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The Most Valuable Asset
Issue: Vol. 54, No. 9, September 2014
The rapid growth of the full-line vending industry generally is attributed to the development of hot and cold beverage machines that prepared and delivered high-quality, high-margin coffee and soft drinks quickly at any hour of the day or night, seven days a week. Forward-looking machine manufacturers, imaginative foodservice professionals and pioneering operators recognized the importance of merchandising to overcome patrons' reluctance to buy fresh food from an unattended point of sale... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

When Less Is More
Issue: Vol. 54, No. 8, August 2014
The first practical and widely used vending machines sold gum, often in the guise of "sales stimulators" that allowed patrons to purchase a sample of something for a penny to help them decide whether to buy a quarter-pound of it. The vending machine since has proven to be a very effective tool for getting consumers to try something new before incurring the expense of a major retail rollout... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Market Research As A Byproduct
Issue: Vol. 54, No. 6, June 2014
Digital imaging and pattern recognition technology at the vending machine can be put to good use by tackling the age-old problem of finding out just what a vending patron does when approaching a machine... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

We Need To Talk, And Listen
Issue: Vol. 54, No. 5, May 2014
We recently received an inquiry from an operator who asked whether the new touchscreen customer interfaces for vending machines can be equipped to recognize spoken questions and commands... Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Perils Of Infighting Outweigh The Fun
Issue: Vol. 54, No. 4, April 2014
Several recent news items illustrate a point that we've been making for some time now. A couple of months ago, the well-known discount pharmacy chain CVS announced that it will discontinue selling tobacco products this fall... Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Getting Serious About Career Training
Issue: Vol. 54, No. 3, March 2014
Everyone from President Obama on down is promoting technology as the key to America's future prosperity, and it's hard to disagree with that. What usually is overlooked in the public conversation about technology is that inventing and manufacturing wonderful new things is a very worthwhile endeavor -- but somebody has to know how those things work, and how to repair them when they don't | Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

The Smallest Locations Drink Coffee, Too
Issue: Vol. 54, No. 2, February 2014
The first coffee service operators succeeded by focusing on underserved small locations. That segment still is underserved, and still wants coffee Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Turning Consumers Into Customers
Issue: Vol. 54, No. 1, January 2014
A customer is always right; a consumer is always looking for the lowest price | Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

On The Air
Issue: Vol. 53, No. 12, December 2013
The approach of a new year always brings with it reflections on the past and hopes for the future. There is a good deal to reflect on, as 2013 draws to a close. For example, the implications of the revolution in wireless communications are beginning to sink in... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

This Is Where It Starts To Get Interesting
Issue: Vol. 53, No. 11, November 2013
Most technologies progress through spurts of innovation followed by lulls for assimilation. During the lulls, people who use the new generation of products begin with the features that resemble those of the previous generation -- their processes are set up for those features -- and then begin to explore the possibilities made possible by the new functions. During these periods, there may not be much novelty on display at trade shows, but there is a lot going on... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Imagine If The President Were A Vending Operator
Issue: Vol. 53, No. 10, October 2013
As we consider the present situation in Washington, and the country as a whole, we vividly recall a speech made four decades ago by NAMA chairman Benjamin Montee: "Imagine that you woke up one morning and found that the President of the United States was a vending operator," he said. "And you found that the Vice President, the Senate majority leader and the Speaker of the House of Representatives also were vending operators. Wouldn't you stop and think, 'These vending operators are taking over the world?' Now, substitute 'lawyer' for 'vending operator'..." by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Hanging Together
Issue: Vol. 53, No. 9, September 2013
Around the turn of the millennium, we offered our opinion that a rather long era of legislative and regulatory tranquility was ending. But the assault has been renewed, but not in the manner we expected... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Is 'Better For You' A Category?
Issue: Vol. 53, No. 8, August 2013
Over the years, a number of astute industry observers have warned operators that they are losing sales by declining to put items on their menus that they consider "fads." Even supposing the skeptics to be correct and the item falls out of favor after six months, somebody can be selling a whole lot of it in the meanwhile... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Buyers Guide 2013
Issue: Vol. 53, No. 7, July 2013
The 2013 edition of Vending Times' Buyers Guide is the 42nd in a series of reference tools for vending and coin-op professionals, and for business­--people and researchers outside the industry who are interested in learning about the organizations that serve it. VT's Buyers Guide provides practical lists of equipment, products and services useful to merchandise vending, contract foodservice, coffee service, bulk vending, music and amusements operators, with contact information and summary descriptions... by Nick Montano
Author: Nick Montano

