Office Coffee Service in Orlando and Central Florida

2019 Coffee Trends in Orlando and Central Florida

Office Coffee Service in Orlando and Central Florida

Coffee is important, especially to the 63 percent of American adults and Orlando and Central Florida individuals who drink it daily in 2019. The reason why it is important will vary based on the individual, but there is one overarching theme that has impacted the industry as a whole. 

Consumers’ values, especially toward coffee and where it comes from, have changed. Not only are Orlando and Central Florida consumers more aware of what they are drinking but they also consider sustainability, grower/roaster transparency and wellness benefits when choosing their beverages. The results of the National Coffee Association’s (NCA) newest report, 2019 National Coffee Data Trends (NCDT), reflects these ongoing changes.

To better understand three of the top trends included in the NCDT report, it’s important to first define the categories or terms that the NCA uses in the report.

Traditional – Not Gourmet: “not brewed from premium whole bean or ground varieties”

Traditional – Gourmet: “brewed from “premium varieties””  

Gourmet Beverages: includes two distinct sub-categories (1) espresso-based beverages, and (2) non-espresso-based beverages (ex. cold brew)

Office Coffee Service in Orlando and Central Florida

Three of the top trends in 2019 are

  • The percentage of gourmet beverages consumed by Americans the previous day increased to 61 percent. Drilling down a level, espresso-based beverages increased to 24 percent while non-espresso-based beverages increased to 11 percent. Traditional – gourmet decreased by 1 percent to 15 percent.
  • More often than in previous years, coffee and espresso-based beverages today are being prepared out of the home and enjoyed after the traditional breakfast hour. This shift in consumer behavior is reflected by the 6 percent decrease since 2012 of survey participants who brewed their coffee at home, and the 5 percent increase by those who enjoyed a coffee or espresso-based beverage made outside of the home.
  • For those in the under-40 demographic, 80 percent of survey participants were aware that cold brew is an option. 89 percent were also aware of ready-to-drink (RTD) choices. The increased awareness of cold brew and RTD beverages offers manufacturers an opportunity for innovation, whether in preparation methods or types of ingredients.

Do your Orlando and Central Florida employees feel the same way about their office coffee service (OCS) options? The Vending Station offers an extensive OCS and can help your organization customize the best solution for your employees from coffee and tea to cold beverages, healthy options or fresh food. To learn more or schedule a product sampling, please contact us at (407) 891.7632.

Vending Machine Options in Orlando and Central Florida

Orlando and Central Florida, Did You See the Bacon Vending Machine?

Vending Machine Options in Orlando and Central Florida

Students at Ohio State University proved once again that anything can be sold in a vending machine. In December of 2018, the meat science program at Ohio State and the Ohio Pork Council partnered to sell students packets of ready-to-eat bacon for $1 from a vending machine during finals week.

Unexpectedly successful, the students of the meat science program had to restock the machine four to five times per day just to keep up with demand. The fundraiser sold over 275 pounds of bacon in the eight-day period. 

So, how does a stand-alone machine that sells bacon end up on a college campus? Ohio State senior and part-time employee at the Ohio Pork Council, Meghann Winters, suggested it as a way to promote Ohio pork. Since the concept of offering cooked bacon via a vending machine was unheard of, Winters had to purchase an old vending machine and “baconify” it. 

Retrofitting the machine proved to be a challenging process. Per Winters, “Most vending machines are made for candy bars, not necessarily bacon. We had to make sure the packaging didn’t get caught as it was falling out. We also had to find shelf-friendly bacon.”

Vending Machine Options in Orlando and Central Florida

While a bacon vending machine is definitely unique, and the bacon delicious, that doesn’t mean “traditional” vending machines are boring. In fact, there are a variety of healthy and traditional snacks and beverages as well as fresh food in Orlando and Central Florida break room vending machines that will satisfy any palate. 

A frequent challenge is drawing attention to the snacks, beverages and fresh food, and encouraging employees to try something new. One way to overcome that hurdle is to host a taste-testing event. Orlando and Central Florida employees are more likely to try something they’ve never consumed if that item is free. A side benefit of satiated and happier employees is often increased morale and increased productivity. That sounds like a win for everyone.

Whether your break room needs a complete overhaul or just a few updates, The Vending Station can help. We offer a variety of refreshment services including sought-after, brand name snacks and beverages as well as fresh food in state-of-the-art vending machines. For more information, please contact The Vending Station at (407) 891-7632.

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!

