Honor Snack Boxes And Shortage Control

One of the first things an operator of honor snack boxes needs to know about is the shortage of money that she/he will experience. It is a fact of the business that there will be shortage and to be successful you will need to know how to control it.

My intent in this article is to give you the tools that will enable you to make an above average income in the honor snack box business. By reading on you will begin to understand what so few do and that is the reason the snack box business is still an area for growth.

The Different Forms Of Controlling Shortage

Some use preprinted cards that are similar to a Post It. Normally it will say something to the effect of “We enjoy serving you but you were short ______ on your last delivery”. The driver fills in the amount the account was short and sticks it on the box so as to make the account aware of the shortage.

A second way is to have a card that is approximately 12 inches in height and about 3 inches wide. These cards are placed behind the product in your box so that the product holds the card upright.

You can have several different cards that relay the message to your customer of the shortage problem. These cards never give the exact amount of the shortage but can be used with varying strengths of language to help you get your point across.

You will find it beneficial to have an animated character on your cards to help keep the level of concern down with those that pay each time they take an item. The person who is taking without paying has been made aware that you are watching while the person paying each time will probably be thinking it was just an oversight by a fellow employee that is going to make it up this time.

Preferred Shortage Control Method

For years I used the Post It style card and wrote in the amount of shortage. This is a very good way of letting the account know of the problem but can be a little too strong. Some business owners just can’t believe that their employees would take without paying and when you put the amount down it is a shock to them.

This can be good in one way because many owners will lay down the law in trying to help you with your problem. While on the other extreme the owner may just tell you to take it out as they don’t want to be responsible or don’t believe their employees would take without paying.

When Should You Card A Customer?

You will want to think through about when to card a customer. In most cases you will be more than doubling your money on the product you are selling.

In most cases I personally would not card a customer until they were over 15% shortage. You still have a good profit margin at this rate of shortage. As long as it doesn’t get any worse you will be making a good profit for the time you are investing.

When Should You Pull A Box Out Of An Account?

I would not pull any snack box that was not at least hitting over 50% shortage for an extended period of time. Many times an account will straighten itself out if given the opportunity to.

Each operator of honor snack boxes has her/his own level of shortage tolerance and I may have been too tolerant but I must say the snack box business treated me very well financially.


I personally like the 12” tall cards as they can be used many times before an operator will need to replace them. They are also less disturbing to those people at an account that always pay for what they take.

Be careful when it comes to carding an account. You need to understand the business you are in and that there will be some shortage with honor snack boxes. I always like to refer to what vending machine operators do; they pay their accounts a commission to get the business.

Is shortage any different than paying a commission?

It was a rare event that I would ever pull an account. I always believed that if given enough time I could turn an account around and make it a profitable venture.

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