Last February, more than 110 million people tuned in to watch the New England Patriots claim a Super Bowl win over the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Technology played an important role in the event-notably the drone technology light display that took place during the halftime show.
Fifteen years ago, it was fairly uncommon to find SWAT teams and EMS partnering together to train for active shooter scenarios, says Sergeant Fred Meyer, SWAT team lead with the Greeley Police Department (Colo.). But events that have taken place over the last few years have led Greeley PD to do just that.
In July, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund released preliminary data revealing that in 2017 thus far, six law enforcement officers died of job-related ailments where they collapsed or suffered a cardiac event. The correlation between heart problems and police work has been studied for years.
Years ago, chiefs of police could select a uniform for the entire department in a decision that could take less than a day, says Captain Brian White of the Wichita (Kan.) Police Department. Now, that's no longer the case. Today this process takes many voices, multiple options, and plenty of time and patience to get the right fit.
Natural disasters can impact a community in a matter of minutes. Whether it's a tornado, a hurricane, flooding, a snowstorm or a wildfire, they are oftentimes unexpected and calamitous. As first responders, law enforcement have the unique job of running towards an emergency rather than away from it, even if their own home or family is impacted by the disaster.
Earlier this fall, McDonald's announced that it plans to purchase all of its coffee from sustainable sources by 2020. It's a growing movement in the coffee industry as consumers become increasingly concerned about the origins of their foods and beverages, and the quick service giant isn't the first U.S.
One of the biggest concerns voiced by operators in the vending and micro market industry is the rate of turnover amongst route drivers. Hiring and training route drivers is a tedious process every operator knows too well; it's an investment of time...
I once heard that taking three consecutive days off of working out is equivalent to losing two weeks of training. I'm not sure if that's true, but it feels that way these days. It was just three short months ago that I was crossing the finish line of Ironman Wisconsin - a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run.
Automatic Merchandiser's third annual Pros to Know is a compilation of this year's top individuals and teams who are leading initiatives to help their companies and the industry overcome challenges and succeed in an ever demanding marketplace. The award highlights those who promote industry innovation and growth.
When you start training for an Ironman triathlon, one of the first things you will read and hear about is the importance of nutrition. Former Ironman finishers have cautioned, "No matter what kind of shape you're in, nutrition can make or break your Ironman success."
There's a lot to learn by looking outside of the industry for ideas on how to enhance the micro market segment. In fact, since the inception of micro markets, operators have been told to think of this new concept as a small retail store, quite unlike the vending machine.
"Why wouldn't we do it?" That was what Rod Nester, president of Clarinda, IA-based Smith Vending thought when he was approached with the idea to place micro markets in 2013. Micro markets were unique in that they could allow for a greater number and variety of SKUs, they accepted promotions and loyalty features and they created a unique consumer shopping experience.
This weekend I became an Ironman. As I completed the last mile of the race around the Wisconsin State Capitol, I reflected on the journey - the snowy runs on the pavement, the early mornings at the pool, the long evening bike hill repeats, the achy muscles and missed family events...the list goes on.
When I first got into biking I made the mistake all amateurs do: When I came across a hill I would power up it to keep my speed. If I approached a hill at 16 mph, I would try and maintain that speed until the top and coast down.
Have you happened to notice throngs of teenagers standing or walking together with their phones out at a park recently? Or have you - in the last few weeks - witnessed adults running down the sidewalk with their phones stretched out in front of them?
There's no doubt that Millennials already influence a great deal of change in the workplace. Specifically, companies are turning to more gourmet food and beverage options, offering a more flexible work/life balance, and even reformatting the in-office workplace to include more collaborative spaces.
All runners understand the importance of volunteers and spectators at races. Volunteers set up cones and help put together the start and finish line. They fill dozens - sometimes hundreds - of cups of water and Gatorade, and they pick up just as many empty cups off the side of the street.
