Science fiction was introduced to vending during the NAMA show in late October of 1997. A New Jersey start-up company, Fast Corp was all the rage, lines were down and around the aisles of the show, people waiting to watch the machine's robotic arm fetch the products that were being selected by show goers. |
We placed a dozen or more of these coin operated frozen food wonders in car dealerships, schools, offices, factories, and hotels the year after they were introduced at the NAMA show. A frozen food/ice cream vending machine can be one of the best "door openers" for overturning new high-volume vending-locaitons. This coin-operated frozen food machine has a robotic arm that is visible to the customer, because the machine's upper half is one big glass window. It moves its nozzle over the machine's frozen bin where the products are stored, the arms nozzle sucks up the product that has been purchased with a vacuum device, and then it moves around and places the selection into the delivery area and drops it.
The robotic arm had a couple issues in the beginning, but all coin-operated machines go through a Bata-test period, and Fast Corp corrected the problem by fielding and acting on all-complaints. Do manufacturers of vending equipment test their new machines before they start to distribute them? Yes, of course they do. Do some manufacturers miss some problems or start to distribute their vending machine before all of the problems are completely solved? Yes! Why do you think that Ford, GMAC, Toyota, etc constantly have recalls? Because every new product comes to a point where the manufacturer just needs to start selling their product or they have just failed to identify all of the machine's problems. I would not acquire a used Food Court machine that was made-in the first three years of manufacturing. All other years are all right; buying a used or a used refurbished frozen food vending machine can be very cost effective.
Lets be clear, if you choose to purchase a used machine of any kind, be sure that you write down the serial number from the back of the machines and call the machine's manufacturer; if it has had problems, the manufacturer generally will be very direct and layout the problems that existed and how they were resolved or what you should look-out for.
Locating Ice Cream Machines
Almost all vending providers have a pessimistic reaction when they are ask to supply a specific vending-machine for a precise job, so we use their negativity against them, here is what I am talking about. The normal vending machine-company only sets aside 10% or less for new machine purchase each year. This means if they don't already own the coin operated machine that has been requested they really think long and hard before they will buy a $5,000 piece of equipment.
Your competition will try to overcome all requests for high-tech vending machines and credit card acceptors; this works a great-deal of the time unless there is a third party involved in the conversation. This is where dangling a frozen food - ice-cream machine in front of the decision maker works like a charm. For example, we talk to hotels and schools and offer them a Fast Corp machine if we can takeover their snack and or cold drink vending, we tell them our frozen food vending-machine will come stocked with what ever they choose from our list of frozen food products; frozen, burgers, dogs, pizzas sandwiches and entrees like pasta, grilled chicken and Chinese food, frozen ice cream cones, pints, drum-stick and ice cream sandwiches or a combination of both. We also offer them credit card acceptors on all machines.
Stand back and let the sparks fly; generally if they like their vending company they will want to talk to the company and request the new machine that they now just have to have. If the company says no or tries to switch them to cold food, we end up with an exclusive vending contract for frozen food. If the contract is already up, even if they like the vending company presently providing them service we have a better than 50% chance of overturning the contract for their entire vending services.
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