Vending Options in Orlando and Central Florida

A Day to Commemorate the Orlando and Central Florida Vending Machine

Vending Options in Orlando and Central Florida

March 7 is now an important day for Orlando and Central Florida residents who have purchased an item from or worked with a vending machine or the products it delivers. National Vending Day, a day of celebration developed by NAMA, is “a point-in-time to recognize vending and the value it provides to millions of consumers, 24/7/365.”

You might be wondering what type of value the vending industry provides. Vending is found in every community in the U.S., is an essential component of the Convenience Services industry and is a big contributor to the Convenience Services nearly $25 billion economic impact. According to NAMA, the Convenience Services industry provides “140,000 good paying jobs with $7.21 billion in wages, [and] pays $3.5 billion taxes at every level of government.” Add in the wide variety of snacks, beverages and fresh food, and it’s easy to see the value.

As we celebrate the vending industry today and look toward the future, let’s pause and look back at a bit of vending machine history.

The concept of a vending machine has been around for a lot longer than most Orlando and Central Florida residents realize. In fact, the first vending machine was said to have been referenced by the mathematician Hero in 215 BC in Ancient Egypt. In his machine, the user placed a coin in the machine and received holy water. Other important dates include:

1886: U.S. granted several patents for coin-operated dispensers.

1888: Tutti-Frutti gum vending machines were installed in a Orlando and Central Florida subway station.

1946: The first coffee vending machines were invented.

1950: Refrigerated sandwich vending machines expanded the lunch menu.

1960: Dollar bill changers were added to vending banks, and single-cup coffee vending machines were introduced.

1961: Canned soft drink vending machines offered customers a new beverage option.

1972: Glass-front snack machines were introduced.

1985: Credit card / debit card devices for vending machines were introduced.

1987: First hand-held computers that electronically captured vending data were used, and frozen food vending machines were introduced.

1991: Flavored coffees, espresso and cappuccino were introduced in coffee machines.

1993: First remote wireless transmission of data from machines to warehouses occurred.

Vending Options in Orlando and Central Florida

How will the next 100+ years change the vending industry? What will the break rooms of the late 21st century look like? While we can’t predict what a future Orlando and Central Florida break room will look like, we can make sure that the break room of 2019 meets the needs of today’s employees. In additional to traditional and healthy vending, micro-markets and office coffee service are just a couple of the refreshment options that will help create the ultimate break room today.

For more information about updating your current break room or performing a complete makeover, please contact The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632. Let’s celebrate together!

healthy snacks in orlando and central florida

Healthy Snacks are a Necessity in Orlando and Central Florida Break Rooms

healthy snacks in orlando and central florida

Consumer demand for convenient and healthy snacks such as cereal bars, energy bars and other snack bars is growing. According to market research firm Mordor Intelligence, the snack bar market value is expected to increase by 22 percent between 2017 and 2023. That translates to a lot of snack bars.

The researchers believe that the changing lifestyle of Orlando and Central Florida employees will continue to play an important role in the expected increase. Consuming three large meals per day is gradually being replaced with smaller meals or larger, healthy snacks that are enjoyed more frequently throughout the day. Manufacturers have responded to this shift by developing a snack bar for every occasion from protein-filled energy bars to fruit bars that will satisfy a sweet tooth.

But it’s not just any type of snack bar or meal-like snack that will do. Orlando and Central Florida employees are looking for healthy products with “clean” ingredients, reduced sugar, higher amounts of protein and functional ingredients. Reduced amounts of sugar usually mean fewer calories, protein stabilizes blood sugar levels and slows digestion, and functional ingredients serve more than one purpose. 
Other convenient and healthy snacks that have higher levels of protein and lower amounts of sugar and can be found in the break room include beef jerky, trail mix, Greek yogurt, cheese, nuts, roasted chickpeas, and hummus and veggies.

healthy snacks in orlando and central florida

Even though the previously listed snacks are usually higher in protein, lower in sugar and often categorized as healthy, it is important to remember to pay attention to the serving size and the information on the nutrition label. Many of these types of snacks can be high in added sugar or calories. To help Orlando and Central Florida employees make sure that they don’t get too much, they should always ask, “Is the package that the snack bar or yogurt or nuts came in considered a portion or a serving size?” 