These days, the food discussion seems to be centered around snacking. It's not hard to see why. Nearly 94 percent of Americans snack at least once per day, while 50 percent snack two to three times per day, according to reports from Mintel.
Consumers are moving to espresso-based beverages and it's the younger generations driving this shift, according to new research published by the National Coffee Association (NCA). In its recent National Coffee Drinking Trends report, the NCA found that daily consumption of espresso-based beverages has tripled since 2008.
In just a few years, the micro market segment has gone from non-existent to driving nearly 9 percent of overall vending operation revenues. And it continues to grow. In fact, NAMA and Technomic research in 2015 predicted that there are nearly 9,000 locations in the U.S.
Located near Silicon Valley, Associated Services has had to be as innovative as the companies it serves.
When Arizona duo Mike and Jodi Glimpse started their Phoenix-based vending business back in 2005, Jodi remembers other vending operators asking her why - why vending? "We were bright-eyed, new to the industry and full of energy to get our business off the ground and running," said Jodi.
Vitality Vending is doing a lot to change the face of vending, one location at a time. The small, 5-year-old vending company located in Essex Junction, VT, focuses on each individual location's needs. The planograms for each vending machine change frequently based on what the account is purchasing and what new items Brent Farrell, Vitality Vending's owner, has brought in to try.
Tom Murn, CEO of The Answer Group, is a self-proclaimed "techie." He ensures that the NY-based vending company is not only up-to-date on technology trends, but is also leading the industry with cutting-edge technology solutions. The company has always worked closely with equipment manufacturers to respond to consumer purchasing behavior trends and it prides itself on being the first in the U.S.
Five Star Food Service, Inc. is a rarity in the business world. It is a company that does it all and does it well. In just over twenty years the Canteen franchise has grown as a leader in vending, micro markets, office coffee service and dining. Five Star...
Fifteen miles north of the Alabama border sits Fayetteville, TN, a small city with big ideas. Fayetteville produced notable sports figures Anthony Shelton and Bob Higgins. It boasts the slogan Where tradition meets tomorrow. It is also home to Lincoln County Vending. Not all businesses have personality, but Lincoln County Vending does.
Investing in vending technology can be expensive and intimidating. There is never a guarantee that the investment will bring better margins, but in 2008, All Star Services took a technological leap of faith and hasn't looked back.
Cromer Food Services is not your typical vending company. Located on 40 sprawling acres of South Carolina hills, Cromer Food Services has grown from 6 to 600 customers, 1 to 90 employees and 1 to 27 vending routes in just a little over three decades.
Chad Liedman wants his company to grow and be competitive with the big guys. That's what he decided when he bought All Star Vending & Coffee Service from his grandfather in 2011. Liedman updated many things, such as the company's logo, its tagline and its Website, keeping in mind his ambition for growth while maintaining the same level of service his grandfather's customers came to expect.
At Piedmont Vending located in Conover, N.C., Vending Operations Manager Jeff Annas counts on his route drivers to get the job done, and in particular, he counts on route driver Mike Hill. Hill's enthusiasm and commitment to the job has made him the 2014 first quarter Route Driver of the Year winner.
Let's just say it runs in the family. For Elyssa Allahyar-Steiner, the vending industry is in her blood. Growing up as the daughter of Chris Allahyar, director of vending for AdvancePierre Foods, Allahyar-Steiner found her passion and place in the industry early on.
Mike Edwards loves his job as a route driver for the opportunity to meet new people and try new products. Edwards, who began his vending career nearly two decades ago, has worked for Greensboro Vending & Coffee for fourteen years.
Driven, dedicated, excellent and consistent - just a few words used by Mike Cohrac, general manager for Canteen Refreshments - Philadelphia to describe route driver Joseph Si-Salem. At an early age, Si-Salem's father said, "If you don't love your job, find one you do."
Jim Patterson's family had been in the vending and OCS industry his entire life, yet he wasn't always sure that working in the industry was what he wanted to do for a career. His grandfather started Patterson Co., Inc. (PCI) in 1939 and his father joined the company in 1956.
