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All About Vending Machines in 2021

Despite what may feel like an outdated dining style, vending machines are surging as an intriguing and cost-effective dining solution due to labor shortages and demands for increased convenience. 


With the ability to operate 24/7, vending machines provide a great alternative to having a fully-staffed cafeteria around the clock and are now being built in a more flexible manner that accommodates fresh, healthy food items with ease – while allowing the contactless payment methods currently in high demand.


Some of the latest trends in vending include:


  • cashless and contactless payments
  • healthier selections
  • environmentally friendly machine specs and design
  • payment security


Incorporating these trends into your vending machine strategy will help you maximize your ROI and help your guests enjoy a great food and beverage vending experience.


Contactless payments on vending machines: a necessity

With the world trending in a contactless direction, modern vending machines have to be built to accommodate the array of contactless payment methods out there – from credit and debit cards, to mobile wallets, to inclining and declining balance accounts on employee badges. 


With many businesses opting for cashless models in the coming years, the transition to cashless is not just limited to physical POS terminals – it applies to vending machines, as well. Vending machines are increasingly supporting cashless payments through NFC and RFID technology, placing these readers on the vending machine in order to support non-cash payments. If you’re looking into implementing a vending machine solution, ensure that the ability to support mobile wallets, contactless RFID/NFC employee cards and badges, gift cards or swipe cards, and physical credit and debit cards are all supported. 


Vending machines can help increase revenue if correctly placed

While vending machines used to be seen more commonly in areas where fresh food is not available, they are now increasingly working with fresh food and assisting with the delivery of  prepared (not packaged) food and beverages around the clock. As vending machines become more complex, the offerings available in these machines are becoming increasingly closer to made-to-order food. 


For example, vending machines can now be refrigerated, and have larger slots for food such as sandwiches or fresh salads. This allows for operations to not only maximize their revenue by offering food in more places, while providing great alternatives to pre-packaged food that is traditionally found in vending machines, such as chips and chocolate.


Placement of your vending machine is critical to success. The machine needs to be placed in a high traffic area in order to offer the maximum return on investment. When placed appropriately, your bright, colorful, inviting vending machine with contactless payments becomes an easy option for guests no matter what time of day.


Modern food and beverage offerings in vending machines are necessary to get all ages to spend

Different demographics have different food and beverage preferences, in addition to having different technological abilities. Gen Z, for example, are considered to be “at the forefront of the digital payment revolution.” If you don’t equip your vending machines with contactless payments and food items that appeal to them, the likelihood of them taking advantage is slim to none. also discusses how vending machines with facial recognition are going to greet customers, remember favorite orders, and restrict specific items due to age or medical records. It’s this type of modernization to vending that will make the traditional vending machine a thing of the past, and deliver an interactive vending and checkout experience.

Shannon Moyes

Director of Business Development – Volanté Systems

Learn more about how Volanté can help your business.