How To Choose a Snack Vending Machine

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How To Choose a Snack Vending Machine

By: Mike Corbin

Snack vending machines come in all shapes and sizes. Some are small enough to hang on a wall and some are the full size floor models like the one I had. Some are electronic that you plug into an electric wall socket. Some are manually operated that don't require any electricity at all.

There are snack vending machines that offer user's the chance to buy a coffee right out of the same machine, while others can vend soda and other cold beverages. There is snack vending machines that do all three! That's right, these machines offer customers the chance to buy coffee, cold beverages and snack products out of the same machine.

I've seen a snack vending machine that sells cigarettes.

I've seen a snack vending machine that sells hockey cards.

I've also seen a snack vending machine that sell bus passes to access the local transit system.

And I've even seen a demo where one of my local distributors showed me how he could vend a can of three (3 ) tennis balls out of a snack vending machine! That actually impressed me.

So what does this all mean and how do you choose the right kind of snack vending machine?

You need to have as much flexibility with your snack machine as possible. I wanted my machines to be able to have maximum flexibility to sell my customers whatever they wanted (within reason and legal parameters) and I needed to have the machine that was capable of doing that.

This meant I needed...

Pricing flexibility. I needed to be able to raise or lower my prices according to my supplier costs or customer demands. That meant I needed to have snack vending machines that gave me that option without any additional equipment upgrades. That meant mechanical was out, you just don't have the kind of pricing flexibility with mechanical as you do with electronic. With electronic you can raise or lower prices of individual selections and do that within seconds. With a mechanical snack vending machine you might have a customer stand in front of your machine with a pocket full of coins but your mechanical machine can't sell her anything because it isn't configured to accept certain coins.

Payment options. All my snack vending machines came with built in capabilities to add payment options. I could have added a bill acceptor if I wanted to. This may have boosted sales if the customer had bills in her pocket instead of coins. Some machines may allow you to add credit card or smart card capabilities.

Product options. Have you seen the Pringles chips business opportunity? How about the Campbell's soup business opportunity? There are others and in my view Pringles chips are good products as is Campbell's soup, but the business opportunity is garbage.

For $100 at the time I owned my business I could have purchased an add-on to install that would have given me the ability to sell cans of Campbell's soup if I wanted to. I would have had to sell a lot of soup to pay for it though. Plus when the Pringles chip business opportunity was going around I bought a coil for one of my snack vending machines that allowed me to sell that product. For $20 at the time I was selling the same thing those so-called " Pringles Vending Machines " were doing!

A lot of people lost a lot of money buying into those so-called business opportunities. I know because I saw the machines for sale months after I saw those so called business opportunities advertised.

The bottom line with snack vending machines is that they can be extremely versatile. You can sell a lot of different types of products other than just snacks. The ability to change your prices quickly and easily are vital and the option of installing additional payment capabilities is also a necessity.

Don't limit your options when you purchase snack vending machines. At some point in your business you may want to sell a higher cost item(s) and there is a good chance that snack vending machines may be able to do that for you.

About The Author

Mike Corbin's website challenges would be entrepreneur's to think differently about vending and avoid the vending business opportunity scams entirely!


alex 17.10.2008. 00:22

What is a healthy snack from the vending machines? What is a healthy snack to buy at a vending machine? What should I look for? At school there is usually cereal, Baked chips, Baked hot cheetos, goldfish flavor blasted, chex mix, rice krispies, famous amos cookies, different snack bars, and a few others etc..


Admin 17.10.2008. 00:22

Usually there are only a few healthy snacks to choose from when buying from a vending machine. Out of what you listed the healthiest would probably be the chex mix or the cereal if it doesn't have tons of sugar in it. If they have granola bars that might be a good option too especially the Nature Valley brand. Also, check and see if they have any of the 100 calorie packs in the vending machine, I have seen more of those going in vending machines lately which is a good way to watch your calorie intake.

