Childhood obesity is through the roof in this country. We can point to a number of reasons including outrageous advertising budgets of fast food restaurants and candy companies. We can also blame a lack of basic nutritional education that would let kids know which foods are bad for them and will turn them into fat, unhealthy adolescents and adults. But one of the major culprits is an inanimate object that sits in schools day in and day out. The vending machine. These machines stay on throughout the day luring kids to buy junk before school (candy bar for breakfast, anyone?), between classes and even for lunch (is a can of soda, chips and another candy bar considered a meal?). Kids are packing on the fat due to a constantly available source of sugar, fat and simple carbs. What are parents and schools to do to sever the cord between students and their junk food snacks? The answer is simple - school vending machines. |
You might ask how, in this world of cutbacks and lower budgets, schools can afford to make this change. The sad truth is that schools do make much needed money from their school vending machines. And if these machines are simply removed, schools would suffer revenue losses that could force them to cut back on supplies and student programs. The good news is healthy vending machines make just as much, if not more, revenue for schools as the old junk food machines. Replacing a standard junk food-filled machine with a healthy vending machine is simple. In fact, schools have several options for getting these machines in front of their students.
1. Let Healthy Vending Operators Come to Your School
Once you have made the decision to make your school a healthier environment for your students, you can choose to lease a healthy vending machine. This option is less expensive than buying a machine and the healthy vending operators will do all the work. They will set up the machine, stock it with healthy foods and drinks, monitor its operation, restock it when needed and handle any maintenance issues. They will charge a small fee but you get to keep the majority of the profits to put towards school supplies and programs.
2. Buy and Operate Your Own Machines
If your school is able, you should definitely consider purchasing a healthy vending machine and operating it yourself. Or perhaps you have leased a machine for a while and are ready to do the work on your own and make more profit. Either way, this option will take a little more time on your part but the returns are worth it. When you buy a healthy vending machine, it is delivered to your location and with the help of some training videos and excellent customer support, your school can set it up and you'll stock it yourself. It's remote monitoring software allows operators to see what's happening with a machine at any time, from any location. You'll know when an item needs to be restocked or if there is a problem with a vend. For this little bit of extra work, your school can see major revenues.
3. Set Up a Young Entrepreneur Program Where Students Operate the Machines
Since healthy vending machines are really self-contained small businesses, what better way to teach kids business fundamentals than by letting them operate the machine themselves? Basic concepts like supply and demand, profit and cost and how to work with money can be taught with the help of a machine. This option is perfect for high school business classes or young entrepreneur clubs. Let them set up the machine, stock it, monitor it, restock it and promote it. Each machine comes with a programmable LCD screen. Let your students decide what should go on the screen. It could show school announcements, nutritional information on vending machines, or even sell advertising and take advantage of healthy vending machines' secondary revenue stream.
There are many ways to get these healthy machines into your schools. Whether you choose to buy or lease, operate yourself or let your students do the work and learn valuable concepts, there's no excuse for keeping your junk food machines around any longer. Kids can have access to fruit, trail mix, popped chips and protein bars instead of donuts, honey buns, greasy chips and candy bars. They can get a bottle of green tea or a carton of organic chocolate milk instead of a can of soda between classes. Giving students healthier options will not only make them feel better throughout the day, it will also help them learn better and perform better on tests. Healthy kids turn into healthy adults. And healthy vending machines can be the first step to their success.
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