Vending Shopping Habits in Montgomery

Shifting Vending Machine Shopping Habits in Montgomery

Vending Shopping Habits in Montgomery

What was the last pre-COVID item you purchased from a vending machine? Would your choice change if you were to purchase something today? If it would, you aren’t alone. A recent survey performed by Shorr Packaging revealed insights about how U.S. consumers’ purchasing behavior has shifted since the onset of the pandemic.

In addition to traditional food shopping locations, Montgomery employers should also be aware of these shifts as they can also impact how and what employees purchase from break rooms. Even though employers don’t have control over how companies package or label their products, they do have control over which products are offered in break room vending machines. Regularly analyzing purchasing patterns and comparing them to the current break room refreshment menu provides exact data that can be used to create an inviting and engaging break room and keep employees on-site when they need something to eat or drink.

Let’s look at two areas of the survey that are relevant to the break room — COVID related changes and food labels and packaging.

COVID-19 Related Changes

For good or for bad, the pandemic has changed the way Montgomery consumers shop. During the three months prior to the survey being completed, 61 percent of participants agreed that pandemic-related purchasing shifts will change how they shop in the future with 66 percent of those individuals saying they would pay more attention to product labels and packaging. 

Survey participants aren’t only paying more attention to packaging and labels; they are changing the products that they buy. For example, over three quarters of those who purchased brands they were unfamiliar with said they would purchase that brand/item again.

Vending Shopping Habits in Montgomery

Food Labels and Packaging

So, what do consumers look for when choosing a product? Of the different parts on packaging, the ingredient list is considered the most trustworthy followed by the brand or logo, the price, and popular phrases such as fresh, no sugar added, all-natural, whole grain/multigrain, organic, and good source of fiber.

While almost two-thirds of participants were willing to pay more for a snack or beverage with popular labeling phrases, the remaining one-third consciously chose not to purchase items with the same phrases. The key takeaway is to make sure that any vending machine refreshment menu includes options that appeal to everyone.

Automatic Food Service offers Montgomery businesses the opportunity to do just that. We offer a variety of traditional and healthy snacks, cold beverages, and fresh food choices and can customize a vending refreshment menu to fit both your and your employees’ needs. For more information about all our break room services including office coffee service, please give us a call at (334) 264.7336.

Adapting Vending Machines in Montgomery

Vending Machines in Montgomery Keep Adapting

Adapting Vending Machines in Montgomery

2020 has brought about many unforeseen changes, especially in Montgomery break rooms. Whether a break room offered vending machines or a micro-market, refreshment providers have had to adapt. This isn’t, however, the first time that break room equipment has been modified to meet a new need. Since the very first vending machine was developed, individuals have continued to use them to solve a variety of different problems.

Vending Machine History

The concept of a vending machine has been around for a lot longer than most Montgomery residents realize. In fact, the first vending machine was said to have been written about by the mathematician Hero in 215 BC in Ancient Egypt. In this machine, the user placed a coin in the machine and received holy water; a job previously performed by an individual. Here are several important changes that have helped make the vending machine what it is today include:

1888: Tutti-Frutti gum vending machines were installed in a New York City subway station.
1946: The first coffee vending machine was invented.
1950: Refrigerated sandwich vending machines expanded the lunch menu.
1950s – 1970s: located in U.S. airports, vending machines sold life insurance policies covering death, should the buyer’s flight crash.
1961: Canned soft drink vending machines offered customers new beverage options.
1972: Glass-front snack machines were introduced.
1985: Credit/debit card payment devices were introduced.
1987: Frozen food vending machines were introduced.
1991: Flavored coffees, espresso, and cappuccino were introduced in coffee machines.

Today

In the 150+ years since the first fully automatic vending machine was invented, a wide range of products, from practical to crazy, have been sold. In 2020, non-edible options including personal protection equipment (PPE) can be found. The following organizations highlight how vending machines can be converted to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

New Jersey Transit (NJT) has installed vending machines in handful of stations that sell PPE such as face masks, hand sanitizer, sanitized wipes, and disposable gloves to the public. Kevin Corbett, CEO & President of NJ Transit, explained, “We want our customers to trust that we have prepared the safest and cleanest transit system possible for their return and will continue to work hard every day to keep it that way.” 

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) has developed a similar program. Located throughout the campus, vending machines offer masks, hand sanitizer and other protective products at no cost to the students or university employees. The university tracks “purchases” via the school’s id card system, ensuring that everyone can only make one purchase per product per month.

Adapting Vending Machines in Montgomery

As with the new machines at VCU and NJT, vending machines in Montgomery break rooms offer several benefits for employees. Employers can create a customized menu that includes the snacks, beverages, and fresh food their employees want. Not only are a variety of payment options available, including cash and credit/debit cards, but employers can also cover part or all the costs for their employees. In addition, break room vending machines can encourage employees to stay on-site when they need something to eat or drink, reducing person to person contact and the likelihood of coming into contact with COVID-19.

Is your Montgomery break room ready to safely offer sought-after refreshment options? We are here to help you create an inviting and welcoming space that also safely delivers everyone’s favorite snacks, cold beverages, fresh food, and coffee. For more information, please call Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336.