Break Room Perks in Orlando and Central Florida

Orlando and Central Florida Employees Value Their Break Room Perks

Break Room Perks in Orlando and Central Florida

Employees value their break room perks. Whether it’s flexible working hours, professional development opportunities, gym memberships, working remotely, or meals or catered food, perks can have a big impact on an employee’s lifestyle quality. Perks also create a positive return on investment for employers. Lisa Oyler, human resources director at Access Development explained, “Perks are about creating a culture and environment where we hope we can find that work-life balance. If employees are happy at work, they’re going to produce more. This leads to higher retention.”

A cost-effective employee perk that is highly valued is the break room. But it isn’t just any type of break room. This break room should support community building, be aesthetically pleasing, let their employees know that employee well-being is important, and offer a variety of healthy and traditional snacks, food, and beverages.

Community

According to a recent survey by Clutch, a B2B research, ratings, and reviews company, “about half (47 percent) of part- or full-time employees value a community atmosphere in the place where they work.” A common way that groups of individuals build a sense of community is to share a meal, and that includes Orlando and Central Florida employees. The office break room provides a location where that can occur.

In order to draw employees into the break room, the space must be aesthetically pleasing and welcoming.

Break Room Perks in Orlando and Central Florida

Aesthetics

More than 60 percent of employees surveyed by Clutch want a pleasant, modern, and comfortable workspace. The problem arises when only 47 percent of those employees actually have a space they find agreeable. This discrepancy should be concerning to Orlando and Central Florida employers.

Creating an aesthetically pleasing break room can vary from a few small design changes to a complete overhaul. Features that appeal to most employees include increasing the amount of natural lighting, updating fixtures, incorporating aspects of nature such as plants, wood, or water, and adding new places to socialize or take a nap.   

Current and Future Employees

A transformed break room creates a community atmosphere and helps employees connect with each other. It also draws in potential new hires. Break room perks like micro-markets and pantry service in inviting spaces help Orlando and Central Florida employers build a stronger relationship with current employees as well as show new hires that their quality of life matters.

Unfortunately, two out of five employers don’t offer any employee perks. Use this knowledge to your advantage — customize your Orlando and Central Florida break room so it meets your employees needs. Whether it’s adding office coffee service or healthy vending machines, or designing a completely new space, The Vending Station can help. For more information, call us at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to hearing from you.

Chocolate Snacks in Orlando and Central Florida

Sustainable Cocoa in Orlando and Central Florida Snacks

Chocolate Snacks in Orlando and Central Florida

Everyone, well almost everyone, loves to enjoy chocolate as one of their daily snacks. Whether it’s dark chocolate or milk chocolate, the key ingredient is cocoa. Without cocoa there are no chocolate snacks in Orlando and Central Florida. Frank Mars, board member of Mars, Inc recently spoke at the Fourth World Cocoa Conference about his concern about the future of cocoa, and that should concern all chocolate lovers.

According to Frank Mars, the participants at the conference need “to think differently and work harder together; not only on better [cocoa] plant varieties and farming practices and models, but also on pest and disease control.” Mars further explained that the current progress is not enough to make cocoa sustainable unless more change is made.

Sustainable Cocoa

So what exactly is sustainable cocoa? According to the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa, sustainable cocoa is cocoa “produced according to economic, environmental, and social requirements, either through internationally recognized standards such as Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade, or through sourcing comparable to those standards, which have been verified by an “approved method.” Put simply, cocoa farmers need to be able to produce more cocoa seed on less land with fewer pesticides. The increased cocoa yields would allow farmers to plant crops for themselves in place of less efficient cocoa trees thereby improving their own livelihood and quality of life.

Chocolate Snacks in Orlando and Central Florida

Orlando and Central Florida Employees

Why should Orlando and Central Florida employees be concerned about the cocoa in their chocolate snacks? Because the quality of cocoa used to make chocolate snacks is impacted by the growing, harvesting, fermenting & drying (processing), roasting & grinding, and pressing methods used to make cocoa. Growing, harvesting, and fermenting & drying (processing) are also stages that are directly impacted by sustainable farming practices.

This is important because according to recent research by the Mars Center for Cocoa Health Science, “harvesting and processing of the cocoa seed determines the final cocoa flavanol content,” and “the cocoa seed has a unique combination of flavanols that is found in no other food exactly as it is found in cocoa.” Flavanols are beneficial for Orlando and Central Florida employees’ health. Not only do flavanols support heart health but they also positively impact cognitive function and circulation.

