The Low Hanging Fruit

Quick… name a school that doesn’t need more money?

Yes, it is a pretty obvious trick question… as there are no schools that don’t need more funding. The Herculean challenges of providing the greatest education value for the lowest tax funding prompt an endless search for grants, savings and additional revenue streams. We want to offer an avenue that more and more schools are discovering to their significant advantage:  Point of Sale integrated, school customized automatic merchandising retail computers… or the somewhat more common definition: Hi-tech vending machines that can sell reimbursable meals and snacks, healthy ala carte 24-7 and even school supplies.

The cost-benefit valuation is quite extreme… with benefits including more meal sales, substantial but healthy food and beverages access to students after they finish their afternoon extra-curricular activities, keeping them safe on campus, and a new revenue stream that can add tens of thousands of new net income to a single school. There are even educational benefits available such as using Special Education students for restocking or an FFA, DECA or FBLA school chapter to either partner with Food Services of operate these automatic computerized healthy school stores independently.

The foundational reason why a school earns at least 500% more from self-operation of specialty school vending machines (as opposed to the traditional tiny commissions from an outsourced vending company) is that schools don’t suffer with all the expenses of an outsourced vending company. Schools get the keep the income a vending company would have used to pay for their:

•  Off-campus warehouse & warehouse personnel

•  Those $45,000 route trucks and the route drivers with all their labor costs

•  The fuel, maintenance, insurance for this warehouse, vehicles and personnel

•  The owner’s profits

•  The federal & state income taxes that vending company would have to pay.

All of those expenses become school profits when school vending services are internalized… just like Food Services, facilities maintenance, IT management, etc.

That significant difference is only the beginning. It gets better. One of the problems with using an outsourced vending service is that their machines will have to be at least 50% empty before they can even afford to send people to restock them. Their profit is directly related to how much money is collected each time they restock. If the machine is empty, then they make a very high profit in relation to their restocking costs. Yet this is extremely inconvenient to the students and staff at the school being serviced so poorly. Schools can restock their own machines as frequently as needed with little or no cost, such as offering students the job credits for restocking the school vending machines. This is why schools who self operate their vending machines enjoy far higher sales than the outsourced vending machines they replaced… simply because they are restocked more regularly.

Another very significant issue is that no outsourced vending company is going to offer fresh, perishable foods in their vending machines. Yet school operated machines can easily put fresh, cafeteria baked cookies and muffins into their vending machines. They can easily sell for a lot less due to the lower product cost compared to commercially packaged cookies and muffins that cost double and carry a far higher carbon footprint due to the vast distances these products must travel to get into the school vending machines. Why not sell fresh cut fruit cups (with a taped spoon) or fresh fruit yogurt parfaits, cereal, six inch subs or Jamwiches/Uncrustables or sandwich wraps or your own trail mix recipe in a sealed bag? We will even give you a free packaging system.

We’re still not done with the significant reasons why schools can so dramatically increase their vending income by self-operation. You can integrate your vending machines with your School Lunch POS program so that students and staff don’t even need cash to buy healthy, substantial food, snacks and beverages. Experience documents that this cash-free payment option not only doubles school vending sales but also speeds up the lunch lines as this bleeds off ala carte only student customers who are willing to wait in line to use their parents money.

The impressive advantages for school self-operated vending is low hanging fruit just waiting for harvest. We can even offer a very popular municipal lease/purchase option that doesn’t require any deposit, an annual cancellation privilege at budget renewal points, no prepayment penalties, and no ballon payment at the conclusion of the lease to own the machine. We even have local technicians in every market that will set up each machine, train those who will operate the machines and provide support when and if needed.  This is truly a “low hanging fruit” income, nutrition and education opportunity.

POS integrated vending frequently increases total Food Service sales in a school by 15-20% annually. Click here to get started!