WASHINGTON, DC — The success of a fast-growing, family-owned vending business in the greater New York metropolitan area offers further proof that milk can drive growth and open new doors.
Full Service Vending (Rockaway, NJ), run by Laurel Whitney and Moti Almakias, has won recognition for its innovative milk vending program. Partners in marriage and in business, the couple is being honored by the Milk Education Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) as the 2006 “Spotlight On...” winners in the vending category.
As the annual winner, FSV will be featured in a National Milk Mustache “got milk?” trade ad in vending publications, beginning in June.
The operators made a strategic decision to expand their business to schools as the result of new nutrition policies being adopted at all levels of government. Once the couple realized the positive impact on their business that this initiative was having, they expanded their milk program into three-shift factory and hospital settings as well.
“We realized right away that a branded milk program would be easier to market and control than a generic one, so we partnered with a processor,” Laurel said. “The program we developed with our processor includes a great school milk vending program that works for both full-service and self-op locations. The program works so well because of the colorful packaging – it really drives sales because it is eye-catching.”
The MilkPEP “Spotlight On Vending” initiative recognizes vending operations that implement successful milk programs. “As varied and complex as vending companies are in their operations and markets, they share an entrepreneurial spirit to grow their businesses strategically,” commented Julie Buric, IDFA vice-president of marketing. “Full Service Vending’s success illustrates the fact that there is consumer demand for milk among both adults and kids. This is a terrific example of how milk can be an important component in a well-planned and executed growth strategy.”
Since partnering with their processor and implementing the school program, as well as factory and hospital programs, the company has purchased three new refrigerated trucks and recently placed an order for a fourth. Moti Almakias added, “We found that providing milk to our school and factory clients brought in additional business rather than taking away from the sales of other drinks. Milk comprises a surprising 30% of beverage sales in these locations.”
Making milk part of the vending mix has created additional sales opportunities, he continued. These include offering cold cereal in snack machines and introducing real milk in the company’s coffee service program.
“Our customers are very pleased with the changes,” he summed up, “and our sales figures reflect the positive impact milk has had on our business.”
Full Service Vending dates back to 1955. It was purchased by Moti Almakias in 1993 (see VT, October 2005), and began to grow and diversify. Early this year, Moti and Laurel formed an umbrella organization, Full Service Food Group, of which Full Service Vending is one of the divisions (see VT, March). The others are Coffee Express, Milk Express, Arctic Chill Ice Cream and Café on the Go, which provides manual foodservice.
MilkPEP’s “Spotlight On Vending” program provides an opportunity for vending operators to share success stories. Each month, one vending category winner is selected from entries received online at the program website, milkdelivers.org. The monthly winner is featured on the website and receives an Apple iPod. The annual winner is featured in the National Milk Mustache “got milk?” trade advertising campaign.