The Different Types Of Vending Machines

Milk Venders

There are two types of milk vending machines. One is a carton vender. There are not many of them around. I have only seen one of them in my career.

The other is a bottle vender. This is the vender that most companies are using today. Dixie Narco is the vending machine manufacturer that makes the Beverage Max.

This machine can be found decorated to look like a dairy cow. It has 45 selections and a glass front so the customer can see what they are buying.

The big thing that you must remember with this machine is to keep the slides clean. The slides I’m talking about are what the milk bottle sits on.

When they get a small amount of dirt on them the milk stops sliding forward. When you’re filling this machine you will be rotating product. Every time you have an empty column take 2 seconds to wipe the slide.

This effort you put into keeping the slides clean eliminates 95% of all the problems this machine will give you.

Follow this link for more on which manufacturer most vendors prefer.

Cold Food Vending Machine

The cold food vending machine is the machine that will be selling items such as salads, sandwiches, breakfast items, or meals. These types of items are precooked and only need to be reheated.

There are two major types of cold food venders. One is called a glass front similar to a snack machine in appearance. The glass front machine operates the same as a snack machine.

The only difference is that the unit is refrigerated. These are fairly new in our industry. Some venders are experimenting with them. I feel like the verdict is still out on them. You may want to experiment with one but for now I recommend the turret style.

The turret style rotates on the inside of the machine. The customer can rotate the turret allowing them to see the selections that are available.

There are two types of food that most vendors carry. One is normally referred to as fresh food the other frozen food.

Fresh food is sandwiches, salads, burritos or any type of cold food that has never been frozen. It is prepared fresh and goes to the consumer without ever being frozen.

The cold food is perceived as being fresher than the frozen, which may help it to sell better. The down side to fresh food is the shorter life expectancy. There are some large vendors that produce their own cold food but for the most part there are companies that will prepare it for you.

The other type of food is what is referred to as frozen food. This type of food is prepared in the same manner as fresh food. The only difference is it is frozen immediately after it is prepared.

The perfect situation is when you carry a blend of both fresh and frozen. By having both you are most likely not going to over order on your fresh. If you run low on fresh you always have the frozen to fall back on. For more information on what is hot in cold food vending. The vendor needs to educate the consumer on what is a fair price for food from a cold food machine.

Coffee Vending Machines

Coffee vending is a very profitable segment of the vending industry. There are two types of machines available in today's market.

The first machine we'll talk about is the whole bean machine. From the customers perspective they view this machine as making the best possible cup of coffee. I'm a coffee lover and can't personally tell a difference.

The second machine is a ground coffee machine. This is the machine that most vendors use. It is very dependable and that's the reason vendors like it.

The coffee machines of today have come a long way from the early days. When you start with a good grade of coffee and filter the water before it enters the machine you will end with a good cup of coffee. Filtering the water not only helps with the taste of the coffee but also helps eliminate any problems with your equipment.

Your coffee machine will normally make cocoa, cappuccino, tea and decaffeinated coffee. The only down side to a coffee vending machine is they require more maintenance than most vending machines. Keep in mind that coffee vending machines are very profitable and will more than make up for the extra maintenance.

There is a new twist to the coffee vending machine and that is branded coffee machine vending.

Snack Vending Machine

This is a moneymaker for the vendor. The rule of thumb is never place a cold food machine without getting both the snack and soda business.

Over the years there has been several different types of snack vending machines. Most all vendors are using the glass front machines now. You can get the glass front with a single or double coil system. The double coils are used on bagged items and are more dependable in delivering product than a single coil.

Most larger offices and factories will have a snack machine on location for their employees. You can vend a large variety of product through your snack machines. Some of the different products would be.

Candy Bars


Granola Bars

Bag Candy





Most of these items have a long shelf life. The pastries are the shortest but many of them will give you a month of shelf life.

For the smaller locations that the large vendors seem to like to pass by you can purchase combo vending machines. These machines come in many different configurations. The one that is most commonly used is the Snack and Soda combination.

When you take a smaller location, say with less than 40 employees, the snack and soda combo can become a very profitable machine for you. When you place a cold food, snack, coffee and soda machine you can figure that the snack and soda will do about 65 to 70 percent of the business.

The cold food is not much better than a break-even proposition and the coffee does require more maintenance so you can see why I like the snack-soda combination.

Soda Vending Machine

This is probably the one area that machines are evolving into new areas of dispensing product the most rapidly. These machines can be put into two categories.

The first would be the soda machine that we have all seen. They are located in almost every type of account imaginable. This is the machine that the actual product can’t be seen. There are usually 9 or 10 buttons with a picture of a 12oz can or 20oz bottle with the name of the product also on the labels.

These machines have remained the same for a number of years. They are very dependable and can hold about 12 cases of 20oz bottles or approximately 18 cases of cans.

There is a can versus bottle debate going on as we speak in our industry.

The second type of machine is what most venders refer to as the glass front. These machines are similar to the glass front snack machines as you can see what you are about to purchase. The big advantage they have over the prior machine we discussed is the wide variety of product they can dispense.

These machines will hold both cans and bottles. The old style machines can also hold both cans and bottles but it is confusing to the customer. The glass front machine can hold up to 45 different selections while the old style will only hold nine or ten selections.

There are two different delivery systems in the glass front style. One is a gravity style where a gate opens letting the first drink in that column drop to the delivery door.

The other style is a robotic machine. The robotic arm picks the product from its column and delivers it to the customer through the customer delivery door.

The soft drink companies Pepsi, Coca Cola and Dr Pepper use all of the different styles of machines that I listed. There are three major suppliers of these machines Dixie Narco, Royal and Vendo.

Frozen Food Vending Machine

Frozen food venders are an item that takes the right account to do well. There are different companies making these machines in a variety of different configurations.

Some are robotic robotic and some are glass front machines. I have had good results using these machines filled with ice cream. With enough customers they do well.

If you are a vendor that has good sales from a frozen food machine I would enjoy hearing from you. Please click on our contact page and drop me a line.

Bill Changer

Every good size account should have a bill changer. Your customers will come to work with only a larger bill and will need to change it so they can purchase from you.

The best thing to do for them is to have the bill changer. If you set your vending machines up to take the larger bills you will constantly be running out of coins. When your machines run out of coins the use exact change light comes on.

When the exact change light comes on your customers become very agitated. The bill changer has a large capacity of coins which eliminates your problem.

The coin counter is a machine that all vendors need and will want to know more about. For information on the proper cleaning of your vending equipment.

Read more on the subject of used vending machines.

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