Free Vending Montgomery Break Rooms

Free Vending in Montgomery Offers Multiple Benefits

Free Vending Montgomery Break Rooms

Everyone needs to feel appreciated, including Montgomery employees. Providing free vending in the workplace break room is just one way to express employee appreciation. While each organization in Montgomery has a different culture, there are several things that create a universal feeling of appreciation and are enjoyed by almost everyone.

How to Show Appreciation

The first one applies specifically to the break room. Ask for your employees’ opinions about which snacks, beverages and fresh food they would like to have available for free vending.

Also connected to the break room, would be to survey everyone about the type of environment or vibe they want in their break room. The right combination of refreshments at no cost plus a welcoming environment is sure to encourage employees to stay on-site when they need to re-hydrate or grab a bite to eat. 

The next three ways to show appreciation don’t have to be connected to the break room, but they can be. Offer employees special treats or meals that aren’t usually available in the break room such as ‘Waffle Wednesday’ or ‘Freshly Baked Cookie Friday.’ Donuts from a favorite bakery or popular pizza are also great options.

In the non-food arena, giving employees who have gone above what was expected extra time off acknowledges their effort and time. Not acknowledging their time and effort can silently convey to everyone that they, the employees and their coworkers, receive no benefit for putting in the extra work.

Another way to express appreciation is to perform random acts of kindness. Everyone has heard the story about one person in line purchasing a coffee for the person behind them. To the person who received the coffee, the experience was a random act of kindness. The same can be done for your Montgomery employees. A simple thank you note or someone’s favorite snack are acts of kindness that show appreciation.

Free Vending Montgomery Break Rooms

Why Show Appreciation

At the surface, expressing appreciation for your Montgomery employees improves engagement, retention and motivation, especially during the holiday season. But dig a bit deeper and see a positive impact on employee work/life balance. 

In a recent article published by O.C. Tanner, “Showing gratitude can increase a person’s wellness, increase better sleep habits, increase metabolism and lessen stress. This directly impacts work results and employee interaction. With employee appreciation, you’re not only boosting performance and engagement, but the employee’s well-being and health.”

Drill down a bit further to the core and find that increased appreciation causes more positive interactions which then has even more positive ripple effects moving outward. That sounds like a good thing for everyone.

While Automatic Food Service can’t perform random acts of kindness directly for your Montgomery employees, we can help you customize the perfect break room. Whether it’s free vending, a micro-market or coffee service, your employees will know that you appreciate all that they do. For more information, please call Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336.

vending machine options in Montgomery

Montgomery, Do You Have A Unique Vending Machine Story?

vending machine options in Montgomery

Cabbage, lobster, clothing, gold bars, and champagne are a few of the random items that can be purchased in a vending machine somewhere in the world. In the 150+ years since the first fully automatic vending machine was invented, there have been a wide range of products, some practical and others pretty crazy, sold in different iterations of the machine known as a vending machine.

Let’s take a look at a few super-fun products that are found around the United States today.

Art

Dalton High School in Dalton, GA has come up with a new and innovative way to raise funds for it’s art department’s supplies and materials. Students in the art program design letters, pocket-sized cards, and other artwork that is sold in a vending machine. Placing it in a prominent place, next to beverage and snack vending machines, has helped increase awareness and curiosity. Eventually, the school hopes to place a second machine out in the community.

Soft-Serve Ice Cream

Soft-serve ice cream is usually associated with hot summer days and the beach, but New Yorkers can now buy it anytime of the year. Moxy Times Square, a Marriott Hotels subsidiary, has installed an on-demand soft serve vending machine with a touchscreen video display. The draw? Customers can choose from a variety of traditional and unique flavors such as the spicy Hot Honey Vanilla and top it with just as many unique toppings like the Greek yogurt chips.

vending machine options in Montgomery

Runners’ Gear

Did you happen to run the New York City or Chicago Marathon this past year? If so, you might have seen the digital vending machines that Lululemon, an athletic apparel company, put in their New York City and Chicago stores during the marathons. Each machine offered bottled water, electrolyte-enhanced tablets, bars and energy gels, and emergency supplies such as first-aid kits, sunscreen, and face wipes all for free. That’s right; it didn’t cost a thing!

Candy Converter

This past Halloween, only the lucky few got to experience something we all wished we had as children – a way to swap out the lame candy we got while trick-or-treating for more of the “good stuff.” Anomaly, a New York City advertising agency, developed the Reese’s Halloween Candy Converter, a vending machine that accepts lame candy as currency and swaps the lame candy for peanut butter treats, or the “good stuff.” Now if we could only get one in Montgomery.

While most of us don’t have access to those vending machines, Montgomery has a great alternative. Healthy and traditional snack, beverage, and fresh food vending machines from Automatic Food Services. Keep those employees hydrated and satiated and increase productivity and morale. And don’t forget to offer office coffee service. Whether it’s a traditional coffee service or a cafe-style experience, a delicious cup of coffee or hot tea will brighten almost anyone’s day.

For more information about customizing your Montgomery break room, contact us at (334) 264.7336. We look forward to hearing from you.