You might be thinking that they are the same thing, but no, they aren’t. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, “A portion is how much food you choose to eat at one time, whether in a restaurant, from a package, or at home. A serving, or serving size, is the amount of food listed on a product’s Nutrition Facts, or food label…Depending on how much you choose to eat, your portion size may or may not match the serving size.” 

Another way to help your Orlando and Central Florida employees eat healthier is to offer healthy snacks and beverages in the break room vending machine or micro-market. The easier it is to find and purchase great-tasting, healthy options including snack bars, the more likely an individual is to go that route. There’s an extra bonus too. Satiated, hydrated and healthy employees who stay on-site to grab a bite to eat or drink are more productive and creative. Spontaneous conversations among coworkers always seem to happen when they are least expected.

For more information about any of our vending service options including office coffee service or to customize a menu for your specific location, contact The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632. 

beverage options in Orlando and Central Florida

Three Beverage Trends to Explore in Orlando and Central Florida During 2019

beverage options in Orlando and Central Florida

Everyone has that one beverage that they can’t live without. It might be a perfectly brewed cup of coffee, a specific brand of bottled water, or a favorite carbonated beverage from childhood. While those beverages often spark feelings of contentment, comfort or happiness, there are new cold beverages out there waiting to be discovered.

In 2019, Orlando and Central Florida employees will find new approaches to three very popular beverages, soft drinks, coffee and iced tea.

Artisan or Craft Soft Drinks

The interest in artisan or craft soft drinks has increased as Orlando and Central Florida consumers look to explore new products and flavors and seek to match their personal beliefs with the products they purchase. Craft soft drinks are thought to be healthier as they are made from natural and organic ingredients and are made by smaller, more artisanal companies who put a lot of care into their products. For consumers and these producers, craft soft drinks are not simply consumable products; they have a story to tell. Whether it’s helping their local community or the environment, each organization and/or beverage has a specific focus and purpose.

Cold-brew Coffee

Cold-brew coffee has been available for a couple years in a small number of locations, but that has changed. Today, this coffee beverage can be found in a variety of Orlando and Central Florida locations in several different forms including ready-to-drink, single-serve containers, bulk containers, and on tap. Crafted at room temperature over a long period of time, cold brew is up to 70 percent less acidic than traditionally brewed hot coffee. The more balanced, lower acidic levels of cold brew are the result of a slower, cooler brewing process and are responsible for a smoother, creamier, full-bodied and less bitter taste profile.

beverage options in Orlando and Central Florida

Specialty Iced Tea  

While iced tea, as we know it today, has been around since the early 1900s, new and specialty flavors are making their way to the front of the line. For many Orlando and Central Florida consumers, the traditional flavors from unsweetened black or green tea are not enough. Consumers want the benefits of unsweetened tea, but they also want a sweeter flavor without the extra sugar. The hibiscus plant is a popular solution to the problem with its sweet flavor and bright, appealing color, and there has been a 62 percent increase in its use in iced tea since 2014. Offering specialty iced teas in ready-to-drink containers such as cans and bottles has also helped increase the visibility and availability of these tasty beverages.

Can Orlando and Central Florida employees purchase any of these beverage choices in their breakroom? Instead of going offsite to purchase a craft soft drink, a cold-brew coffee, or a specialty iced tea, meet your employees where they are — at work. 

Whether it’s customizing a new vending machine or micro-market beverage menu, The Vending Station can help. We offer a wide variety of hot and cold beverages as well as snacks and fresh food. For more information or to schedule a tasting, please contact us at (407) 891.7632.

micro market options in Orlando and Central Florida

Draw Orlando and Central Florida Employees to the Break Room with a Micro-Market

micro market options in Orlando and Central Florida

Why should employers consider adding a micro-market to the break room? Because micro-markets have become an integral part of the Orlando and Central Florida break room experience. Not only are there more micro-markets today than there were a few years ago, but micro-markets are projected to continue to see impressive growth.

