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Vending Business Information, Issue #034 -- Vending In Schools
September 24, 2011

Vending In Schools

This article will explore a little of the history of vending in the schools. We will also discuss vending in the school system today. As with anything there are pros and cons to this side of vending. Letís get started.

School Vending In The Past

My first experience with vending in the school system was with an honor snack box, which was placed in the teachers lounge. I serviced several schools with this form of vending.

I had a high school on my snack box route and talked with the principal about supplying them with a snack machine if they would buy the product from me, of course, at a wholesale price.

The students were put in charge of ordering and filling the machine and we would making money selling product in boxes or cases. We would take the order and then deliver it on our next trip through the area.

We did this for two years and after the first year we started seeing that the students where not rotating the product. Feeling bad for the school I talked with the principal and we came to the conclusion that the next year we would take care of the machine and pay the school a commission.

We serviced the school until the pressure from those that knew better than the student what they should be eating changed everything.

The New Deal

The schools here in Iowa and in many states were given a list of healthy foods that could be sold in school vending machines. This is all good and well but most still wanted the Snicker bar and bag of potato chips.

Many of the students started buying their snacks before coming to school. This cut into the venderís sales in a big way.

Can You Still Make Money Vending In The Schools?

The schools could be a source of good income but I think in most cases to be profitable the vender will need to gear one route to service schools. The interval between fills will be longer because the students are not going to eat as much.

The dedicated route will be easier to monitor what is or isnít selling. The driver will become more familiar with the healthy items that do sell.

I think putting schools on with blue color stops will overload the truck with more product than most trucks can handle comfortably. It also would take a driver longer to figure out what is and isnít selling.


I would like to hear from venders that have been able to make the schools a profitable venture. It is a tough business now because you donít have the studentís first choice in your machines and there are still grocery stores and convenience stores that do.

As always, I truly enjoy hearing from all of you. I am constantly learning and welcome the new ideas you have. Keep the emails coming.

Your friend in business

Dennis Slack

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PS I have received the prototype of the new honor snack box. We are still making changes but are one step closer to production. Having two boxes and being able to offer the honor snack box operator a choice is my goal.

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