Vending Machine Operators

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 3,100 vending machine operators in the US generate revenue by reselling a variety of merchandise through automated machines. The majority of companies are full-line vending machine operators which distribute multiple product categories. About a quarter of the industry specializes in a product category, such as candy or cigarettes. Common locations for vending machines include manufacturing facilities, offices, hotels, restaurants, bars, retailers, schools, hospitals or nursing homes, and government buildings.

Mitigating Theft

Because vending is generally a cash business, companies are at risk for theft from both internal and external sources.

Technology Improves Performance

More vending machine operators are investing in technology to improve operating efficiency and boost sales and profitability.

Industry size & Structure

The average vending machine operator operates out of a single location, employs 11 workers, and generates almost $3 million annually.

    • The vending machine operations industry consists of about 3,100 companies that employ about 35,000 workers and generate about $9 billion annually.
    • The industry is concentrated at the top and fragmented at the bottom. The top 50 firms account for 61% of sales.
    • Many vending machine operators are small to medium-size businesses. Some operators service routes part-time.
    • Some large food and beverage manufacturers and food service operators have vending operations. Food service companies Aramark and Compass Group have large vending machine operations. Compass owns Canteen Vending Services.
                                    Industry Forecast
                                    Vending Machine Operators Industry Growth
                                    Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                    Recent Developments

                                    Nov 13, 2022 - Return To Workplaces Stalls
                                    • Vending machine operators are still waiting for a return to workplaces that may boost revenue. Workplace occupancy was 47.3% for the seven-day period ending on November 2, down from 47.6% for the seven-day period ending on October 26, according to data gathered from swipes of access control cards in buildings with security systems provided by Kastle Systems. Occupancy reached 49% on October 12 after failing to break the 47.5% mark since at least August despite attempts by many organizations to bring employees back. The Austin, TX, metropolitan area had the highest occupancy for the seven-day period ending on November 2 at 61.9%. The San Jose, CA, metropolitan area trailed all others tracked at 39.8%.
                                    • Vending machines that dispense Naloxone (also known as Narcan) are being installed around the US. Some experts say that the machines containing the potentially lifesaving medication designed to help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose are a vital tool in addressing the opioid crisis and stigma of substance abuse. Some machines also dispense fentanyl test strips to detect the presence of fentanyl in street drugs. The products are typically available for free, as the machines are usually funded via government health programs. Kentucky's first Narcan vending machine was completely empty just one day after it was installed.
                                    • The proportion of of vending machine contactless payments in the US increased from 18% of all transactions in January 2021 to 48% by mid-2022, according to a study conducted by digital payments technology provider Cantaloupe. Contactless transaction values at low-volume machines or those with sales of less than $2,000 per year doubled from $7 million in January 2021 to $14 million in October 2021.
                                    • “The rise in cashless payments is being driven by consumer adoption of contactless payments, or any payment method that uses either near field communication or radio frequency identification technology to ‘tap to pay’ — such as a credit or debit card with a chip, or a mobile wallet,” a report from the researchers at Cantaloupe said. Industry veterans have noted that a pandemic-driven rise in interest in touch-free payments has waned. Tom Steuber of San Leandro-based Associated Services said in early 2022 that “Our thinking on this is that we will absolutely have customers who will insist on touch-free equipment. In our own office, we saw people use it initially, but as people get more and more comfortable about touch points, they stop using it.” It could be the “cool factor” that lends longevity to the idea of a touchless breakroom, according to Arthur Siller of Seattle’s Evergreen Refreshments. “We saw a big rush to touch-free technology, including wraps on equipment, and we can present options to clients. The technology is very cool and appealing to many. It is the ‘cool factor’ that might drive the interest, especially with younger people,” Siller said.
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