Vending At The Airport -- Six Purchases In Less Than 20 Minutes

by Paul Schlossberg
Posted On: 11/5/2019

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It was a Monday morning. My location was a familiar place -- the airport. It was time to fly out to meet with a client about 1,000 miles from my home base here in Austin, TX.


My traveling habit has almost always been to get to the airport about two hours early. That allows me to walk around -- since the next few hours would be seated (with my seat belt fastened, of course). Austin Bergstrom (AUS) is a nice airport. It is essentially a straight line walk from Gate 1 to Gate 34.


Walking at a leisurely pace through the airport, six vending purchases caught my attention. Allow me to explain:


There is a Briggo Coffee Haus at AUS near Gate 17. You might have read my blog posted here in February 2018: “Vended Barista-Quality Coffee: Really? Yes, Really!” While walking near Gate 12, there was something new. It was the second Briggo Coffee Haus in the airport. An interactive order-entry screen was standing next to the machine. (See photos nearby) That was different from my first Briggo purchase -- where the order screen was built-in. This spot marked vending purchase #1 of the day. My choice was iced coffee with almond milk.





The first Briggo Coffee Haus at Austin Bergstrom Airport. 






The order entry screen for the original Briggo Coffee Haus at Austin Bergstrom Airport.




The order entry kiosk for the new Briggo Coffee Haus at Austin Bergstrom Airport. It is separated from the kiosk (on the right). 







The delivery alert screen. You're able to set a code to release your order. You can input that code once your order delivery alert is posted on the screen. 



As my selection and order process began, another vending transaction was initiated nearby. Someone stopped at the Best Buy Express kiosk and made a purchase. That was my very first time to see someone purchase from a Best Buy Express. It would have been intrusive (maybe even rude) to inquire or take a photo. Take note -- that was vending purchase #2.







A Best Buy kiosk located next to a Benefit Cosmetics kiosk at Austin Bergstrom Airport. 


Waiting for my order to be delivered, a woman walked up to the machine. She had just been to a nearby coffee ‘store.’ She asked if the coffee was good. My reply was “Yes.” She said that “they” were out of cream. Her thought was to try ‘the vending machine.’ Now we have vending purchase #3. After tasting she said that her coffee was good.


Next for me was to sit and enjoy my coffee and catch up on email. A few minutes later, with my Briggo cup in hand, standing at the machine, two women walked up and asked if the coffee was good. My response must have been encouraging since one made vending purchase #4. As they walked away, the purchaser commented that she liked it.


Resumed my walk. It was time to dispose of my empty cup. Turning to drop it in the bin, there was vending purchase #5 in progress. Someone was ordering and making a payment at the Benefit Cosmetics kiosk. Never, ever, saw anyone buy cosmetics from a vending machine in an airport (or at any other location). Now we have five vending purchases. Two were first-ever for me to see.


Passing by Gate #17 and the first Briggo Coffee Haus, a man was engaged with the order screen. Since he was taking out his wallet, my conclusion was that vending purchase #6 was about to occur.


In less than 20 minutes, there were six (6) vending purchases at AUS. My walk had probably covered less than a mile at that point. Was it a coincidence, just a fluke, that these five people were making vending purchases during my pre-flight stroll?


The lesson for me is to pay attention to what is happening while you are doing something else -- even if it is not related to your business. In my case, just walking through the airport allowed me to observe two first-ever (for me) vending purchases.


If you want to sell more stuff, be alert to what’s going on around you. Wherever you are, whatever the time of day, pay attention, there just be some new things you can learn.

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, calling him at (972) 877-2972. The company is online at