Healthy and mentally sharp employees are great for any Orlando and Central Florida business. One way to ensure that employees have access to snacks with chocolate made from sustainable cocoa is to offer those snacks in the break room vending machine or micro-market. The snacks are healthier, as long as there isn’t too much sugar in them, and easier to find since they are onsite. Don’t forget to offer other healthy beverages such as bottled water or coffee and tea in the office break room to enjoy with a chocolate snack — hydration is also important.

For more information about updating your snack options or customizing a new break room, call The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to working with you.

Break Room Snack Options in Orlando and Central Florida

Orlando and Central Florida, Enjoy a Dark Chocolate Snack Today

Break Room Snack Options in Orlando and Central Florida

Dark Chocolate has made it to the top of the superfood list. Whether it’s a snack or an ingredient in a beverage, dark chocolate has a lot to offer Orlando and Central Florida employees. Before we dive into the benefits of dark chocolate, let’s define what dark chocolate is.

In its most basic form, dark chocolate is cocoa, fat, and sugar. The first ingredient should always be cocoa or chocolate liquor followed by any combination of cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, and cocoa butter. The other necessary ingredient is sugar, which is used to balance the bitter taste of the chocolate. But make sure that the sugar is listed toward the end of the ingredients’ list and always after the cocoa. Here’s a hint to remember — the higher the cocoa percentage, the lower the sugar content.

Question: When is dark chocolate a superfood?

Answer: When it contains high levels of cacao.

For dark chocolate to qualify as a superfood, it must contain a minimum of  70 percent cocoa. The high levels of cacao provide flavonoids, a powerful type of antioxidant. Dark chocolate is also rich in fiber and nutrients like healthy fats, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and a particular group of free-radical-fighting antioxidants known as flavanols (a type of flavonoid). At 70 percent cacao or higher, dark chocolate has been found to decrease stress levels and inflammation, and improves mood, memory, immunity, and cardiovascular health.

Break Room Snack Options in Orlando and Central Florida

To find a high-quality dark chocolate snack, consider the following checklist:

  • Cacao is listed first on the ingredient list.
  • There is 70 percent or more of cacao.
  • Sugar is listed below the cacao ingredients.
  • No unnecessary ingredients are used such as trans fat, milk (except milk fat), or artificial flavorings.
  • No alkalization or Dutching was used to make the dark chocolate as the processing method significantly decreases the amount of antioxidants in the chocolate.
  • Consider fair-trade or organic dark chocolate to ensure that the chocolate is high-quality, pesticide-free, GMO-free, and was ethically sourced.

Whether Orlando and Central Florida employees want to enjoy dark chocolate on its own or as an ingredient in a snack, there are many different options to offer your employees in the break room vending machine or micro-market. A bar of dark chocolate, roasted almonds covered in dark chocolate, or granola bars with dark chocolate are just a few healthy snacks that provide an energy boost and satisfy a sweet tooth. And don’t forget to include a variety of beverages such as coffee, tea, and bottled water.

Which dark chocolate snacks would your Orlando and Central Florida employees like to enjoy? For more information about adding new snack and beverage options to your vending machines or micro-market, call The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632.

Micro-Market Options in Orlando and Central Florida

Understanding the Orlando and Central Florida Micro-Market Shopper

Micro-Market Options in Orlando and Central Florida

The micro-market is drawing more Orlando and Central Florida employees into their at-work break room than traditional vending ever has. This increase is great news for both employers and vending operators. Now, the biggest challenge is determining which beverages, snacks, and food options to offer to keep bringing those new customers back.

The solution—understand the mindset of the micro-market shopper.

Before getting to know your Orlando and Central Florida micro-market consumers, it is important to acknowledge the three types of shoppers: traditional, traditional-healthy, and healthy.

Traditional

The traditional consumer usually prefers products that are traditionally found in vending machines. Their go-to place for snacks and beverages, these employees have been making purchases from the break room vending machine since before the micro-market was available. The key to keeping traditional consumers coming back to the micro-market is to offer multiple flavors of their favorite snacks and beverages. 

Traditional-Healthy

The traditional-healthy consumer moves back and forth between the two sides. They express a desire for healthier items, but micro-market sales reports show that they still mostly purchase traditional items. One way to engage traditional-healthy consumers is to offer extensions of familiar items that meet new wellness trends, such as snack items with more protein or smaller calorie packs.

Healthy   

The healthy consumer seeks out snacks, beverages, and meals that are good-for-you or better-for-you. Offering an expanded variety of options, the Orlando and Central Florida micro-market is a viable option for the healthy consumer. The biggest challenge is ensuring that the healthy product offerings are customized enough and, at the same time, broad enough for the majority. Balancing healthy items with traditional ones needs to be done carefully to ensure that the micro-market is profitable.