Water options in Montgomery

Water, Vending Machines, and Hydration in Montgomery

Water options in Montgomery

Do you drink enough water on a daily basis to meet your health needs? If you’re like 77 percent of a group of recently surveyed, employed Americans, you don’t. The reason given by 43 percent of those individuals was lack of thirst. Before going any further, it is important to make a necessary statement.

If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Staying hydrated is crucial. Hydration not only plays an important role in an individual’s health, but it also impacts how that individual functions. Because dehydration has already occurred before a Montgomery employee realizes that they are thirsty, the negative impact of dehydration has also likely happened.

Mild dehydration has been known to have a negative impact on productivity, energy levels, and alertness. Hydrated employees can also have an impact on workplace productivity. Tony Ibarguen, CEO of Quench recently said, “One inexpensive way to boost productivity is to encourage hydration. Companies that make it easy and convenient for their people to access and drink more water throughout the day may see their employees’ energy levels, engagement and work capacity increase.”

Unfortunately, there are several obstacles that must first be removed if Montgomery employees are going to consume more: lack of time to get water; have to pay for it; and dislike the taste of it at work.

Let’s look at three ways to overcome those obstacles and help employees stay hydrated.

Lack of time to get it

Consider the placement of beverage vending machines throughout your office or facility. In addition to placing vending machines in the break room, also consider placing beverage vending machines in highly trafficked areas. By creating opportunities to get bottled water in areas where employees naturally traverse, those employees are more likely to stop and grab a bottle.

This approach is also backed by science. Researchers at the University College of London found that study participants were more likely to take the path of least resistance when it came to accomplishing a task. So in other words, it’s important to place as few obstacles as possible along the way to get a bottle of water.

Water options in Montgomery

Have to pay for it

While bottleless water coolers that connect directly to the building’s water supply or a filtration system can sometimes be a solution, there are many other situations when that is not an option. A great way to provide bottled water and overcome employees needing to pay for it is to offer it at a reduced cost or for free. Montgomery employees see pantry service as a high-value benefit, but for employers, the cost is much lower than the perceived value.

Dislike the taste of it at work

Yes, it is true. Water has a taste. Recent research published in a monthly scientific journal about neuroscience found that water has a flavor. While researchers believe water’s flavor should be in its own category, they discovered that its flavor is most closely related to the sour flavor category. Given this information, it is important to offer a variety of options from ‘normal’ bottled water to bottled flavored sparkling water. Each one of these will have a unique taste that reflects its specific mineral content or any natural flavors such as fresh fruit that might have been added.

Automatic Food Service can help Montgomery employers overcome all three of these obstacles, and help employees stay hydrated by offering a variety of healthy beverages in vending machines or micro-markets. And don’t forget to offer healthy snacks to go with your employees’ preferred beverage choice. Hydrated and satiated employees are a win for everyone. For more information about adding healthy options to your Montgomery break room, contact us at (334) 264.7336. We look forward to helping your employees stay hydrated.

Vending Machine Choices in Montgomery

Quick and Healthy Snacks in Your Montgomery Vending Machine

Vending Machine Choices in Montgomery

Are you looking for something to eat that is quick and healthy, and can be found in your Montgomery break room vending machine? Whether it’s a quick breakfast, fuel for a lunchtime workout, an afternoon snack, or a sweet treat, a KIND® bar can meet each one of those needs. Each bar is made from nutritionally-dense ingredients and contains no secret ingredients, artificial flavors, preservative or sweeteners. You’ll find nuts, real fruit, chocolate, spicy and savory flavors, and five super grains including oats, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, and quinoa.

And soon, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite KIND® bar with others when you travel around the globe. In a new partnership with Mars, Incorporated, KIND will be able to expand their product offerings and business into international markets while continuing to make healthy and tasty foods available and create a kinder world through meaningful social impact initiatives.  

Daniel Lubetzky, Founder and CEO of KIND, explained it best when he said, “we’re looking forward to continuing on this journey as we empower more people to make healthy eating decisions across the globe. We remain fully committed to our guiding principles, including our commitment to always use a nutritious food as the first and predominant ingredient in every food product.”

Vending Machine Choices in Montgomery

Whether enjoying a vending machine snack in Montgomery or around the world, it’s nice to know that KIND will continue to fulfill its KIND Promise. Employees can continue to count on

  • snacks made from real food, wholesome ingredients, and sound nutrition;
  • nuts, whole grains, or fruit as the first and predominant ingredient;
  • everyone and everything being treated with integrity and kindness;
  • transparency about everything from ingredients to labeling;
  • low amounts of added sugar and no artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols;
  • and tasty and healthy snacks.

An additional way to offer encouragement and support to your Montgomery employees in their quest to be healthy, is to provide a wide range of healthy snacks and beverages in the office break room vending machine. Fresh fruit, unsweetened tea, or bottled water are all great accompaniments to a KIND® bar. Help your employees a bit more by offering those snacks and beverages at a reduced cost or for free. That’s a win for everyone.

To learn more about adding healthy vending machine options to your office break room, call Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336. We look forward to hearing from you.