College kids know that almost 90 percent of their daily diets come from vending machines. Campus cafeterias usually close at insanely early hours and late night cram/party sessions can only be fueled by stuffing dollars and coins into robotic looking boxes that dispense everything from Red Bull to herbal teas. The over-reliance on student vending machines is the perfect way to kick off an entrepreneurial career and make some cash while at college.
If you are thinking about purchasing a bunch of Coke or Pepsi machines to strategically scatter around campus, you should contact some school administrators first. Universities usually have large contracts with major distributors and will fight you tooth and nail to secure every dollar going into campus vending machines. Instead of trying to compete head on, take a page out of your Marketing 101 textbook and find a niche to sell to.
Websites like 1800Vending.com offer selections on some of the most modern and convenient machines available. If you are looking to start a nostalgic trend throughout the campus halls, take to sites like eBay to find deals on refurbished vintage machines from iconic brands like 7up and RC Cola to make an impact.
The Japanese have a long and steady tradition of creating products that draw the curiosity of the western world. Everything from Sony to Pokemon has caught on in a big way in the US and vending machines are no different. Instead of purchasing a traditional “drop-and-grab” machine, take the Japanese approach. Everything from French Fries to noodles to eggs can be prepared and served in a matter of minutes through today’s vending machine technology.
If your school does not have one already, you could look into the Coca-Cola Freestyle Soda Fountain. According to an article on Fast Company, this piece of modern vending technology gives customers over 100 flavor options for a truly customizable soda fountain experience; sure to beat a plain bottle of carbonated Diet Coke.
If you are able to procure the funds and secure enough investors for your venture, it is possible to present your fellow students a truly innovative vending experience. Recent innovations have led to more touchscreen and computer technology being used at vending machines. These modern marvels can read your face, retinas, and fingerprints and memorize your favorite purchases if you are a repeat customer.
Just because your school already has vending machines doesn’t mean it couldn’t use more of them. Before starting a venture, always do your research and make sure you know the regulations placed on in-school vendors.