Micro-Market Options in Orlando and Central Florida

To learn what your employees are looking for in a micro-market consider asking them the following questions.

  • What types of snacks are most appealing? When would you consume them? Do they need to fulfill a purpose such as satisfy a sweet tooth or boost energy?
  • What types of beverages would you purchase? When would you consume them? Do they need to fulfill a purpose such as hydration, a caffeine boost, or a meal replacement?
  • What type of food would you buy?
  • Are you looking for a space that is like a convenience store or a place to sit and interact with colleagues?

By surveying your Orlando and Central Florida employees about one or more topics, it is possible to have a better understanding about what they want. Identify common themes and overlapping results and choose products that meet the needs of at least two types of shopper. Considering why and when a specific item is chosen is another way to ensure that more employees will be able to enjoy it.

And don’t worry. The Vending Station is here to help you design a break room that fits exactly what your Orlando and Central Florida employees are looking for. Whether it’s a micro-market, healthy or traditional vending machines, or gourmet-style coffee service we have a solution for everyone. To learn more, contact us at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to hearing from you.

Vending Machines in Orlando and Central Florida

Orlando and Central Florida, What Can’t Vending Machines Sell?

Vending Machines in Orlando and Central Florida

The answer appears to be nothing. Innovative vending machines found throughout the world sell, rent, and build a wide variety of products including laptops. Since October 2017, over 500 students at Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids, MI have rented laptops from a vending machine. While renting a laptop from a vending machine is new in Michigan, there are at least 31 other vending machines in the U.S. and four outside of the U.S. that rent laptops.

A laptop is only one of the many unique products besides snacks and beverages that can be found in vending machines all over the world.  

Bicycles: In a number of cities, both inside the U.S. and abroad, there are automated docking stations or vending machines where a user can rent a RFID (Radio-frequency identification) bike. Once the rider has arrived at their destination, they return the bicycle to another docking station where someone else can rent it.

Electronics: Vending machines that sell electronics are usually located in airports. These machines provide potential customers with a way to purchase items that they might have forgotten or didn’t realize they needed such as headphones, chargers, phones, sim cards, laptops, or mobile hotspots.

3D Printing: While less common, 3D printing vending machines are often found near large universities. The user saves a design on a usb drive or sim card, places the card in the machine, and the machine carves out the model in 3D. University students in Italy took it one step farther and figured out how to convert plastic bottles into smartphone cases using a 3D printing vending machine.

Vending Machines in Orlando and Central Florida

Cars: How about buying a car from a vending machine? And yes, the car is really in the machine. These vending machines, however, are multiple stories high and can hold hundreds of cars. The customer uses an app to choose the vehicle that they want, and the vending machine delivers it.

The vending industry has also benefited from innovative vending machine designs such as the micro-market and healthy vending machines.

Micro-Market: According to the National Automatic Merchandising Association or NAMA, “a micro market is a self-checkout retail food establishment that replaces a bank of vending machines.” It includes an open rack display and/or reach-in refrigerated coolers and/or freezers that holds products with a UPC bar code or an RFID tag. The Orlando and Central Florida employee pays for their purchase at an unattended kiosk or payment system that is never closed.  

Healthy Vending Machines: Finding a healthy snack or beverage while on the go has gotten easier with the inclusion of vending machines that sell healthy products. Whether your Orlando and Central Florida employees need to grab a snack before a meeting or are looking for a quick, healthy meal, healthy vending machines provide a variety of options 24-hours per day.

Are you ready to create a high-value break room with innovative vending technology? Micro-markets and healthy vending machines are just a couple of the services that The Vending Station provides. Upgrade your break room to create the ultimate space with coffee service, pantry service, and a variety of other options. Contact The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632 to learn more.

Office Coffee Service in Orlando and Central Florida

Coffee in Orlando and Central Florida Is a Global Commodity

Office Coffee Service in Orlando and Central Florida

Did you know that the United States imported 19.2 percent or the largest amount of coffee of all of the countries that imported coffee in 2017? That’s almost double the amount imported by the next country on the list (10.7 percent by Germany). Given the large amount imported, and the fact that Orlando and Central Florida production of coffee is very small, the majority of the coffee consumed in the U.S. is grown overseas.

Why is this important?