One of the most important aspects of Lynn Robles' job as a distributor is watching trends. Robles, the 2013 Readers' Choice Distributor of the Year, said with the increasing use of micro markets and better-for-you products, this is an exciting time for the vending industry.
When Steve Brehm, president of Minnesota-based Berry Coffee Company, first heard about micro markets, he was intrigued. It was a segment that would allow him to provide a food option to the locations he was already serving with OCS, but without having to get into vending.
From traditional cold brew coffee to espresso-based ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages, the demand for refreshing and chilly coffee is skyrocketing. Mintel estimated that from 2014 to 2015, retail sales of cold brew coffee grew 115 percent and according to Bloomberg the U.S. ready-to-drink coffee market has been growing by double digits since 2011.
Each year Automatic Merchandiser asks readers to vote for their favorite, most-requested and/or best-selling products in the vending, micro market and office coffee service industry. Items submitted to the competition range from the newest vending machine technology that can create efficiencies to consumers' favorite new snacks and beverages.
Breakfast is in fierce competition for the consumer dollar. Mintel reported that it expects breakfast to grow to $35 billion by 2018 and Julian Mellentin, author of the new report The snackification of breakfast: How changing consumer habits are creating new opportunities said, "Breakfast has become one of the most fought-over battlegrounds in food and health, a battle fueled by consumers' need for easy and quick meals in the morning."
In 2014, nearly one in four vending operators added micro markets, according to Automatic Merchandiser. Most operators witness higher sales in micro markets due to more fresh food options and better profit margins. But operators are also finding higher micro market sales in a surprising area: coffee service.
Back in January of 2011, VendingMarketWatch reported that coffee prices in the U.S. had reached their highest level in thirteen years. Those 2011 prices encouraged producers to invest in and expand production. Now, three years later, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is reporting a coffee surplus.
New products are the variety consumers crave. Variety in foodservice generates sales. That's why every year, Automatic Merchandiser and VendingMarketWatch.com ask readers to vote for their best-selling new products from the prior year. As one might expect many of the winners are consistent with trends seen in other retail segments.
As the old adage goes, it is better to be safe than sorry. Business owners should be prepared for the worst, especially in an industry where there are many liabilities. This means having the proper insurance coverage in the event of an accident or catastrophe.
Vehicles can't be overlooked as an important business decision. In an industry where goods and services are transported via delivery vehicle, trucks and vans are just as important as warehouse space; nowadays, operators are beginning to view the vehicle as a more specialized investment.
This year's NAMA OneShow was rife with talk of mobile payments, mobile applications and Smartphones. It's no secret that operators are looking to try something new, that much can be seen with the integration of micro markets over the years.
New research on the effects of chewing gum continually provides positive results. The American Dental Association linked chewing sugar-free gum to decreased tooth decay and stronger enamel. In addition, a recent study debunked the theory that gum chewing decreased short-term memory performance; on the contrary, the study confirmed that chewing gum helped participants maintain focus for longer periods of time.
The saying "Think Global, Act Local" now relates to coffee. Last year in our State of the Coffee Service Industry report we introduced a new OCS sales product category for local coffee brands, based on early indicators that this was a growing category.
Gourmet coffee isn't exclusive to high-end coffee houses anymore. Premium coffees are becoming more widely available in restaurant, hospital and at-home environments, among others. Consequently, more consumers are demanding higher-quality coffee, and they want it offered in their places of work.
For anyone who has worked in the restaurant industry (or retail for that matter), it's usual to ask or be asked, "Well what do you recommend?" Just last week I was at a café and couldn't decide on what sandwich to buy. The person behind the...
Recently, a vending operator contacted VendingMarketWatch and Automatic Merchandiser to see if we had information regarding vending machine thefts. What types are most prevalent, what types of people steal from a vending machine and how to stop them. For anyone who owns an outdoor vending machine, vending thefts, sadly, are not so uncommon.
