Just Open The Vending Machine And Walk In The Door

by Paul Schlossberg
Posted On: 8/27/2019

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A recent email from Trend-Watching caught my eye. There was a photograph of a young woman apparently walking out of a doorway. What made it different was that the door appeared to be the front of a vending machine.

The email announced a new development from Sidekick -- “…a platform that lets tourists in South Korea consult locals for recommendations in real-time. Users can chat with residents via their app of choice…for travel advice and assistance.”

The doorway is the entrance to a café. If you wish, you can learn more about this Seoul-based restaurant at the URL which follows. It is Zapangi.

This posting is not about Sidekick or any other similar “text-a-local concept for travelers…” Nor is my interest today in Zapangi. My focus is on the creative use of a vending machine design/door by a restaurant.

There is an opportunity here for you. But it is not likely to be the one you’re thinking about right now. Don’t waste time trying to find a way to convince local restaurants to redesign their front doors to resemble a vending machine.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to totally rethink the design and layout of the sites you are serving. We must make our stores, our restaurants and our cafes much more appealing places for the people at these locations.

People want to enjoy their food and beverages. The environment and ambiance of the breakrooms and lunchrooms is too often far below the experience at nearby restaurants and convenience stores. If you’ve been consistently visiting competitors near the sites you serve, you would have noticed that there have been remodels and upgrades to improve the ambiance, shopping experience and eating occasion.

A friend, who was a CEO at a few major restaurant chains over the years reminded me that “the public expects that the restaurant(s) should be redesigned and remodeled every five to seven years.” You have to work with your clients to keep them aware of what has been happening at close-by foodservice providers. Remind them that there is a productivity benefit if their employees stay onsite for lunch or breaks.

If you want to sell more stuff, pay more attention to the design, décor and ambiance of the breakrooms and lunchrooms where you are operating. You might not control where the room is, how big it is or the tables and chairs. But if the environment is positive, it might just help you sell more stuff.

Paul Schlossberg is president of D/FW Consulting, working with clients to merchandise and market products in impulse-intense selling environments, such as vending, onsite foodservice and convenience stores. Based in the Austin, TX, area, he can be reached by emailing to Paul@DFWConsulting.net, calling him at (972) 877-2972. The company is online at www.DFWConsulting.net