Many of the benefits enjoyed by Orlando and Central Florida employees and employers after using a micro-market are intangible. For example, a creative break room design with a micro-market is a must-have retention tool for current employees, and a high-value benefit that potential employees seek. Other benefits that are often seen include:

  • a boost in employee morale and productivity
  • an increase in efficiency because employees stay onsite, and the micro-market is open 24 hours per day
  • meeting the needs of those employees who do not work traditional hours
  • a bigger space that allows for additional healthy selections

Micro market options in Orlando and Central Florida

Employees have a lot of options when it comes to choosing where to purchase something to eat or drink during the workday. A micro-market offers a wide selection of fresh food, snacks, and beverages, but as with any retail endeavor, the customers’ preferences, or in this case, your employees’ preferences, need to be considered. Take the time to research and customize a micro-market menu that will keep your Orlando and Central Florida employees coming back.

For example, pizza is a popular meal to include on the menu. A recent survey found that 86 percent of participants would be willing to give something up for a year to have free pizza whenever they want. Americans love pizza. For those employees who are in the mood for something different, a variety of sandwiches, burritos, soups and salads make excellent options. With the extra space available in a micro-market, employees can also enjoy a wide selection of traditional and healthy snacks and beverages, and office coffee service.

Keep your Orlando and Central Florida employees returning to the break room with a micro-market designed by The Vending Station. To learn more about micro-markets or to set up a consultation, please contact us at (407) 891.7632.

healthy snacks in orlando and central florida

Orlando and Central Florida’s Secret Weapon for Healthy Eating

healthy snacks in orlando and central florida

For many in the Orlando and Central Florida area, the holiday season is a time for celebration. Maintaining healthy eating habits often fall to the wayside during November and December. Now that it’s the start of a new year, it’s time to reassess the state of one’s eating habits at work and at home. The Right Choice for a Healthier You™, a workplace nutrition education program that focuses on helping employees make healthy choices, can help.

The Right Choice for a Healthier You™ program is sponsored by USConnect®, a nationwide food service network with providers in the Orlando and Central Florida area. USConnect®’s network consists of the leading independent food service companies in the United States. The Right Choice for a Healthier You™ has an extensive website focused on making healthy choices. Visitors to the website can learn more about nutrition, healthy food options and exercise. The website is loaded with healthy recipes that are delicious and easy to prepare.  Additional resources link visitors to websites that provide fitness tracking, nutrition calculators, ways to sleep better and tips for reducing stress. The Vending Station is an independent vending service provider in the greater Orlando and Central Florida area. It is part of the USConnect network and offers The Right Choice for a Healthier You™ program to its clients. The company provides an extensive variety of healthy food and beverage vending options to their customers. Snacks, beverages and foods that meet The Right Choice for a Healthier You™ dietary guidelines are marked with the program’s heart logo so they stand out as healthy choices. This makes it easier for employees to make healthy selections when they visit the break room.

healthy snacks in orlando and central florida

Employee well-being can be further promoted through corporate wellness initiatives that are supported by The Right Choice for a Healthier You™. Companies can rely on expert help in developing programs through free consultation services with a registered dietitian. Workplace wellness programs go a long way toward establishing a healthy mindset in the workplace and reinforcing good habits that extend into employees’ lives at home.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a continuous work in progress. This time of year, many of us have to work a little harder. The Right Choice for a Healthier You™ guides us towards better nutrition and better living now and all throughout the year. Check out their website at www.therightchoiceforahealthieryou.com.

The Vending Station provides premium vending, office coffee and water filtration services to its customers. Contact us at (407) 891.7632 to improve the healthfulness of your workplace in the New Year.