Mobile payments are a great opportunity for the vending industry. By adding them to vending machines, the operator has a chance to enter the future of payments and reach the consumer in an entirely new and engaging way. There are many mobile payment options for today's vending machines and the specifics of each are represented in a chart here .
The popularity of coffee in the U.S. cannot be ignored. It is a commodity consumed daily by most people, yet other than health aspects, there is relatively little scientific research on the specifics of roasting and brewing coffee. That's why this year the University of California Davis (UC Davis) in Davis, Calif.
National conventions in every industry are great for members, manufacturers and suppliers alike. Conventions give people an opportunity to show off new products, network and educate one another on industry trends and this year it will be no different for exhibitors and attendees at the 2014 NAMA OneShow April 9 to 11 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill.
Just within the last week, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have released their newest models of countertop fountain dispensers, focused around low- and no-calorie options, customized beverages and user engagement. Both companies released these items with the foodservice and vending industries in mind, however, the debate of fountain beverages remains murky.
Some operators are offering micro markets to expand their business offerings while others are implementing more promotions, coupons and discounts. For years operators have been trying new things in order to appeal to a larger number of locations. It is my belief that when operators begin offering additional business features, they open their company up to new partnerships and a wider network.
The breakfast concept is changing. Breakfast isn't just an early daypart segment anymore, as more consumers are eating "traditional" breakfast items long into the afternoon and evening. In fact, research firm Technomic found that 48 percent of consumers say that they enjoy eating breakfast foods at non-traditional times.
It's not an easy job selling coffee service to a new location or getting a current location to switch to a new offering. Industry veterans Janet Conti and Fred Steiner, however, give five tips on how to stand out from the competition and make the sale.
In long distance running, the wisest athletes start out the first half of their run conservatively so that they have enough energy to make it the full distance. Those who begin their race faster than they prepared for more often than not end up burning out before the end of the run.
Finding, hiring and maintaining good employees is a top challenge for all vending operators. That is especially true when it comes to employing long-term, reliable route drivers. Employing satisfactory route drivers is a challenge for a few reasons. Route driving is strenuous work.
You no longer need to travel to Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia or Vietnam to witness how coffee is grown and produced. One farmer has found that Southern California's unique ecosystem and ideal growing conditions made it a quintessential place to grow coffee.
Over the last decade, office coffee service (OCS) operators have witnessed a growing demand for specialty coffee beverage options in the workplace. Studies from the National Coffee Association (NCA) show that consumers today are much more particular about the types of coffee beverages they drink and how those beverages are prepared.
Millennials are moving in and Baby Boomers are moving out. In 2015, Millennials-ages 19 to 36-will be the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, the new majority.
February is the federally-designated American Heart Month. I know, I know, last month I wrote on how January was National Hot Tea Month, too. And while that was a fun blog to write, this one is a little more serious.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that by 2022, 59 percent of the workforce will be comprised of Millennials and Generation Z employees, both of which have evolving expectations of the workplace and different communication styles. As the workforce makeup changes, so too is the workspace itself.
I love Halloween, as it continually brings back nostalgic memories of costumes, candy and scary stories. Even though we're now the ones handing out candy instead of receiving it, Halloween in a professional setting can still be fun.
Did you know that January is National Hot Tea Month? I sure didn't. Not until I saw Dunkin' Donuts' National Hot Tea Month promotion on Twitter. Recently, I've noticed that companies have been using "National (fill in the blank) Month" to turn a profit and they are doing it through online promotions.
It seems as though Christmas ended just yesterday, but here we are, love is in the air and Valentine's Day is just around the corner. There are around eleven federal holidays in the U.S. and that's not even including other holidays and events that excite consumers such as Halloween, Valentine's Day, the Super Bowl and the Olympics (when it comes around).
A few weeks back we ran a news item on VendingMarketWatch about a new piece of legislation called the Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2013 introduced by Representative Frank Pallone, D-N.J. The H.R.