But I'd suggest just bring a healthy snack from home. It would be cheaper than buying from a vending machine anyways.


Alex s 31.08.2007. 16:13

how much on average does a vending machine cost, is it a reliable business venture? I'm a 20 year old guy going to college and all, but I really need to move out and get my own place. i'm looking at ways to invest and earn profit. I have been looking into the venture of buying a vending machine that sells sodas, water, snacks and so on.I wanna know how much these machines would cost and please include any helpful comments. And also on your perspectives, do you think it's a reliable option, please be honest and credible in your answers please, no joke. Thank you all.

Alex s

Admin 31.08.2007. 16:13

You asked two questions: 1. How much does a vending machine cost? and 2. Is vending a reliable venture? I'll attempt to answer them by by responding to the second question first, as it's actually the most important.
Vending is retailing via coin operated machines. Most beginners start with Bulk Vending. I did, and stayed with it, as it is a good means of earning a living, and it's enjoyable. But it's not for everyone. Among the talents necessary are: Determination, Economic Ability (to start, to continue, and to progress), Mechanical Ability (to keep your machines operating correctly) Salesmanship, Discipline (being self employed needs much discipline), a fair understanding of English with a linguistic ability to work with non-native speakers, and much more which I have left unmentioned. ... The greater degree of Determination that you have, allows for some initial lacking in other necessary aspects, as those traits and skills will naturally develop.
Before considering any self-employment, I suggest reading Think and Grow Rich. After successfully reading it, then read "An on-line Book for Bulk, Capsule, & Flat Vending" as the advice given there is applicable to much of Vending in general.

To attempt to answer first question using Dollar amounts is impractical as there are many considerations" as new, used or "fixer-uppers"; quality or functional, single or multi-faceted; w/ or w/o stands; etc. Nevertheless, eBay is the truest measure of the value of second hand Vending equipment, and an internet search for specific new Vending equipment, is your best source of first hand information.

However, the initial cost of a horse isn't nearly as much as the inevitable vet bills, feed, stable, pasture, fencing, etc., plus the necessary time involved in having it and being a responsible owner. The same is true of Vending machines, as you inevitably will need a warehouse, a delivery vehicle, insurance, maintenance, storage of supplies and of product.

The information that you will glean from reading "An on-line Book for Bulk, Capsule, & Flat Vending" will teach you such as "It's ultimately less expensive to be consistent, or uniform. The rule is always, too, that "The little guy works hardest and is rewarded least for his efforts", and conversely, "The big guy works least and is rewarded most for his efforts". You must begin being the "Little Guy", as you must start at the bottom; however, you want a to become the "Big Guy" ASAP". Determination + Ability + Studying the Market (establishing need) = Success.

The best way to get into Vending is to have a full time job paying your way while you're working AMAP on your chosen avocation.

Depending upon the various aspect of Vending that you ultimately choose, you'll generally re-coup your investment anywhere from one to three years. Vending is not only a reliable business venture, but it's enjoyable, too.

Good Luck!


sekmet 21.03.2012. 16:14

Which is worse: salted nuts or nuts with raisins full of sugar? Today I had to choose a healthy snack from the vending machine. I'm trying not to eat sugars, bread etc.
It was down to salted nuts or nuts with raisins. Which would have been less bad? Or what about a slim sandwich which would consist of about 80% bread?


Admin 21.03.2012. 16:14

Ahh the Atkins Diet...

To avoid sugars and carbohydrates, you must look for strictly proteins; the meat, cheese, egg, and milk group type of thing. This is harder to do from vending machines as these things require more turn over to stay fresh. Some of my favorite proteins from vending machines are hot wings, beef jerky, whole milk, and string cheese.

Of your choices, nuts, part of the fruit and vegetable group was just as healthy as raisins.
The raisins have sugar, true, but the nuts have more protein, so based on the atkin's scheme, those would be better. If you want more choice, maybe it's time to ask your boss about upgrading the vending machines in the breakroom...check these two setups out for reference.