Because in many locations around the world, the amount of land used for growing coffee plants is expanding and causing increased deforestation which contributes to erosion, water pollution, the spread of pests and diseases, and the disruption of local micro-climates. But it doesn’t have to be this way, and a number of the world’s leading coffee companies are blazing a new trail in Indonesia’s Bukit Barisan Selatan (BBS) National Park.

The BBS National Park, a protected area, is home to Sumatran tigers, rhinos, and elephants, and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rainforest is also home to coffee production with 26,000 tons of robusta coffee beans (15 percent of the world’s robusta beans) coming from within the park each year. Recently, those corporations as well as Indonesia’s BBS National Park, the Indonesian government, and local farmers agreed to and signed a Collective Statement of Intent that aims to stop deforestation, protect the habitat for wildlife while supporting economic development.

Office Coffee Service in Orlando and Central Florida

Why robusta beans?

Robusta beans are important because they account for 40 percent of global coffee production. They have several unique benefits including:

  • grow at sea level, are a hardy plant, less susceptible to disease/insects, and easier to care for   
  • require low production costs and produce more finished product per acre  
  • contain almost double the caffeine content compared to arabica which creates a strong,  full-bodied beverage with a distinctive, earthy, and bitter flavor
  • contain more antioxidants, almost 60 percent fewer lipids, and almost half the concentration of sugars than arabica
  • have lower levels of acidity
  • used primarily in instant espresso and as a filler in ground coffee blends

Don’t be frightened away from coffee made with robusta beans because of the natural bitterness and earthy flavor. A high-end specialty robusta can taste just as good as or better than a low-end arabica. And don’t forget that robusta contains more antioxidants and caffeine, both of which offer multiple health benefits for your Orlando and Central Florida employees.

Whether your Orlando and Central Florida organization would like to add coffee service to your office break room or just enjoy a few different coffee flavors, The Vending Station can help. Not only do we offer a variety of coffees and teas, but we also offer vending services including micro-markets, healthy vending, and pantry service. For more information about any of our vending services, call The Vending Station at (407) 891.7632. We look forward to hearing from you.

Office Coffee Service in Orlando and Central Florida

Office Coffee Service in Orlando and Central Florida Continues to Evolve

Office Coffee Service in Orlando and Central Florida

What is a relatively easy way to improve productivity at your Orlando and Central Florida office? The answer is to provide your employees with a higher-quality coffee service in the office break room. A generic bean brewed in a traditional pot that sits all day is no longer an acceptable option. Today’s employees expect up-to-date brewing technology that creates beverages such as lattes and cold brew as well as a simple cup of coffee that can compete with their regular out-of-the-office purchase.

The Current Situation

This isn’t to say that Orlando and Central Florida employees don’t drink caffeinated beverages brewed at work. According to a recent study by Packaged Facts, “68 percent of at-work coffee drinkers usually drink coffee made or dispensed onsite at their workplace.” David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts,  recently wrote, “Office coffee is a thriving industry that’s expected to continue to see sales growth [grow] through 2021. Among the market’s key growth factors is the increasing realization that companies need to provide higher-quality coffee…Not only will great coffee keep employees onsite at work, but it could also provide extra incentive to get to the office in the first place.”

The Challenge

Orlando and Central Florida employers need to determine how at-work options can be improved and turned into a sought after employee perk. Great coffee might also retain employees in a competitive job market. Currently, there is a wide gap between what employees look for and what they find in the office break room. Quality beans and flavors seem to be missing from their workplace options. Employee satisfaction with the types of roast (dark, light, etc.) and selection/variety are also low.

Office Coffee Service in Orlando and Central Florida

The Solution

To learn how to overcome those challenges, it is important to understand how current trends are impacting employers. Trends that are causing change in today’s market include generational differences, the super-premium bean trend that offers exotic and unique flavors, coffee type and variety expansion, brewer variety and versatility expansion, product and services expansion, technology applications, and industry consolidation.

Orlando and Central Florida employers then need to consider the impact of employee time spent away from the office to purchase a cup of joe against lost productivity. Research by Packaged Facts found that “when office coffee service is successfully integrated as a productivity tool it often translates to growing a company’s bottom line.” Happy, caffeinated employees plus an improved bottom-line sounds like a win for everyone.

While there are many different solutions that can create a sought-after experience, one suggestion to consider is to start by offering two distinct roasts—one dark and one light. Many are happy to choose one or the other as long as the flavor is high-quality. Over time, a larger product assortment can be included to meet and exceed employee expectations. Whether your office break room needs a full coffee service overhaul or just a few new high-quality varieties, The Vending Station can help. Contact us at (407) 891.7632 for more information about our coffee service as well as other vending solutions.