The vending business is attractive to entrepreneurs because it provides flexible hours and the ability to make the business as big or as small as meets your needs. It also offers the ability for a semi-absentee business which is attractive to many entrepreneurs.
The first step in creating a profitable vending business is to choose the right location. A vending machine that no one sees cannot generate any revenue. If you are considering starting a vending machine business, this is what you need to know about selecting profitable locations.
In the vending business, as in the real estate market, success is all about location, location, location. A profitable business begins with choosing the right locations, which involves some research and some legwork to evaluate traffic, study your competition and secure permission from property owners.
So, just what are some of the best locations for vending machines? Every site a vending operator considers should be evaluated individually, but these are ten of the most ideal locations to pursue.
Businesses with 50 or more employees are great locations for vending machines. Employees get hungry and thirsty throughout the day and vending machines provide options for people who don’t pack drinks, snacks or lunches for themselves, which in today’s busy world, includes most people.
Apartment complexes are a flurry of activity with people constantly coming and going 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Many complexes also have laundry rooms, common areas, playgrounds and parks, party rooms, or gyms. These are great locations for vending machines since all members of the community have access to those spaces and many residents utilize those areas on a regular basis. One or more locations on the property can be ideal spots to place vending machines with a wide selection of food and beverage products.
Hospitals never close. They are open 24/7, 365 days a year. They also offer three very distinct types of buyers. For patients, vending can offer a nice treat and break from traditional food. Caretakers and staff love the convenience and choices provided from vending machines–they also don’t have time to leave the facility to go to restaurants. Finally, guests that are visiting and caring for loved ones often turn to vending machines for a quick snack so they can spend more time with loved ones. Being open 24/7 with multiple shifts, and multiple buyers is the ideal combination for vending machine profits.
Hotel guests are captive audiences. Even if a hotel has a restaurant, not every guest wants a full meal or wants to pay for a full meal. Some hotels have micro-markets, but those are typically in the lobby and not every guest wants to make the trip for a quick snack – especially if they can grab one on their floor. Placing vending machines in the lobby, side entrances and ice machine areas can be a great way to generate continuous revenue.
People who go to gyms work up an appetite and post-workout they don’t necessarily want to stop at the drive-through next door, they want something healthy. Gyms and fitness centers are ideal locations for vending machines that offer healthy snacks and drinks that can help people refuel after working up a sweat. The employees who work there also appreciate a vending machine with healthy options, since they are typically hourly workers who only receive short breaks.
Students are busy – and they have healthy appetites. Schools, community colleges and universities are a flurry of activity every single day. Vending machines in the right locations on a school property can be an excellent source of revenue as hundreds of people pass by every day who are in a hurry, who are likely hungry and who want a quick snack while they do work between classes or are in a hurry to get to class. Schools are particularly ideal for vending machines that sell healthy products because parents and administrators want to ensure students have access to better options than chips, cupcakes and sodas during the day.
College dorms are also excellent spots for vending machines. Students stay up late and they don’t always want to run out for a snack while they are up working or hanging out with their friends. It’s easy to go to a vending machine – especially if the machine can be programmed to take bank cards, credit cards or even school meal plan cards.
For more information on SNBC's smart vending machines and the customizable smart lockers behind them, visit our official website.