Thank the folks from San Diego and Denver for that.

Our vending partners from Seattle point out that you could have just had a cup of coffee, without the sugar or creamer...

The vending team from Phoenix though that you could have had a bottle of water.


watch 14.06.2011. 00:26

Does anyone know where I can get a cheap food and drink vending machine? Can I also have an idea of what the costing of setting up this business is? Just basically things to take into consideration when setting this business up.

What kind of returns can I expect to recieve on a weekly basis? How often would I be required to stack up the machine? How many machines would I need to start off with in order to make decent returns?


Admin 14.06.2011. 00:26

Uselectit International has vending machines for sale if you are looking to start up your own business. With many to choose from, you can buy snack vending machines, soda vending machines, or even coffee vending machines. Take a look at the website at


xyz1406a1 06.12.2007. 19:20

what is normal vending machine rate of return? I"m looking into getting quotes for a vending machine service for our office.

Is there an industry standard on the rate of return? (with them owning, stocking & maintaining the machine)

We are in IL


Admin 06.12.2007. 19:20

Many factors are involved in making that kind of determination.

What kind of machine? Bulk Vender (gum / candy), Drink Machine, Snacks? Assuming it's one of these, then it's still further determined by the price for the merchandise and the kind of product vended from them.

If the quantity of candy is too little, sales will quickly drop. If the gum is fairly priced, its sales will be consistent. If the drinks are name brand, include some for dieters, etc. and priced reasonably, you may experience a higher number of sales.

To establish the ROI, the prices of the machine and of the product vended, and the average number of sales are all to be taken into consideration.

The NBVA states that the average single bulk vender does one sale per day. Good vending operators often can get twice that much from them by the pricing, and product used.

Buying your own machines can be advantageous and also disadvantageous. If you purchase them, it's your responsibility to pay the taxes, insurance, repairs, and insurance, plus you have to do the refunds. Insurance alone can be the straw that breaks the camel's back. But you reap the greater amount of profit.

Having a Vendor, or a Vending Machine Company, to place the machines in your location may prove ultimately more profitable because they place, stock, service, pay taxes and insurance, plus still pay a percentage to you. The percentage differs with the type of Vender.

Factors as how many employees will use the machines and how often are high determining factors. Study the various options, and choose wisely. Good Luck!


sara 30.10.2007. 23:20

what are some healthy snacks? what are some healthy snacks? and im not talking a granola bar. i usually eat vanilla yogurt with candied almonds in it.. and i dip apples and grapes in it. its so good. i also like triscuits with ricotta cheese and grape tomatos. what are some other healthy snacks?


Admin 30.10.2007. 23:20

---------->Top 10 rules to follow for healthy snacking:

1.Choose snacks for variety and select foods from different food groups.

2.Snack only when you are hungry.

3.Eat snacks well ahead of a meal, at least 2-3 hours.

4.Eat snack size portions.

5.Fruit is a simple and healthy snack.

6.Go easy on high fat and sugar snacks. These foods are from top of the food guide pyramid.

7.Plan ahead and bring snacks with you. Vending machine snacks are usually high in calories and fat.

8.Read labels for serving sizes and portion control.

9.Drink water. At least 8 eight ounce glasses are recommended each day.

10.When you are snacking be sure you are only eating. Snacking while studying or watching TV usually means you will eat more than you intended!

----------->Which foods make the healthiest snacks?

If you are going to choose high sugar/fat snacks (foods from top of food guide pyramid), do so in moderation. This includes soda, chips, cookies, and fried foods. One day of high sugar/high fat eating will not make or break your weight?it is consuming large amounts of these foods over a long period of time that will cause pounds to creep up. Here are some suggestions for healthy snacking:

Whole grain cereal (cheerios) and milk (skim-1%)

Fresh fruit or fruit juice


Peanut butter on wheat crackers

Dried fruit and nut mix

Raw vegetables with cottage cheese, yogurt, or low fat dressings

Light microwave popcorn

Baked chips-such as Baked Lays

Bagel with low fat cream cheese

Low fat string cheese



Try the following recipe for a healthy, tasty snack!!!!

