Students at Valley Christian School in San Jose, Calif., buy healthy snacks like coconut water, unsalted nuts and fresh fruit, from a high-tech HUMAN Healthy Vending machine. As school leaders shift to selling healthier products in their vending machines, they can also take the opportunity to change their business model and consider investing in high-tech machines for a range of benefits. The primary way schools make money off vending machines is through commission sales with a vending contractor. Along with addressing changes in law and technology, district leaders must decide whether to buy or lease machines—and whether to stock those machines themselves or have a contractor do it—when considering the future of vending programs.
The high level of customer service is the biggest advantage a local, independent vending contractor has over a national company, Bramwell says.
National companies also have a valuable level of expertise, says Sean Kelly, the CEO and co-founder of HUMAN Healthy Vending, a vending franchise that serves 1,000 schools.
Switching to USDA-approved products can be a shaky process for schools, and may be easier with a national company, Kelley says. New machine technology includes credit and debit card readers, and LCD screens that display ads and product information. Appropriately stocked vending machines can solve the problem of trying to serve lunch quickly to many students. A child simply needs to enter validation information into the machine and then can make their choice of USDA-approved options, says Bob Gottlieb, director of Star Food Healthy Express. Participation in free- and reduced-lunch programs has huge potential to increase with these machines, Gottlieb says.
Instead of partnering with a vending contractor, five percent of districts operate their vending machines themselves, according to industry experts. Self-operated machines in schools typically see $15,000 to $20,000 in gross sales per year, and $6,000 to $10,000 in revenue after product and maintenance costs, Dillingham says. Students also can get more involved in the vending process when the district owns the machines. Cashless point-of-sale machines that are linked to students’ lunch accounts can help maximize profit when the districts own the machines, says Vickie Coffey, food services director for Richland-Bean Blossom Community Schools in Indiana. Coffey’s three vending machines—two in the high school, and one in the middle school—have grossed $90,000 in sales since September 2011, with a 32 percent profit rate. Albany USD in California also saw higher profits when the district bought its own machines, says Clell Hoffman, director of food services. The Fresh Healthy vending machines are stocked with fresh veggies, fruits, yogurts, baked chips, organic smoothies, 100 percent juice pouches, Kashi granola bars and Tazo teas. A healthy eater by nature, Rabourn started paying closer attention to stats on obesity, corporate savings through employee wellness pushes and the Obama Administration’s nutrition bill signed in December. He just inked a deal to locate two machines at City High Middle School and said he’s getting interest from Macatawa Bank and GE Aviation.


San Diego-based franchisor Fresh Healthy Vending started last year and has been on a tear around the country. Rabourn has a machine at the Walker Ice & Fitness Center, two at Griff’s Icehouse, one at the Grand Rapids Ballet Company and one at Rivertown Sports in Grandville. He said the company scouts and secures locations, which must meet a foot traffic threshold and be a place where athletes and other health-conscious folks would hang out. Glenn DelVecchio, executive director of the Grand Rapids Ballet, said the machine in their cafeteria has been used every day since it was installed about two months ago. At the Academy of Dallas Charter School, students love buying snacks from the vending machine.
School officials recently put the new vending machine in the cafeteria as part of a healthy eating initiative. Wallace Wright II and Lori Wright are the first franchise owners of Fresh Healthy Vending in Dallas County, the company offering these healthier vending machines. The new vending machines are already a hit with students, who realize that changing their eating habits now will have lasting benefits when they are older. If students can drop bad habits now, replacing them with good ones, school officials are hopeful they will see a similar drop in obesity.
Chosen partner: Subway is one of the few fast food brands that will work with the Partnership for a Healthier America to help advance the goals of Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Aware of the backlash, the USDA is allowing schools to make some of their own decisions on what constitutes marketing and asking for comments on some options. Positive marketing only: Snapple is the exclusive beverage in city public schools as well as at parks and other public areas.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) Smart Snacks in School standards state that by July 1, 2014, snacks and beverages sold during school hours must adhere to strict nutritional guidelines.
These new machines have LCD screens that can display ads to help district maximize revenues, says Andre Bramwell, owner of Candyman Vending Service, a Houston-based company that serves 22 schools. For example, for every $2 bottle of healthy V8 Splash a student purchases, the schools that work with Candyman make 20 cents, based on the company’s typical 10 percent commission rate. Healthy Vending offers a rate of 10 to 20 percent of total sales, depending on machine volume. The company will make up the difference if, after 30 days, schools see less revenue from their Healthy Vending machines than they had from their previous machines. Companies such as Star Food Healthy Express sell temperature-controlled machines that can serve USDA reimbursable lunch meals in about 20 seconds. This quick, cashless system, which integrates with most schools’ point-of-service meal accounts, allows more students to be served more quickly. Stocking vending machines in-house can be more profitable than partnering with a vendor, says Jim Dillingham, CEO of Vend-ucation, a vending information company.


In high tech machines, who opens a machine and at what time is all recorded, says Dillingham.
The high profit has come, in part, from students being able to access at least one of the machines after school. If a provider has a low price on water but a high price on healthy juice, the juice can be bought elsewhere, Hoffman says. Food services keeps all proceeds and Hoffman says he has used funds to provide free fruit at the middle and high schools. The company stocks vending machines with healthy organic snacks, smoothies and natural sodas.
They stand apart from the standard brown and black vending machines found in cafeterias and break rooms.
Under the $4.5 billion Obama bill, federal reimbursement for free school lunches increased by 6 cents a meal and expanded access to free lunch programs and after-school meals. In a world of fast food restaurants and vending machines, a local company is trying to bring healthy alternatives to the community, starting with area schools. Rules for other school fundraisers, like bake sales and marketing for those events is still up to individual schools or states.Off-campus fundraisers, like an event at a local fast-food outlet that benefits a school, are still permitted. For $166 million Snapple will promote New York - all over a five year period, with most money going to the schools). This game changer has left district leaders looking to adapt their vending machines to become healthier yet stay profitable.
For example, this helps administrators ensure that vending machines will not be sold out of water or popular snacks before big events like basketball games, Kelley says. Concessions sold at afterschool sports games are exempt.The healthier food rules have come under fire from conservatives who think the government shouldn't dictate what kids eat — and from some students who don't like the healthier foods. But posters advertising the fast food are no longer allowed in school hallways.The rules also makes allowances for major infrastructure costs — that scoreboard advertising Coca-Cola, for example, won't have to be immediately be torn down, but school has to get one with a healthier message the next time its replaced.
American Beverage Association President and CEO Susan Neely said in a statement that aligning signage with the healthier drinks that will be offered in schools is the 'logical next step.''Mrs. So there is no arbitrary product delivery schedule and the vending provider can fill the machines when certain products are almost sold out. Obama's efforts to continue to strengthen school wellness make sense for the well-being of our schoolchildren,' Neely said.Although Mrs.



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