Interaction Only Pays If Patrons Benefit
Issue: Vol. 53, No. 6, June 2013
Vending operators always have known that "there's nothing automatic about automatic retailing." During the modern full-line industry's formative years, operators devoted a great deal of effort to putting their machines in the context of organizations staffed by capable, responsive people who would work hard to keep the equipment running flawlessly, and would move swiftly to fix anything that went awry. The current move is integrating machines into networks... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Who Is The Decision-Maker?
Issue: Vol. 53, No. 5, May 2013
Over the years, there has been a good deal of discussion about the relationship between "vending" and "retailing." Most operators always have thought of themselves as retailers; but they also have been warned (with increasing urgency, over the past 10 or 15 years) that they must start thinking like retailers, not technicians... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Role Models
Issue: Vol. 53, No. 3, March 2013
The vending industry has demonstrated remarkable resilience and flexibility throughout its history, attributable almost entirely to its ability to engage the attention of remarkable individuals. Recent news items about two of them illustrate this point: the retirement of James Clark and the death of David Satel... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Interesting Times
Issue: Vol. 53, No. 2, February 2013
Once the vending machine had evolved beyond the simple "sales stimulator" model, it began to be seen as an extension of -- even a replacement for -- conventional retail outlets. On either side of World War II, retailers experimented with vending as an alternative to human clerks... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Healthier Vending
Issue: Vol. 53, No. 1, January 2013
Most operators agree that it's bad business to attempt to gain a competitive edge by discrediting other vendors. They sell by emphasizing their strengths, not the supposed deficiencies of rivals. To that end, there is no warrant for calling a vending machine or service "healthy"... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Making A Difference: How OCS And Vending Played A Key Role In U.S. Coffee Consumption Rebound
Issue: Vol. 52, No. 12, December 2012
The rebound in U.S. coffee consumption can be attributed to the emergence of the specialty coffee business in the early 1990s. One of the catalysts of the specialty coffee revolution was launched by the coffee service industry. Remember the Coffee Development Group? by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Old Times There Are Not Forgotten
Issue: Vol. 52, No. 11, November 2012
The opening decade of the new millennium was not kind to trade shows, which seem to have attained their greatest popularity between the mid-1980s and '90s. We continue to believe that these periodic gatherings play a unique role in broadcasting new ideas, sharing information and showcasing the latest products and services... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

A Wider Horizon For Vended Foodservice
Issue: Vol. 52, No. 10, October 2012
Current technology trends should call new attention to the value of food as a vendible category. Above all, there are the new micromarkets -- which are, in fact, a new kind of vending machine... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Losing Customers Without Knowing It
Issue: Vol. 52, No. 9, September 2012
Advances in display and payment technology, aided by faster and cheaper wireless networks, seem to be fostering another wave of interest in vending as a highly visible and engaging retail medium. This interest has been intensifying recently, not only for the sale of single-serve refreshment items but also of nontraditional products... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Vended Food Continues To Open Doors
Issue: Vol. 52, No. 8, August 2012
The advent of micromarkets opens a new chapter in the continuing adventures of the vending industry in foodservice. At the least, this retailing innovation casts new light on some questions that have been raised about food vending since the dawn of full-line vending... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Setting The Course
Issue: Vol. 52, No. 6, June 2012
The integration of new engineering concepts into vending operations and machine designs progresses through short bursts of innovation followed by longer periods of assimilation. On the trailing edge of one of these bursts, operators form an idea of the benefits the innovation can bring them. The usual question at this point is, "exactly how do I get started?" by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

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