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.
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:
- Does the vending machine accept alternative payment? Machines with everything from note loaders to Apple Pay facilities are now a reality.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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!