• Beverage, Snack and Food Vending Machines
  • Tori Reneker
Beverage, Snack and Food Vending Machines

Helpful Tips & Useful Information

Soda & Snack Machines: You can expect to spend $2,000 to $12,000 for new equipment, per machine, depending on the sophistication of the machines. Generally in vending the more you spend for a machine, the more you reap and the greater potential payoff. Location is always a big factor in any machine you choose to operate and service.

Cold drinks are the largest product segment for vending. New age averages, updated packaging, new equipment, and international opportunity indicate continued growth.

Snacks are and will continue to be one of the most popular types of vending.

Frozen food vending is a tool that will enable vending operators to eliminate manual food service while offering more food choices.


Categories: Hot Drinks, Cup-Cold Drinks, Canned-Cold Drinks, Bottled Drinks, Juice or Milk. Each category usually has its own specialty vending machine. Cold canned drinks (according to most industry surveys) are the biggest dollar volume for vending in the US today! The costs of the machines are higher, but most Americans are drinking 1-4 cans per day. Volume is increasing!

Bottled drinks are growing in popularity and some manufacturers have machines with the ability to vend both cans & bottles. One of those machines is the Seaga 18-6 Combo Vending Machine. This flexible machine features 18 different selections of candy, chips, pastries, snack bars, cookies and other snack options plus 6 different beverage choices in a space saving format. In many locations the withdrawal of cigarette machines creates new space for a variety of beverage machines.

Bottled water can be offered through current soda machines or a free standing water vending machine. Usual cost is .95-$1.50 cents per bottle. "Spring water" is a good seller.

Cold Beverages constitutes the largest portion of the vending business and placement of machines continues to grow! When purchasing your cold drink machines, check the compressor and all parts especially if buying used or refurbished. New equipment usually has a warranty with the contract. The product cost should be in the range of 50% and you should have more sales if keeping only top name brand soft drinks.

Automatic hot & cold cup beverage machines require more intricate service. You need to purchase condiment products such as cups, stir sticks, etc. Clean the inside and outside of machines regularly. They also require water hook-ups and the right mix for coffee. Seek advice from manufacturer or distributor for finding out all the service involved for a particular machine.


Categories: Salty Snacks, Nuts, Chocolate Candy, Non Chocolate Candy, Cookies, Crackers, Pastry, Filled Crackers, Snack Bars, Hard Rolled Candy and Gum. All categories are usually vended out of one vending machine.

We have found through our research, on the average, an employee, on a given workday, will consume 1 to 4 snacks per day. When shopping for a good snack location, consider the amount of employees, how many shifts and if the company is open 8-12 or 24 hours. How many convenience stores in the local area (competition). You can calculate the approximate amount of sales you might receive in a day.

Important Tip: Keep in mind snacks do get outdated. Make sure that you are supplying the location with the type of snacks they will consume. CHECK PRODUCT EXPIRATION DATES OFTEN!

Be sure to load your machine with a wide variety of fresh product. The more choices the customer has, the more they will buy. Do not leave any rows on the shelf empty! Fill all shelves front to back. Make price promotions a part of your marketing plan. In the snack or food machines, focus on one or two spots where promoted items will appear. You can discount up to 20%. Don't discount new items. Don't discount your biggest sellers.

Public Health Considerations for New Vending Businesses

As you consider entering the vending business, one aspect you must not overlook is the regulating of your business by the health department with regards to the health aspects of vending food and beverages. Sanitation has a direct bearing on a vending company's survival, and success. It is an essential component of any vending business. Should you have any questions about the public health aspects of the vending industry, please contact the NAMA Health, Safety and Technical Standards Department.


Categories: Hot, Cold or Frozen. (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner?) Each category has its own specialty vending machine. Water and Fruit vending machines are growing in popularity, with the more health conscious consumer. Along with fat free or low fat snacks and foods. Keep in mind when considering what type of vending, foods have a shorter "shelf life" and become outdated.

Breakfast Foods: There is an opportunity to grow the breakfast business, which currently stands somewhere between 10 to 30 percent of all vend food sales. People do not have the time to take 30 minutes for breakfast. They tend to take an 8 minute breakfast or purchase from a vend machine in one. Bagels have grown in popularity, and the sausage/biscuit combo. The best breakfast customers are those working long hours and extra shifts.

Cold Foods: There has been an increase in cold food machines sell. What cold food does is give the locations more say in what products are served to their employees, and gives the vendor an opportunity to vend snacks and beverages. Popular cold food products: burgers, salad sandwiches, and ethnic foods like burritos, pizzas and Italian sandwiches are in demand. You may want to have a 90 day trial with an account once equipment has been installed, and offer the use of a microwave in break rooms to heat the food.

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    Tori Reneker

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