--->Guiltless Chocolate Milkshake

1 cup light or nonfat chocolate ice cream or non fat frozen yogurt

1/3 cup non fat milk

1 Tablespoons chocolate syrup (can also substitute strawberry syrup or jam)

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine ice cream or frozen yogurt, chocolate syrup, and vanilla in a blender. Whirl 2 to 3 minutes.


Chealsea W 16.12.2008. 06:36

What would your Ideal homepage have on it/ or look like? I am working on creating a website that is a lot like a vending machine. I am going to have a bunch of differentcommonlyy used sites link up to mine. So when you choose the "snack/cite" you want you can go right to it. I want my cite to be an ideal site to have as a homepage. If you could create your own personal homepage that could link you to were every you needed to go...What would you put on it???

Chealsea W

Admin 16.12.2008. 06:36

i would have links to my favorite & most used sites such as:
-Yahoo! Answers
-Yahoo! Mail

i would also make it look stylish, very easy to use, modern and fun.


elizabeth 08.05.2013. 21:52

How to eat healthy when you are around McDonald's all day? I work at McDonald's. I used to have absolutely no problem choosing to eat healthy and commit to it. But I swear being around food 8 hours a day makes me hungry and crave it. It's convenient which makes trying to keep my motivation to bring food into work hard to keep up. I really need to get in better shape. I had mono and lost quite a bit of muscle tone and endurance and want to get back to my normal self. But I'm having such a hard time. How do I combat craving McDonald's AKA artificial crack as I call it? I feel like working out isn't going to help much when I pumping artificial crap into my body.


Admin 08.05.2013. 21:52

Don't pump crap into your body. How about McD salad with some chicken in it? Or bring your own food.
A good food/exercise plan would be:

Breakfast: Cook 9-grain cereal (from health food store) in water with rolled oats and wheat bran. Make a big pot of it on weekends and nuke 1/2 cup each morning. Add low fat milk or yogurt, banana, walnuts and berries. Drink hot Ovaltine. Breakfast should be your largest meal of the day to raise blood sugar level which falls during the night.

Lunch: Egg, tuna or turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with bean or alfalfa sprouts and yogurt w/fruit. If you had meat loaf for dinner, bring a meat loaf sandwich on whole grain bread (NO mayo). On cold days, a squatty thermos of hot chili, split peas with ham, or beef stew.

Snacks: Fresh (not canned) fruit: banana, orange, apple, kiwi, grapes, peach, nectarine, cherries, pineapple. No chips and nothing ever from a vending machine.

Dinner: salad with white meat chicken and fresh (not canned) veggies: tomatoes, 2 kinds of lettuce, 2 kinds of shredded cabbage, shredded or sliced carrots, alfalfa or bean sprouts, zucchini, green or red peppers, hard boiled eggs, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, tofu, cottage cheese...Instead of dressing, squeeze 1/4 tomato over it.

Or homemade bean/vegetable soups; great way to recycle leftovers.
Or grilled fish with steamed veggies.

Or omelet: In blender, whip together eggs, tofu, cottage cheese, onions, garlic powder. Cook with mushrooms, chopped tomatoes and green or red peppers.

Foods to avoid: junk food, fast foods, pastries, desserts, sugar, salty foods, syrup (even canned fruit in syrup), peanut butter, fat/grease (pork, wieners, chops, bacon, salami, pizza, chips, fries), pasta, potatoes, white bread, rice, canned veggies, ice cream, soda, chips. And of course no tobacco or alcohol in any form. Both of those add wrinkles and destroy your brain. No oil except olive and mac nut. Coffee also rots your brain.

