By John Broderick, MD of Brodericks
Vending visionary John Broderick takes a look at how the once-forgotten vending machine has moved from the shadows and now takes centre stage in many organisations as it comes of age with contemporary aesthetics, a new varied snacking offering, income generation potential and a sense of purpose that goes way beyond its old distress purchase image.
“Who would have thought back in the day that anyone, anywhere would have positioned vending machines as a state of the art, must-have item for interior design in the built environment of the 21st century? To the facilities management teams of 20 or 30 years ago, this would have seemed just as improbable as the return of vinyl records on Generation Z Christmas wish lists!
Not only has the humble vending machine undergone a complete style makeover, with a 21st century contemporary look, but it also has a new sense of purpose as now it’s playing an important role in income generation, boosting workplace morale and keeping the workforce healthy with a whole new approach to snacking options. It’s also providing valuable, real time data on purchasing patterns for the host company and those snacking super brands and artisans whose wide-ranging products are stocked in these sleek, new streamlined style statements.
For many years it would probably be fair to say that vending machines had little aesthetic appeal: typically they were something of a Cinderella item, often disregarded, an afterthought hidden away from view in stairwells and dark corners of the workplace, hospitals, taxi firms or railway platforms. These (usually) off-white or beige and brown boxes were viewed as mere utility items at best and not famed for their good looks or impressive functionality.
Not only were they considered rather dull and uninspiring to look at, they didn’t contribute positively to the company’s interior design and décor or the overall corporate image as they were just there to dispense sugary distress purchases.
However, the professionals responsible for today’s corporate interiors have woken up to the potential for us to get vending trending and there has been a huge upsurge of interest in vending machine design and workplace refreshment as a whole, as well as a distinct step-change in the role of the vending machine.
Undoubtedly, today’s vending machines look good, they’re glossy, glass-fronted, boast SMART technology and come in varying sizes and colourways. The 21st century vending machine – with its uncluttered lines, futuristic fascias, potential for wide screen point-of-purchase advertising, company intranet broadcasts and healthy snack ranges – is completely in step with the lifestyle and design preferences of millennials, a whole new generation of consumers of food on the move.
Technological advancements have been incorporated into the overall appearance of the vending fleet and the visually-arresting, interactive wide screens on the new-generation SMART vending machines have wide-ranging potential applications.
Desktop ordering facilities, whilst introduced primarily for the consumer’s convenience have had the additional benefit of reducing congestion in the communal areas of the workplace and has been a boon for time-poor employees and visitors.
Innovation through technology has gone one step further for Broderick’s customers as we’ve developed Media Vend a bespoke advertising channel that enables vending brands to synch their ad campaigns with social media announcements, promotions and seasonal product offerings, whilst offering big win competitions and compelling promotions for employees. We’ve also launched the first vending app in the industry!
SMART vending machines have brought excitement and immediacy in communication, with their ability to deliver staff intranet messages or hot news of big brand promotions, competitions and TV advertisements. The wide screen presence provides a focal point in foyers and break out areas, adds a splash of colour and vibrancy to communal and staff areas, but obviously this broadcast channel doesn’t necessarily have to be turned on in all areas of the workplace.
The vending machine now has a well-earned place, front of house in our workplaces and destination venues, contributing positively to the interior design landscape. Not only has the vending machine itself undergone a complete style makeover, it has moved centre stage in the receptions and staff- break out areas of the country’s major corporates, public sector employers and forward- looking SMEs, whilst embracing the very latest technology to seize its rightful place at the heart of the host company’s hub spots and corporate flagship sites.
Of course the vending estate’s good looks need to be complemented by a varied snacking offering for discerning employees and visitors. There’s an increasing demand to ensure that their snacking options reflect the move towards healthy eating.
This has taken off amongst many healthcare providers (and private sector employers too) who have embraced the need to provide their staff with sustaining snacks that are better for their health than the sugar- drenched confectionery of yesteryear.
Broderick’s response to the demand for variety in snacking options is the Broderick’s Better for You concept that features a handpicked combination of big brand and artisan offerings housed in the very latest vending machines.
So, whilst the 21st century vending machine has had a major style makeover helping to create a favourable first impression in foyers at flagship locations up and down the country, it has also looked beyond its design aesthetics to provide an exciting range of snacking options whilst working hard to provide revenue generation and valuable data to host companies and snacking brands alike! The Cinderella of the workplace is now the star of the show!”