; an excellent extension to existing branding, perfectly suited to any boardroom. Jonathan commented: “The expectation of conference delegates has increased and they now expect to be offered filtered water. Being able to offer the Table Water Bottling System as part of our conference package has been a big plus for us. We have also improved the offer for our conference delegates as the system looks more professional than the plastic bottles that we previously offered.”

BRITA Vivreau’s Vi tap is ideal for use in a self-service situation, dispensing large quantities of chilled still or sparkling water at the touch of a button. Taste Manchester installed the Vi tap in the new Vasaio café area. Jonathan explains: “The Vi tap is located in an open area with a daily footfall of around 3,000. We previously offered tap water, the Vi tap is now offered as self-service for students to be able to fill up their water bottles with chilled filtered water. It’s always working and accessible, it’s now an expectation that filtered water is on tap!”

Jonathan concludes with: “From initial contact through to installation our contact with BRITA Vivreau was very good indeed – our account manager was very professional and supportive and keen to work with us. There have been no issues with the equipment to date.”


Vivreau’s Business Journey

Vivreau, a global leader in the development and manufacture of purified drinking water systems, has been challenging and changing the way drinking water is sourced for over 25 years, paving the way for sustainable bottled drinking water.

In 1989, current Managing Director Stephen Charles Cohen and his late father, Howard, identified that importing bottled water from other countries would be detrimental to the environment. Despite the fact that the term ‘carbon footprint’ did not yet exist, what was immediately visible to the duo were carbon emissions, water miles and piles of non-recyclable glass and plastic bottles. Thus, an idea was conceived which aimed to change the way drinking water was obtained and served in restaurants, hotels and boardrooms across the globe.

Vivreau’s Table Water Bottling System is a mains-fed drinking water dispensing system, manufactured in the UK, which dispenses unlimited quantities of filtered chilled still and sparkling water at the point of source and can be served in reusable Designer glass bottles. This system is currently in place in 1000’s of businesses around the world.

Vivreau’s Designer glass bottles, also manufactured in the UK, are fully reusable and entirely dishwasher safe. These sleek and stylish bottles can be branded and different bottle designs can be chosen to suit a particular décor scheme. Available in 750ml and 425ml sizes, the latter is favoured for optimum eco-friendliness where water wastage can also be reduced.

Pioneered by Stephen and his father, the Table Water Bottling System concept quickly became appealing as a business opportunity, with several large contemporary companies offering Vivreau water to their clients. Effectively, this highlights that Vivreau’s mission to change the face of table water has been extremely successful, and has played a crucial part in increasing sustainability across a range of industries. Vivreau’s values are at the heart of each and every system worldwide.

Dubbed the ‘Eco Warrior’ by peers in the 90’s, Stephen Charles turned his passion into a business opportunity, championing the first ever Table Water Bottling System as a way of solving a worldwide problem.

“Nobody had ever done this before and we had a very tough audience”, Stephen recalled. “At the time, the mains-fed water cooler industry had yet to make any impact in the UK, coupled with the country just recovering from recession”. Despite this, Stephen and his father, helped by his mother, Sue, doing the books, ploughed ahead with the new venture. They built a machine sourced from components and sold it to a small Indian restaurant in Wembley. In an apprentice-style move, they took the proceeds from the sale, built and sold two more machines and so on. Now, these systems take pride of place in a range of businesses from five star hotels and Michelin starred restaurants to large corporate offices across the globe.
Vivreau’s product portfolio does not end at bottling systems. The brand continues to develop new solutions for the supply of purified water, in order to adapt to a variety of commercial requirements, minimising unnecessary environmental costs associated with pre-bottled mineral waters.

vivrea2The Vi tap was created to address the issue of efficiency, and is capable of dispensing instant boiling hot and cold still and sparkling perfectly filtered water at the touch of a button, all from one beautifully-designed tap. Possessing sleek aesthetics to complement technologically advanced functions, it is suitable for a range of outlets and establishments due to its small footprint. Robust enough to deal with high demand, with an energy saving option and zero splash, the Vi tap is an asset of efficiency in a multitude of hospitality and corporate environments.

Innovation is at the heart of all of Vivreau’s systems; a value which was central to the creation of LinkLine, which consists of one centrally located Master Control Unit which distributes chilled still or sparkling filtered water to any outlet within a building (over any number of floors), which is re-circulated continuously to eradicate the risk of stagnant water. LinkLine has been proven to be up to 55% more efficient than individual units, as well as up to 45% more cost-effective. This idea was soon adopted by a whole host of leading global businesses.

Based in Greenford, just outside London, Vivreau today employs over 70 people, with a further distribution and printing set-up in Barnsley. Stephen stated “It’s very important to us as a business and to me personally to support British manufacturing whenever possible.” The company has gone from being a small, privately owned UK company, to a serious international player with operations in North America, South Africa, Australasia and several countries across Europe and is now a key part of the Brita Group. Tel: 020 8813 4895 Email:


The future of vending in the FM world

Here John Broad from British tea and coffee merchant Ringtons Beverages explores the considerations Facilities Managers should take into account when looking to install vending solutions.

