The Complete Buyer’s Guide to Vending Machines

Modern vending solutions

Thinking of providing your employees with convenient, self-service refreshments? Choosing a vending machine for your workplace goes further than deciding on your favourite snacks. Modern vending solutions provide value for businesses and employees alike. Choosing the right machines and the right suppliers is key to gaining a positive return on your investment.

Considerations before purchase

Considerations before purchase

Business needs

First and foremost, your choice of vending machine needs to meet the needs of your business. Businesses invest in vending machines and self-service solutions for a variety of reasons including:

  • Boosting employee engagement
  • Meeting H&S or other compliance needs
  • Increasing productivity
  • Generating additional revenue
  • Enhancing guest experiences

Vending machines can play a role in meeting all these needs, but specific machines work better in specific circumstances.

For example, a self-serve coffee machine that dispenses quality brand-name coffee is great for enhancing guest experiences. But, it’s less effective when you need to serve a factory floor full of thirsty workers.

Understand your needs

Stakeholder buy-in

Rolling out a new vending solution affects everyone in your business, not just the Facilities Manager. If you want your new vending solution to be a success, find out more about what people want. A vending machine tucked under the stairs that no one uses is wasting money that could be invested elsewhere.

Survey your staff and get an understanding of their needs. Not only will your employees feel more appreciated and engaged with how the business is being run, but you can be more confident that you’re making the right choice.

On-site space

Vending machines come in all shapes and sizes. So, before you start ordering, review your site to determine the best place for your new machines. Studies have shown that there are optimal locations for vending machine positioning. They allow for maximum opportunity for sales, without causing disruption to foot traffic or workflows.

An average freestanding snack machine is about the size of a phone box in width and depth. A tabletop machine can range between the size of a large toaster and as big as an industrial microwave. It also needs somewhere to sit. If you have a small office, with limited table space, you may find that a free-standing coffee machine is, in fact, a better option.

Budgets and management

Budgets and management

You need to consider the cost of purchasing and managing your new machines. If you purchase the machines to manage yourself, you need to consider:

  • Energy costs
  • Staffing costs
  • Product cost
  • Product availability
  • Maintenance and repairs

Many vending suppliers offer a fully managed service that includes regular filling and maintenance. Many SME and Enterprise-level businesses with multiple sites often find that outsourcing vending services is a more cost-effective option.

Find out more

Types of vending machine

Coffee vending machines

Coffee vending machines

Hot beverage machines come in 4 main varieties:

Freestanding machines generally dispense a hot beverage in a cup. Tabletop machines allow for the use of a reusable coffee cup. Although, some modern freestanding machines do have options for reusable cups as too.

Some coffee machines use powdered or freeze-dried milk. This eliminates the need for a milk fridge and makes the management of your coffee machine. Besides traditional coffee, they can also serve tea, hot chocolate, cappuccinos, flat whites and lattes.

Bean-to-cup and fresh milk coffee machines can come in tabletop and freestanding varieties. They provide a high quality beverage, making them ideal for the coffee connoisseurs in your organisation. They also give you the option to use your favourite coffee bean of choice.

Cold beverage vending

Cold beverage vending

Cold drinks machines are the most common type of vending machine in the world. The machines use a compressor to cool beverages while being stored. Cold drinks machines have closed fronts or glass fronts.

A glass-front machine offers easy viewing of beverages and more storage capacity. They also allow the products to speak for themselves. A closed front gives you more “real estate” to lure in customers with brand imagery and other enticements.

Snack machines

Snack machines

Snack machines allow you to sell a variety of products. While most people tend to think chocolate bars and crisps, the potential goes further. You can sell a range of healthy snacks. The clever design of a snack machine allows you to serve the products your staff enjoy, whatever they may be.

To keep your business green, many modern snack machines are designed to run very efficiently. They run on low voltage and use LEDs to optimise energy usage and protect the environment.

Snacks have a shorter shelf life than beverages. So, snack machines must either sell a higher volume or you need to regularly rotate your stock. Careful stock management is essential for successful vending machine use – most efficiently managed by a reputable vending operator.



A MicroMarket is the modern solution evolved from traditional vending. Taking advantage of the latest innovations in convenience, a MicroMarket is the perfect balance between a canteen and a vending machine.

Employees can come in at any time and choose from a variety of beverages, snacks, meals, and more. Items are stocked and rotated on a regular basis and come in a much wider variety of choice.

MicroMarkets can be adapted to fit your space and number of employees. They have a sociable, café feel where your staff can relax and recharge. They use self-pay kiosks and cashless payment, so you don’t need to staff them. Plus, they’re open 24 hours a day, just like a vending machine. Micromarkets afford a greater variety of product choices that encompass diverse diet preferences (gluten-free, vegan, etc.)

What to look for in a vending supplier

Choosing the right supplier for your enterprise is a major challenge for facilities managers and office managers. They will be held accountable for the quality of the service being provided to your business. So there’s more to consider than cost.


Before engaging a vending supplier, find out more about their existing customers and the company’s background. This will give you an indication of the quality of the service. Well-established suppliers with high-quality customers have those customers for a reason.

Regular visits

Your vending machines need to be stocked and maintained regularly. You can rely on suppliers who offer regional services because their maintenance people are never far away. This is means that your machine is always well-looked after.

Green credentials

In today’s socially conscious world, it benefits businesses to seek out suppliers who care. From energy-efficient machines to Fair Trade coffee, a socially conscious supplier makes your business look responsible in the eyes of future clients and employees.

Variety and choice

The more brands your supplier works with, the wider variety of products you get. You should also make sure that they can provide for your employees’ specific needs. This includes healthy options, gluten and vegan free options etc.

Business intelligence and support

Many machines can track and capture data about customers’ habits. This data can help you improve the vending experience. Analysing sales of items also makes it easy to switch out low-selling products with more popular choices.

A supplier that offers this sort of support can help you improve your business’s employee engagement and customer experience.



To meet your needs, we focus on the overall service we offer you, providing a fully managed vending solution that is convenient for you and your staff. Filling, cleaning and maintaining the machines is all part of the service that is provided by local teams based at our depots across the country.

From our rich heritage in coffee craftsmanship to tailored snack and cold drink ranges based on customer insight, we support you in engaging your employees and satisfy your customers.

And with the focus on healthier lifestyles, we lead the way in offering healthier products across both drinks and snacks.

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