The Transformation of the Coffee Vending Machine in the Tampa and Orlando Area

2012′s Top 5 Amazing Pairings (according to this writer):

  1. Peanut butter and chocolate
  2. Sunday afternoons and naps
  3. Journey and karaoke night
  4. Popcorn and Junior Mints
  5. Vending machines and coffee

In past years #5 might not have made the cut but in recent years coffee connoisseurs have gone to great lengths to overcome the negative stigmas associated with vending coffee and in 2012 should consider their efforts a success.

In 1960 the first vending coffee was introduced one freeze dried cup at a time to the market. It looked  more like muddy water than coffee and after being tasted left its consumer wishing it was muddy water.

Although less than desirable it did suit a need, swing shifts and hospitals were grateful, to an extent, everywhere as coffee was now available at all hours.

At this time a popular company was also marketing its instant coffee as a key to a happy marriage. A wife was only as good as her coffee and with instant coffee she was able to make the perfect cup each time.

In 2012 both men and women need their coffee at the workplace and at home. And just as gender roles have progressed so have the qualifications for a good cup of coffee. Freeze dried just won’t do.

In 1971 Starbucks opened its first store. And in recent years, along with other key roasters and manufacturers, has transformed the role of coffee in America, including vending machines.

Today’s vending machines still make “instant” cups of coffee in that you can have a cup in 30 seconds or less. But now vending machines in the Tampa and Orlando area are equipped to grind beans fresh for each cup “ordered.” Consumers can now pick their brew strength (mud not an option) and have more options than simply powdered cream and sugar including espressos, lattes, cappuccinos, etc. In some machines fresh cream is even offered in place of powder.

In addition to modern machinery Tampa and Orlando vending companies are also being more selective in the beans they choose. It is more common than ever to see a machine labeled with a popular roasters name including Seattle’s Best (owned by Starbucks), Tully’s and Wolfgang Puck.

If you have been weary of placing a coffee machine at your facility because of past stigmas, give them another try. The combination of premium beans and intricate equipment may make you feel like there is a barista hidden inside.

However, a machine is only as good as it’s Tampa and Orlando vendor allows it to be.

Intricate equipment can be complicated and requires calibration knowledge. The combination of ground beans, water, cream and sugar can get messy. Make sure you pair yourself with a Florida vendor in the Tampa and Orlando area who knows the equipment and will take the time to maintain it properly. Don’t be afraid to question their knowledge or ask for a cleaning schedule.

First impressions are hard to overcome but vending coffee has truly changed its character. It still might not make your top 5 list but its got a good chance at top 10.

How to Choose a Great Vending Service in Orlando

How do you know what is considered a great vending company in Orlando?  Will they deliver what they promise?  What types of questions should I ask a company who provides vending and office coffee service before making a decision?  What are some key points that I should be aware of when looking for a full service vending company?  If you have asked these questions, then you are not alone.  Most companies look for a vending service that will meet the needs and desires of their employees but just do not know what questions to ask when searching for the right vending provider.  Well, here is a list of some of the most important questions when searching for the right vending and office coffee provider for your business.  You may even consider them “valuable tips” that could potentially relieve you from a disastrous outcome.

First and for most you need to make sure that the vending company is fully licensed and insured.  If one of your employees happens to get sick from eating a product out of a fresh food vending machine, you want to make sure that the vending company has liability insurance for potential law suits.  Along this line you may want to consider asking if the vending company offers workers compensation for its route drivers.  If one of their employees gets hurt in your state of business, you don’t want to be liable or responsible for injury compensation.

Another important question you should ask when interviewing a vending company is how long they have been in business. Is their business a one-person operation working part time or is their vending business a full-time company dependent on its customer base?  Do you really want a vending company servicing your office with a variety of snacks and beverages who works out of his or her garage at their state of residence? This actually leads to a third question to ask.  How is the product being handled and how long is the product stored before it is delivered to their customers?  Is it a garage, a truck or a clean warehouse and are you able to visit the vending company’s facility?

Service is always a great topic for asking questions.  How long will a machine be out of service if there is a problem…hours, days or weeks and does the vending company have their own vending machine mechanic? Having a vending provider who establishes servicing standards for their route drivers and acquires well-trained technicians is crucial if a problem ever arises with your vending machine.  I’m sure you will have disgruntle employees if they are not able to get their mid morning snack like a granola bar or yogurt or they may have to run to the nearest Starbucks because the coffee vending machine is out of service for days at a time.

Another important question that is often missed when interviewing a vending company is what technologies do they have in-place for improving customer service?  Do their vending machines accept credit cards and are their vending machines equipped with new Guaranteed Product Delivery Systems that guarantee the product or your money back? If you are not aware of what Guaranteed Product Delivery Systems is, it is an infrared technology which detects any unsuccessful vend cycle, guaranteeing that your employees either receives their product, or gets their money back. This new technology greatly reduces the chance that your employees will lose their money or not get the item they have selected.  This will definitely eliminate frustrated employees and management having to worry about reimbursing employees for lost money.

Also, vending companies that have a tracking system in place to keep account of slower moving products and potentially out dated items is very cost effective and an efficient way of doing business. Asking how often their route drivers rotate product selections is a great question and can eliminate internal stress between the management team of the office and the employees.

Safety is also an over looked factor when searching for the right vending and office coffee provider.  Have criminal background checks been cleared on the route drivers and technicians entering your facility? Are the employees required to wear photo identification and professional uniforms?  You don’t want to be liable for inappropriate actions at your place of business when precautionary steps could have been taken to avoid such actions. And last but not least when choosing the right vending company for your line of business, make sure to request for at least five business references that they are currently using as their customers.  Hopefully by asking these questions when interviewing a potential vending service it will eliminate any confusion and frustration when trying to find the very best vending and office coffee provider for your business in Orlando.