DENVER -- Cotton Candy Vending, which markets Intermatic Manufacturing Ltd.'s novel vending machine in the U.S., reports that it has enhanced customer convenience by offering the MEI 2700 bill validator as a payment option. The MEI system accommodates an easy-to-install recycler module that pays back small banknotes in change. It also can be fitted with a faceplate and bezel incorporating not only a bill entry, but also a card swipe, making it easy to read credit and debit cards.
The latest version of the machine was exhibited the National Automatic Merchandising Association's recent OneShow in Chicago, marking the sixth appearance of an Intermatic cotton candy vender at a NAMA show. According to Cotton Candy Vending North American sales vice-president Marty Man Smith, the machine was very well received by showgoers, some of whom hailed the bill recycler option as "the decision-maker for them."
The widely used MEI 2400 validator, which remains the standard payment system, works very well in many locations, Smith observed. "But the 2700 with recycler can be a game-changer in high-volume public sites, where patrons don't have access to a standalone changer, and are attracted to a machine that they hadn't expected to find," he said. "The ability to make a $2 or $3 purchase with a $5 or $10 bill, and receive change in a manageable form, is a real spur to impulse sales."
The MEI recycler stores a number of bills for payout as change. As these bills are depleted, the unit replenishes itself as new single bills are inserted. The MEI 2700 "knows" what denomination it can take, based on the number of singles available for payout and tells the customer what bills can be used by means of an illuminated icon.
"Our cotton candy is just too good for someone to want it, and not be able to have it because they simply did not have the 'correct' bill denomination," Smith said. "At the OneShow, we spoke to a large number of operators representing a wide variety of locations: sites ranging from airports, to truck stops, to shopping malls, to factories, to theme parks, to family entertainment centers, to store vestibules, and so many more -- all with great potential."
Intermatic was founded in 2004 in Northern Ireland by David Hawthorne, who teamed up with Marcus Sheehan to begin producing and operating cotton candy vending machines. In the UK and some other English-speaking countries, cotton candy is known as "candyfloss." Both men were vending operators before they began making the vender. The machine officially launched in the U.S. one year ago.
Intermatic's fully automated cotton candy machine spins sugar in an enclosed environment under precise controls. Prepared at the correct temperature, the extruded filaments are warm and dry; only if patrons lick their fingers does the product become sticky. Avery small quantity of readily available pure cane sugar -- 25g., less than 1 oz. -- converts to a generous serving of cotton candy that contains only 70 calories. There are no preservatives, artificial flavors or colors, or fat. For this reason, the machine (one of the few venders that converts an ingredient into a finished product) yields very high unit profit: 3¢ worth of sugar and a 7¢ stick combine into an item that can sell for anywhere from $1 to $3, depending on the market. The stick is the only item that the operator must purchase from the company.
Information on the Cotton Candy Vending may be had by calling Smith at (662) 298-2206. The machine and the program are described at the company's website, cottoncandyvending.com.