To keep your skin clear, drink water. Veg. juice is good too. But not canned juice (too much sugar.)

Join a gym; they have all the equipment and staff to show you how to use it to get the look you want to achieve. Much cheaper than buying your own equipment. Go hiking, biking, jogging, bowling, swimming, rowing, jump rope, play tennis, badminton, volleyball, soccer, jumping jacks, lift weights, trampoline? To tone your tummy, do sit ups, push ups, pull ups, leg lifts and crunches.

If you lack energy to exercise, take Super B complex.


Gabriela 26.03.2008. 16:20

What are some good foods to bring to the office to curb your appetite until lunch? I some diet friendly foods that I can eat to help control my hunger until lunch. I take my lunch at 3pm every day so I tend to get hungrey, even when I have cereal for breakfast at 8am.


Admin 26.03.2008. 16:20

Definitely choose a higher fiber options and nuts are good, just watch the serving size. And raw veggies. Try to avoid alot of sugar, even fruit and yogurt (plain yogurt is ok), because the sugar may increase your hunger. Try to eat 2 snacks, one at 10ish and another 12ish. You always want to keep you metabolism moving. Water and hot tea helps you keep your belly full too. Prep the night before so you are not tempted to get something unhealthy at the vending machine.


khmd2 03.08.2009. 01:15

What should i bring to the hospital while about to deliver? I am due october 1st and I was wondering what I should bring along?
What are the important things i should bring along from home?


Admin 03.08.2009. 01:15

You can find lots of checklists online and they will have the usual things. But I am trying to think of a few extras I was really glad to have along (I have three little ones).
- Some really nice bath products for that first shower after labor. You will feel SO grimy and will really enjoy getting clean again! I chose a special scent for each baby and used a whole line in the same scent (and then when I got home from the hospital, until I used them up). Now when I smell those scents, it reminds me of that special time.
- A special lotion for the baby (if you want to use lotion). Again, it will be nice to have a scent in the sterile hospital atmosphere, and it will be a source of memories in the future. I loved Burt's Bee's buttermilk has a very soft but distinct scent. So many people commented on it when I used it on my babies...and it makes me misty eyed when I smell it now!
- For labor, I brought things that would be comforting to me and might help me "escape" a little if my labor was long (and two of the three WERE!). So I brought crossword puzzles, trashy magazines I don't normally read, novels, massage oil, battery-powered fans (I get hot easy and having those fans was such a help during labor!), pictures to look at, and one time I even had a doula who brought those flameless battery-operated candles. They made it feel more homey, which was nice!
- A food present for the nurses. Something home-baked if possible (make some cookies a couple weeks before you are due and just store them in the freezer until it's TIME), but even something from the store would be great. Seriously, they will LOVE you if you bring them food, and you are much more likely to get great service. Worked every time for me, I had nurses (and even a janitor) peeking in to see if I needed anything and telling me how much they loved the cookies or pound cake or whatever. And honestly, it was great to sneak a cookie for myself after I had the baby, made me feel like I was home!
- Don't forget your husband...will he need something to sleep in, change for vending machines, a bag of snacks, some magazines to read, a toiletry bag, etc? Make sure you know where he can eat near the hospital if it's late at night, and where the closest drug store will be. Oh, and bring gum for him. The last thing you'll want to smell is his coffee or big Mac breath when you are in labor! lol!
- A bag of snacks for yourself. If you give birth late in the evening or during the night, there might not be many options for you. And you will, most likely, be starving. You also may not find the hospital food too tasty. It was a life saver to have a bag of granola bars, candy bars (I seriously craved some chocolate after having my babies!), fruit, bottles of water, etc. I also brought some ibuprofen...the worst thing is having to wait an extra half an hour to get ibuprofen from the nurse!! There were a couple times I just took my own and told them when they came to my room. They didn't like it, but I wasn't going to wait!!

Good luck! Hope this helps!


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