Coffee options in Orlando and Central Florida

Orlando and Central Florida Office Coffee Service Must-Haves

Coffee options in Orlando and Central Florida

Morning jolt, liquid energy, or as many Orlando and Central Florida residents also know it, coffee is crucial for a successful work day. In fact more than 60 percent of adults recently surveyed by the National Coffee Associated shared that they had consumed coffee at some point during the previous day. Rather than worrying about how many people drink coffee each day, employers should be more concerned about which types of beverages those individuals drank. Providing only traditional coffee in the break room for 60 percent of adults definitely won’t meet the work day demand for different types of coffee bean-based beverages.

Current and potential employees have a number of must-have requirements when it comes to their workplace office coffee service (OCS) and are willing to go off site to find them if they aren’t available in the break room. Must-have doesn’t mean like-to-have or would-be-nice. Must-have means critical, essential, imperative, indispensable, integral, necessary, needed, required, requisite, or vital. To meet Orlando and Central Florida’s employees’ demands and compete with off-site options, break room benefits including OCS needs to exceed current employee expectations. Keeping employees on site for coffee breaks isn’t the only thing employers should consider.

Coffee options in Orlando and Central Florida

Excellent OCS can also be used to meet a variety of expectations among the different generations of your current employees and to recruit new employees. If you’re looking for a way to improve your break room benefits, boost your Orlando and Central Florida break room experience with our top 5 OCS must-haves:

  • Cold brew: It has a smoother taste and lower acidity level than traditional coffee, and is now available almost everywhere.
  • The right combination of brewing equipment: Whether it’s traditional brewing equipment (traditional brewers, single-cup brewers, or bean-to-cup brewers), advanced brewing technology or both, provide equipment that will brew an excellent cup of coffee and barista-quality espresso-based beverages.
  • Consider the optimal mix, varieties, and quality of coffee beans as well as a well thought out menu offering teas and non-caffeinated hot beverages. Rotate the selections, ask for feedback, and use that feedback to improve your services.
  • Offer sought-after snacks, fresh food, and cold beverages including delicious water from a bottle-less water filtration system.
  • Provide nicely organized and fully-stocked OCS condiments including a variety of sugars and sweeteners, dairy and non-dairy creamers, stir sticks, and environmentally-friendly cups, lids, napkins, and utensils.

Which office coffee service must-haves are already available in your Orlando and Central Florida break room? Whether you have none or just a couple of them, we can help you transform your break room into a valued employee benefit. For more information or to upgrade your current space, call The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to hearing from you.

healthy options in Orlando and Central Florida

Healthy and Fun Food Trends in Orlando and Central Florida

healthy options in Orlando and Central Florida

Finding the right balance between healthy and not-so-healthy foods can be challenging especially if one’s current diet feels boring, but it doesn’t have to be. A variety of new food trends can be found throughout Orlando and Central Florida that will satisfy a healthy craving or offer a bit of silliness and hopefully, bring things into balance.   

Healthy Food Trends

Turmeric Milk or Golden Milk: The primary ingredients in this beverage are cow’s or plant-based milk, turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger. Not only does this beverage contain antioxidants and powerful anti-inflammatory properties, but it has also been found to help form new connections in the brain and promote brain cell growth.

Gut-Friendly Foods: This group of foods includes sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kefir, and pickles, all of which have undergone the process of fermentation or pickling. A short explanation of fermentation is that yeast or bacteria is added to a particular food and then feeds on the natural sugars in that food. The result is a preserved product that contains gut-healthy probiotics and other helpful nutrients.  

Drinkable Soups: Easy to enjoy on-the-go or throughout the workday, drinkable soups are made with vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant-packed produce and are packaged in ready-to-drink containers. Similar in consistency to smoothies, drinkable soups offer a more filling, higher fiber, and lower sugar option that can replace a less healthy snack.

Healthy is super important, but we also need a little fun in our lives. Enjoying fun food trends (in moderation of course) is a great way to taste something new and have fun.

healthy options in Orlando and Central Florida

Fun Food Trends
Rolled Ice Cream: Part of what makes rolled ice cream so intriguing is its preparation method. Using a process that is similar to the one used to make a classic Yule log dessert, liquid ice cream is poured on a cold slate which freezes the ice cream. The frozen sheet of ice cream is then rolled by hand, sliced, and served with a variety of toppings. Yum!

