SHALDEN, England - Hot Bite has established a strong presence in the United Kingdom with its "Hot Bite" hot food vending machine and is now bringing it to the U.S. market by seeking operators interested in franchising.
The "Hot Bite" vender delivers hot, freshly toasted sandwiches within minutes. "Hot Bite's" initial success with toasted sandwiches led to significant product and equipment expansion, and the company now offers panini/baguette, wrap and pizza machines as well.
"Hot Bite" sandwich machines use hot plates (not a microwave oven) to heat the product; the pizza vender incorporates a fan-assisted convection oven. To ensure a high-quality finished product, "Hot Bite" machines are stocked with fresh food suplied in special presealed packages, held in a refrigerated compartment. The machines toast/cook the food in its package, eliminating odor and minimizing cleaning requirements.
Hot Bite's latest concept is the "Auto CafĂ©," a complete automated food and drink vending solution featuring a bank of machines. These offer ice cream, fresh orange juice, coffee, snacks and cold beverages, and the installation is complemented by compact seating facilities. The company also has introduced popcorn and muffin machines that will allow its franchisees to target new markets.
The "Hot Bite" vending machine was launched in the UK in 2002. Today, there are more than 200 of these venders in operation in hospitals, universities, corporate offices and train stations. The machines are operated on a franchise basis, with 33 franchisees to date.
Sole rights to operate "Hot Bites" within a specific territory are leased to the operator. The franchisee's task is to develop business within his or her designated territory, both in terms of managing existing sites and finding suitable new outlets.
Food products for the vending machines are sourced from "Hot Bite"-approved suppliers. For those already in the catering trade, Hot Bite is willing to discuss "own supply" arrangements.
In the U.S., Hot Bite plans to grant franchise territories on a state-by-state basis, with potential to grant license to operate and/or distribute within a given area of some of the larger states.
International interest in the machine has reportedly been great, driven by the company's corporate website, hotbite.co.uk, and a significant portion of those inquiries have come from the U.S.
"This is in no small part due to the 'vending-friendly' nature of the U.S. and the fact that in the States there is a mature and established franchise market already in existence," said Hot Bite chairman David Batchelor. "Furthermore, the American culture of 'grazing' is greatly appealing. More than this, we are keen to enter the U.S. market because in terms of corporate opportunities, partnerships, co-branding and sponsorship, there really is no limit to what could be achieved."
Information on "Hot Bite" franchising opportunities in the U.S. and abroad is available online at hotbite.co.uk.