When it comes to deciding which hot drink solution is appropriate for a business’ needs, the Facilities Manager has firstly got to consider the reason for installation.  Does the solution need to be profit generating i.e. drinks are sold, or is it installed as a service for colleagues and visitors?

No matter which solution, the business needs to consider whether to manage and operate the contract in-house or enter into a contract with a vending operator who will stock, clean and manage any money (if applicable) on a daily basis, or however often the contract stipulates.  This is applicable whether it is free vending or drinks are being charged for.

As you will appreciate it is more expensive for a fully managed service so the decision for the FM is – does the business have staff available to stock and clean the machine or is a hassle-free solution the requirement?

As one of the UK’s leading suppliers of tea, coffee, catering equipment, machinery and catering supplies for the food service industry and business, Ringtons Beverages supplies products for  use in vending equipment as well as table top coffee machinery and custom built workstations such as self-service coffee towers which can be constructed to a customer’s specific requirements and available space.

Vending operators are continually looking to trade up in quality – similarly to other areas within the coffee industry – as their customers’ knowledge and taste expectations continue to grow.  In order to meet this demand there has been great development and innovation in the past few years in the style/ appearance and quality of the equipment and the quality of drinks dispensed.

Ringtons Beverages has seen a much greater demand for premium quality espresso bean and fresh loose leaf tea offering.  This now tends to be the preferred option rather than machines serving instant coffee and instant tea which was the norm in years gone by.  Premium quality disposable cups and other premier ancillaries also tend to have replaced the thin cream plastic cups.

Increasingly popular are fresh-brew machines and bean-to-cup machines which use fresh coffee beans and grinds them to order to produce a fresh and superior quality coffee.  Although this machinery and the coffee itself can cost a little more than instant coffee you can consequently charge more for a cup – it’s fairly common practice to charge upward of £1.00 for a good quality vending machine beverage, which gives a great return on a cup which can cost as little as 15p.  Some systems even use fresh milk and loose tea so you get an even higher standard of product.

As beverage selection, equipment and the fittings in which vending equipment is placed are so specific to individual needs it is always advisable to seek advice from a third party as to what would work best for particular circumstances, reason for installation, audience and available floor space.

Added benefit

Some companies believe the power of a good cuppa is so strong that installing equipment for staff alone will make a direct positive impact on the business itself.  It can be argued that providing quality beverages on-site for staff reduces the number of employees leaving the building and buying coffee elsewhere which many businesses find reduces downtime as staff aren’t leaving the building for as long, or at all, and are therefore not losing momentum.  It can also be demoralising to be given terrible coffee at work so small tweaks to the offering can make a huge difference to staff morale.

One company from Newton Aycliffe has invested in good quality vending equipment and products via Ringtons Beverages and has benefitted from the installation of two top quality Cimbali M1 machines which use fresh milk.  Managers saw the value in rewarding staff with free tea and coffee from this top quality equipment.  On average they find employees consume around two cups per day which does not equate to a huge outgoing for the company and the reward they received in terms of employee productivity, loyalty and satisfaction are believed to be worth the investment.

Another caterer client of Ringtons Beverages even upgraded all of their equipment, Point of Sale signs and cups and replaced their Costa tea and coffee with Ringtons to boost the quality of their tea and coffee offering – they believe the quality boost has meant sales have risen.


Cheers to the World Cup!

With football fever soon to sweep the nation, be prepared to serve fans with thirst-quenching beverages during the game and stock up with cups and tumblers from Huhtamaki.

Help customers cool off during the heat of the match and serve refreshing cold drinks in Huhtamaki’s CE Marked plastic tumblers.  Featuring the official Government CE stamp, staff can rest assured that they will be serving legal measures time-after-time and customers will be happy that they are being served the full pint or half pint too!  Choose to serve “To Brim” or “To Line” fill, whatever suits you and your customers best.

Offering a safe, shatterproof alternative to glassware, these tumblers are perfect for outdoor drinking too – whether that’s when watching the game on a big screen in a beer garden, or just enjoying a bevvie whilst it’s half time!  BioWare CE Marked pint and half pint “To Line” tumblers, made from PLA, are also available – a great choice for environmentally conscientious operators.

Huhtamaki also have a range of paper cold cups available, which come in 9oz 12oz, 16oz and 22oz sizes.  Custom printing of the cups can easily be done using Huhtamaki’s in-house design team, so promoting a competition or company name could not be simpler!

All these disposable products are environmentally friendly and fully recyclable.  The CE Marked tumblers are made from Recycled RPET– a material derived from Post-Consumer Recycled material (like carbonated and water PET bottles) – and the paper cold cups are made from 100% PEFC* (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certified paper which provides assurance that the material in the final products can be traced back to a sustainable source.

Stock up on your disposables and call Huhtamaki on 02392 512434 or visit!

*PEFC is an international, non-profit organisation promoting sustainable forest management, for further information please visit