Doughnuts with Customized-Fillings: ‘Boutique’ doughnut shops have been popping up across the U.S., and the options are endless. Unique ingredients include sweet and regular potato, pumpkin, and fruit jellies. Fillings and flavors such as custard, snickers bars, and banana malt and toppings like bacon, marshmallows, and cereal can also be found. There’s a flavor combination for everyone.

Instead of seeing your Orlando and Central Florida employees always going off site to find something healthy or fun to eat, provide them with a reason to stay on site. Offer a balance of healthy and fun beverage, snack, and food options in your break room micro-market or vending machines. To create a customized menu for your organization, survey your employees about their preferences, but don’t forget to include coffee service options in your survey. Coffee, tea, and espresso-based beverages can also be fun and healthy.

Increase the odds that all of your Orlando and Central Florida employees can find something in the break room with a custom break room menu designed by The Vending Station. We can help you create a space that is inviting, fun, and relaxing all at the same time. For more information, call The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632.

Snacks in Orlando and Central Florida

Salty Snacks Get Better-for-You in Orlando and Central Florida

Snacks in Orlando and Central Florida

With all of the cookies, cakes, pies, and sweet snacks that will likely be enjoyed during the next couple months, Orlando and Central Florida employees shouldn’t be afraid to include a few better-for-you salty snacks to balance everything out. Salt can have a bit of a bad reputation, but the word or concept of salt shouldn’t cause anyone to be fearful.

Salt is a mineral made of sodium and chloride, and it plays an important role in maintaining human health. The right amount of salt helps balance fluid levels in the body as well as helping muscles and nerves function properly.

But, and it’s a big one, consuming too much salt can cause some very dangerous health conditions. And therein lies the challenge — understanding where the line is between too much and too little salt, and choosing healthy ways to get the correct amount of salt for your body.

In 2018, snacks have played a more complex role in our daily diet than they did just a few years ago. David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, explained that “more consumers have moved away from the traditional three meals per day and shifted into a lifestyle involving increased snacking, or multiple smaller meals, throughout the day.”

A recent survey by Surveygoo supports that as 92 percent of the Millennials surveyed said they replaced a meal with a snack at least once a week. 50 percent did it four times a week and 26 percent, did it seven times per week.

Snacks in Orlando and central Florida

New better-for-you salty snacks or mini meals are now made with alternative (non-potato) ingredients such as proteins, grains, vegetables, and superfoods, and include new taste, texture, and flavor combinations. It’s clear that a shift has occurred to include an expanded definition of the snack. Both types of snacks, the traditional and the “mini-meal” healthy snack, need to be available in the Orlando and Central Florida break room.

Employees are looking for new ways to combat the afternoon munchies and to fill a nutritional need during the work day. If that snack is not available at work, they will go elsewhere to find the snack or mini-meal that they need. Offering the combination of new flavors, textures, and healthier ingredients is an interesting way to draw hungry people to the break room.

To offer a wide variety of options for your Orlando and Central Florida employees, update your break room to include vending machines or a micro-market that offer a customized menu of snacks, beverages, and fresh food to meet your employees’ needs and preferences. Whether that means changing up your current offerings, adding coffee service, or updating your entire break room, The Vending Station can help. For more information, contact The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to working with you.

Coffee options in Orlando and Central Florida

Coffee, Cells, and the Domino Effect in Orlando and Central Florida

Coffee options in Orlando and Central FloridaFour cups of coffee. That’s all the caffeine it takes to trigger a protective effect in the human heart. Researchers have known for awhile that drinking coffee plays a positive role in lowering the risk of developing type II diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, but the how remained somewhat elusive. Until today. Researchers at the Medical Faculty, Heinrich-Heine-University and the IUF-Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Duesseldorf, Germany have discovered new knowledge about how caffeine interacts with cells in the human body.

