Tony Danna, vice president of international development at Three Square Market, (AP Photo/Jeff Baenen)

Breakroom Markets: ‘A Huge Opportunity Beckons.’

Halfway through our 5-pronged look at breakroom markets, Tony Danna of Three Square Markets returns to sum-up what’s on offer and to challenge you to be amongst the UK’s ‘first movers’ in a fast developing marketplace and grow your business to new heights

By any barometer of suitability, sustainability or maturity, the British workplace is prepared and ready to enjoy the benefits incumbent in breakroom markets.

The timing is right: so, you may wonder, why is it taking so long for them to gain a foothold in the UK, as they have in the US?

Two words: ‘vested interests’. In the States, as we discovered in Kurk Johnson’s incisive article on Planet Vending, companies that had made a living from operating vending machines only turned to breakroom markets when their businesses began to fail.

Kurk Johnson

Although times are tough, it’s rare in the UK to hear of the demise of an independently owned vending company. So, there’s no urgency out there to embrace a concept that requires, to make it work, a different set of management and entrepreneurial skills…

Three Square Market, having enjoyed a meteoric growth in business across the pond, have acknowledged that things are going to be different here. Rather than offering an alternative to vending, they are embracing the industry by offering operators another string to their bow.

Tony Danna: Find him at Vendex

‘We decided a while ago that our most effective route to market wasn’t about beating vending operators and their machine suppliers, but joining them’, Tony Danna said. ‘We joined the AVA, earned accreditation to the AVA’s quality system and demonstrated our long-term commitment to the UK by hiring locally and building a real presence here.’

The next task was to make the purchasing decision as simple as possible. ‘We created ‘off-the-shelf’ kiosk models, ranging in price from £1,999 to £3,899, depending upon the size of the location and the amount of money the operator wanted to spend’, Tony said. ‘The kiosks are ‘white label’, giving you the opportunity to brand it with either your own, or your customer’s logo. By doing all this, we’ve made it feasible for a breakroom market to work in just about any size of location.’

Having ticked that box, stage two in Tony’s mission was the addition of features to the system designed to help vending operators use breakroom markets to win new business. ‘When you’re ready to go live, we can create coupons so you can set up meal deals, individual product discounts, specials or even subsidies for certain products’, he said. ‘These coupons can be set for specific times in the day, week or month. For example, you could choose to offer a product at a discounted price before 8AM or after 5PM as an ‘overtime benefit’. Breakroom markets are perfect for the creation of loyalty schemes. You can work with brands to reward customers, with offers such as ‘buy 5 and get the 6th for 50p’; or ‘buy 9 coffees, get number 10 for free.’ Another way to reward loyalty is to set point values for particular products. As customers purchase these products, points are allocated to their accounts which can be redeemed against future purchases.’

Employees Love Breakroom Markets
Employees Love Breakroom Markets

Breakroom markets are perfect if you want to create a positive impression for visitors to a site. By issuing them with passes that work just like gift cards, you can offer them a meal of their choice, with your compliments. The same concept can also be used to reward your ‘employee of the week’, for example.

‘You can set up advertisements or other messages to play on the screen’, Tony said. ‘These advertisements can be brand led and related to the use of the breakroom market, or they might be to do with ‘housekeeping’ on site.’

Because breakroom markets are installed in ‘closed’ environments, the whole world of payment options is at your customers’ fingertips. They can immediately by credit card or cash; they can choose to deposit funds into a market account for future purchases. They can even use RFID or fingerprints to log into their market accounts to make quick and easy purchases. Meanwhile, you can even set up deposit bonuses to keep users coming back to your market.  Talk about ‘ultimate convenience’!

And that’s what breakroom markets represent to those employees fortunate enough to have one on site: the ultimate convenience. If we can reiterate a point Tony made in his first article?

‘In 2011, there were about 950 micro markets in the U.S. By 2015, there were about 13,000; by the end of 2016, 17,000. That says a lot, doesn’t it? And I know I’m not alone in believing that the UK is poised right now to experience a similar explosion of breakroom markets. A breakroom market at work is something staff regard as a boon, an advantage; a reflection of their company’s interest in their well-being. Take it to the market, folks: I think you’ll find that you’re pushing on an open door…’

You’ll have to leave the past behind and embrace breakroom markets at the expense of offering solutions requiring vending machines to make the concept fly: but we really think that, in terms of delivering food, snacks and cold beverages to the marketplace this is what today’s employees want, today.

Breakroom Market Microscope Two

Perhaps the words of the ineffable jazz man, Dr. John, will resonate with you? He sang, ‘If I don’t do it, y’know somebody else will…’

You can get your micro market preparations started by contacting Tony Danna at tonyd@32market.com or (+44)01156972008.

Visit them on Vendex at Stand D15 and see the different kiosk options for yourself.

About the author

Yvonne Reynolds-Young

Planet Vending’s MD and Publisher is Yvonne Reynolds-Young. An island of corporate common sense surrounded by oceans of creative madness, Yvonne is the person to call if your intention is to make something happen. (She controls all the diaries and all the money, FYI). She’s also our Social Media Queen, single-handedly responsible for building PVs presence on LinkedIn, FaceBook and Twitter and thereby driving record volumes of traffic onto the site.

‘Customer service is my responsibility and it’s my job to make sure we’re always ahead of deadlines’ she says. ‘My background in big business means I speak the same language as our corporate clients and understand the particular pressures they face when working in the vending arena.’

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