While adding news stories to our Twitter the other day, I saw a tweet that read, "Average people make resolutions, successful ones make decisions." I am a strong believer in New Year's resolutions, because they challenge me throughout the year and give me the little "oomph" needed to try something unique.
In 2013, 83 percent of Americans claimed to be coffee drinkers, up from 78 percent in 2012, according to the National Coffee Association. Coffee is becoming an even more increasingly popular drink in the U.S. as proven by the 5 percent increase of coffee drinkers over one year.
Last month we reported on the types of vandals that cause the vending industry a lot of money and time. In this next post, I'd like to discuss the most common types of vending theft, the process after a theft has occurred and some technology operators...
A few weeks ago I reported on a marketing Webinar that I attended that was all about the importance of branding your business in a social world. I'm going to continue that blog by delving into how video can boost business for the operator.
Traditional offices are becoming less and less 'traditional'. More offices are understanding and supporting a work/life balance. Software analytics company SAS, located in North Carolina, goes above and beyond by providing employees with facilities to swim, get a haircut or go to the doctor.
Single-serve is a fast-rising segment. Packaged Facts expects the overall single-serve market to be worth $5 billion by 2016. Over the past three years, it has steadily made its way into the OCS industry and only continues to grow. In 2013-2014, the single-serve category represented 14 percent of OCS sales.
Healthy vending is here. Turnkey healthy vending companies like HUMAN, Fresh Healthy and Vend Natural are gaining momentum (and locations) because of their ability to offer items that consumers are demanding.
Recently I sat in on a marketing Webinar called Crafting Contagious Content and it was a very powerful session. Jonah Berger, associate professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania discussed several ways to create a "contagious" effect of your marketing efforts on your target audience.
In 2015, Millennials became the largest generation in the workforce. Studies have shown that Millennials differ from other generational groups in that they are more adaptable and keep up-to-date with emerging technology. They are also driving snacking and purchasing trends in retail and our own industry.
Over the last several years, the vending industry has seen more social media oriented vending machines. That's not surprising, as companies are finding ways in which to interweave social media in everyday things.
I've heard that things move slowly in vending. But not in 2014. The industry faced many changes this year; some challenges and some sighs of relief. I had the wonderful privilege of writing VMW's first blog post that brought us into 2014 and now, I finish out the year with our final 2014 blog.
As if the retail and at-home markets weren't enough, toss in yet another competitor for OCS operators: the mojoe™ personal mobile coffee maker. Yesterday, VMW reported on this new product, which is no larger than a conventional travel mug and brews coffee on-the-go anytime, anywhere.
This week Apple, Inc. unveiled its new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in an extravagant affair at the Flint Center in Cupertino, CA. The new iPhones are sleek. They are 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches respectively and are much larger, thinner and faster than today's iPhone 5s.
I have some good news for operators. The perception of the vending machine is changing. Although I am still a newbie to vending, I have noticed over the last year that the machine image has changed - improved for the better. And let me tell you why. I...
In our weekly blogs we have posted ways in which businesses can increase sales through self promotion and social media in the form of pictures, but we never really started from the beginning by having an honest discussion about the internet and how much internet is right for businesses within the industry.
Fall flavors continue to gain popularity and the consumer demand for pumpkin offerings has returned once again. A recent survey found that pumpkin spice is among the top flavors that Americans associate with the fall season. In fact, 34 percent of survey respondents said that pumpkin spice is the leading flavor of fall.
For some, it can be difficult and rather intimidating to manage employees, projects and money, among other things, in business. There is no singular way to manage within a company and there is no specific attitude or personality that all successful leaders encompass.
Now, let me ask you a question...and don't lie: do your patrons know who you are? If you're not sure, then it sounds like you could add some more marketing, and it might be a good idea to start with signage. All businesses can benefit from using...
Longtime industry member Howard Chapman, vice president/division manager of Royal Cup Coffee, talks big ideas with VMW Editor Emily Refermat.
Uploaded by VendingMarketWatch.com on 2015-06-30.