All living beings, including humans, are made up of cells. In fact, there are about 200 different types of cells in a human body that do everything from creating linings to repairing different parts of the heart muscle. It’s the caffeine in those four cups of coffee that triggers the domino effect which ends with the protection and repair of the heart muscle.

In a very simplified explanation, caffeine is like the hand that knocks over the first domino in a long line of dominoes. Each time a domino falls, it starts a new reaction in the next domino until the very last domino tips over, and the process is complete. For one of the types of cells in the human heart, caffeine creates an environment where the heart muscle cells are protected from damage or repaired when damage happens.  

Coffee options in Orlando and Central Florida

In a different line of dominoes, caffeine is one of the many components that help Orlando and Central Florida employees stay healthy. Healthy employees then contribute to the process of creating a successful workplace by being productive, alert, and energized. Employers have the opportunity to play an important role in this line of dominoes by providing a variety of snacks and beverages that contain caffeine in the break room vending machine.

Coffee isn’t the only beverage that contains caffeine. Both hot tea and cold sweet tea contain caffeine although the caffeine levels will vary based on the type of tea. Matcha (tea) has the most caffeine followed by Yerba Mate, black tea, and oolong and green tea. Other cold beverages with caffeine include carbonated colas and energy drinks. Caffeinated snacks include products made with chocolate, protein bars, energy bars, espresso beans, and energy gum.Thankfully, there is a caffeinated option for almost everyone.  

Which caffeinated break room beverage or snack do your Orlando and Central Florida employees seek out the most? Is it coffee, or maybe something else? In any case, it is important to learn your employees’ preferences to be able to encourage them to stay onsite and visit the break room instead of leaving the premises and going to a local cafe or restaurant. The Vending Station would like to help your organization customize your employee break room to meet your employees’ coffee, snack, and beverage wishes. For more information about about micro-markets, coffee service, or vending services, contact us at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to working with you.

break room options in Orlando and Central Florida

Provide Hospitality Not Service in Your Orlando and Central Florida Break Room

break room options in Orlando and Central FloridaWhy does is matter if an employer’s break room provides its employees only with services? Isn’t it good enough if the space just fulfills specific employee needs? For example, an employee is thirsty, so they go to the vending machine and purchase a cold beverage. The vending machine provided a service to the employee by delivering the purchased beverage.

The short answer to the previous questions is no, it isn’t enough, and because people or employees are more than just their thirst or hunger.

In 2018, only delivering services in the break room is not enough. Today, the majority of Orlando and Central Florida employees want to feel confident that their employee benefits and perks will have a meaningful and positive impact of their quality of life. In other words, they want to experience that hospitality brings. These benefits and perks often include onsite gyms, dry cleaning, and in-office meal options such as pantry service, a micro-market, or gourmet cafe-style coffee service.

To elevate break room perks beyond being only a service, employers need to add the practice of hospitality into the mix. According to the Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, hospitality is

  1. “[the] generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests” and
  2. “the activity of providing food, drinks, etc. for people who are the guests or customers of an organization.”

break room options in Orlando and Central FloridaJim Sullivan, author, and CEO and founder of Sullivision.com, recently described hospitality as “smiles, sincerity, warmth, [and] connection” and said that “hospitality fulfills people.” After blending hospitality with their Orlando and Central Florida break room, employees can experience an inviting atmosphere that boosts morale, encourages collaboration, and provides a variety of beverages, snacks, and food. But what does this mean in terms of the physical space?

The difference between service and hospitality in a physical space is subtle, but very important. Specific features including updated lighting, plants or other connections to nature, specialty coffee (ex. free-trade or a private label), high-end micro-market fixtures, and locally-made snacks or fresh food are added to the traditional, tangible items like vending machines, coffee equipment, and open racks and glass front coolers. Not only are the needs of thirsty and hungry employees being met, but Orlando and Central Florida employees’ desire for specialty coffee or snacks and a higher-end experience are being fulfilled — and that is hospitality in the break room.

To customize and upgrade the hospitality level in your office break room, call The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to hearing from you.