September 1st, 2019
By Jeff Adair, Editor

 As a convenience service operation grows, so does the challenge of deciding what technology tools to invest in. As the business gets bigger, it usually has more resources to allocate to invest in future growth, but deciding what tools to use – be it software, payment processing, warehouse automation, remote machine monitoring,etc. – requires an operational vision.

Steve Crosby, director of fleet facilities and vending operations at Merriam, Kan.-based Company Kitchen , explained the importance of defining a company’s operational vision during the National Automatic Merchandising Association show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. As a director for a large convenience services provider, Crosby offered a different perspective on investing in technology following a presentation by Larry Greenwall, who gave a smaller operator’s perspective, which Vending Technology News reported last month.

Having an operational vision is a critical step, Crosby said, given the extensive technology tools that are now available to a convenience service business. Most technology tools require a significant investment and research, and an operational vision will help the company decide what tools to use.

Choice Market , a Denver, Colo.-based convenience store operator, recently installed its first two temperature-controlled vending machines in Denver. The machines offer fresh, locally sourced sandwiches, salads, fruit, snacks, jerky and more. The packages retail $3 to $6 for drinks and snacks and $7 to $11 for meal solutions. 

The company sources organic produce and antibiotic-free and nitrate-free proteins from local farmers.

“Choice Mini-Mart is a natural extension of our omnichannel strategy and fully aligns with our mission to make good food accessible and convenient,” said Mike Fogarty, CEO and founder. “These vending machines are a perfect fit for airports, hospitals, breweries, offices and other institutions that are looking to provide their time-constrained customers and employees with fresh and delicious food.”

The Drinkmate carbonation system can turn any beverage into a sparkling creation in a workplace or hospitality setting.

There is both a countertop model and a portable model that include refillable and exchangeable 10- and 60-liter carbon dioxide cylinders that can carbonate any beverage with a patented Fizz infuser. The Fizz infuser has both carbon dioxide gas inlet and release functions integrated into one unit. A dual valve system allows for controlled and safe pressure release.

The customer fills the bottle with the beverage, carbonates with short bursts, removes the bottle and releases the pressure using the Fizz infuser.

The National Automatic Merchandising Association ( NAMA ) recently released Version 4.3, the latest version of the multi-drop bus (MDB) standards.

There are eight changes to the cashless devices section. Compared to the earlier version, MDB Version 4.3 revisions only appear in “Section 7 - Cashless Devices.” The revised Section 7 is color coded to help clarify the changes. All other sections of MDB Version 4.3 remain identical to those of MDB 4.2.

“MDB Version 4.3 allows for a comprehensive treatment of cashless transactions across convenience services,” said Michael Kasavana, Ph.D., NAMA endowed professor emeritus. “The MDB standard has a long history of quality and reliability, and MDB Version 4.3 is built on the same proven principles.”

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