Category Archives: Office Productivity

How Much Do Vending Machines Make

Have you been searching for an investment opportunity that you can run on a part-time basis and one that does not need any special training? Then you should consider investing in a vending machine business. You don’t have to hire anyone to manage a vending machine as you can do it yourself or ask a member of your household to do it. This saves on labor costs.

Today in the United States, there are roughly 5 million operational vending units. Unsurprisingly, a 2018 report shows that food and beverage vending machines are leading the line. They occupy 56% of the market share. So, if you are looking to start on a business line that’s tested and proven, then you should try the food and beverage product line. You can dispense anything from snacks to soft drinks.

Maybe you are thinking that vending machines only sell sugar stuff like candies and chocolate bars. This is not entirely true as you decide on what foods to stock. So, you can sell healthy choices if you want to. Other benefits that come with a vending machine include scalability and cash-based transactions. You only need one vending machine to start with and it can generate the capital you need to set up another.

As for the payments, customers can’t buy on credit. The machines can only dispense when cash is slotted or when a payment card is swiped. Moreover, a vending machine is simple to maintain. All that is needed is regular restocking and maintenance. After all this, you must be asking, are they profitable? Let’s answer the question below.

Establishing the Profit Index

The National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) estimates that roughly $20 billion is generated in the United States yearly by the 5 million active vending machines. On average, this means that each vending machine barely makes $5 a week. The survey shows that vending machines are not an instant jackpot and so you shouldn’t expect to make thousands of dollars from them.

Most vending machines entrepreneurs think that setting up several machines is critical in generating more revenue. This might be true but it’s necessary to establish your profit index first. Look at it this way:

Setting up a beverage dispensing machine allows you to sell 20 bottles per day on average. If your unit price is $1, this means you’ll be making $20 daily in sales. But suppose each bottle cost you $0.80 – you’ll only make $4 a day. This implies that you’ll be making $28 a week and $120 a month.

But remember, there are a few costs that are tantamount to deductions on your sales. For example, you’ll have to cater for electricity cost if your vending machine is an electronic type. You’ll also have to pay a vending machine professional to inspect and maintain your unit once. Furthermore, sourcing your supplies from afar means you’ll have to incur transportation costs if they don’t offer free shipping.

Steps to Making Money

Since a vending machine can be profitable, it all boils down to the decisions you make before and after setting up the business. To improve your chances of making money, here are key steps to follow:

  • Detailed research – When it comes to buying a vending machine, you can buy a new machine and build the business from scratch or buy an already operational vending machine. The latter means having access to immediate and consistent cash flow. If you decide to settle on the former, you’ll have to wait before cash can start flowing.
  • Identify a niche – You should identify a gap in the market that you can exploit. If it’s food that you want to sell, go for healthy options. You can also diversify to offer hot options. This decision should be arrived after studying your target audience.
  • Moving items – Buyers are always looking for snacks, hot drinks, and cold beverages. So, dispensing such options means more opportunities to make more sales. You can also dispense personal items like OTC drugs, toothpaste, and hygiene supplies. They also move easily.
  • Strategic location – You may be selling moving items but fail to generate as much money as you want if your vending machines are not strategically located. You need to set up the machines in heavy-traffic areas like shopping malls, bus terminals, airports, and main streets. You can also set up your business in a school, hospital, an office complex or within a company.
  • Extra investments – Though you may not be there all the time, you should hear the grievances and suggestions of your customers. This means investing in the right customer service. You can attach an SMS number or email address on the vending machines that they can use to talk to you.

You also need to invest in the right VMS (Vending Management System) if your vending machine is electronic. This allows you to manage your inventory and monitor your revenue seamlessly. Last but not least, you should invest enough time into the business. You need to be checking up on the machine as frequently as possible.

  • Bulk sourcing – When sourcing your products, you should learn to do it in bulk so as you can earn a valuable discount. This allows you to improve your profit index. You also save on transport cost.
  • Proper maintenance – No customer likes a poorly maintained or filthy-looking vending machine. It’s a turn-off. You need to clean your vending machine regularly and have it serviced by an expert occasionally. If any repairs are needed, you should learn to respond punctually.

Startup Costs

The first and most important startup cost is the cost of the machine. Generally, the price of buying vending machines depends on machine type, brand, size, and customization. On average, you’ll spend $2,000-$3,000 on a mechanical machine and $3,000 or more on an electronic type. Other notable startup costs include:

  • Stock – For your vending machine to be operational, you must stock it. At least, you need to budget for the opening stock. What you earn from it can be reinvested into the business.
  • Installation cost –If you are installing a vending machine within an existing business such as a shopping mall or a company complex, you may be required to pay rent. This is a major cost you need to budget for.

Closing Thought:

Without a doubt, vending machines can make you money. You just have to be realistic with your expectations and understand what the market needs. Selling the right items and targeting the right customers is critical in making money. So, it’s a decent business idea for someone looking to generate some cash on the side.

10 Ways Snacks Can Boost Your Mood

You probably have heard that regular snacking is not good for you as it’s associated with issues like obesity, weight gain, and hypertension. However, this perception is not entirely true. It’s in fact directed to unhealthy snacking. Healthy snacks like berries and apples are actually beneficial. Remember, your brain is constantly working and thus it requires enough fuel always. The source can be healthy snacks. Additionally, healthy snacks contain high-quality vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals that you need to stay active.

Now, there are strong suggestions that snacks could actually boost your mood. Wondering how? Healthy snacks, especially whole fruits, are known to naturally improve serotonin levels. Serotonin is a potent neurotransmitter that’s responsible for calming your nerves and relaxing you. It’s what makes you cheerful. In the end, your self-confidence and social prowess improve. So as you can have a better understanding of how healthy snacking makes your mood better, here are 10 considerations:

  1. Mental Energy

It’s worth noting that the primary reason for snacking is to get extra mental energy. By taking snacks rich in amino acids, you are able to boost your brain power tremendously. What this means is that your brain doesn’t suffer from mental exhaustion easily. Mental exhaustion is what stresses your brain and makes you moody. So, you could save yourself a lot of stress if you take enough healthy snacks. You just have to ensure that you avoid high calories. Your target should by high-proteins

  1. Stable Blood Glucose

When you don’t take enough food, your blood sugar drops, a condition we call hypoglycemia. The problem with hypoglycemia is that it messes up your mood. However, it can be fixed by snacking. Recent research by the University of Illinois suggests that regular snacking maintains your blood glucose. It protects you from becoming too irritated and unreasonable. These issues are related to irregular blood sugar level.

Instead of resorting to junks when your blood glucose drops, you should take some healthy snacks. The advantage is that you don’t have to take too much of it but just enough. This will help to effortlessly normalize your blood sugar levels. Since your body will have enough fuel, then your mood will definitely stabilize. You’ll become more energized both physically and mentally.

  1. Brain Hydration

Your brain needs enough fluid to stay active. If it’s not hydrated sufficiently, then it becomes hard to concentrate. You become too jumpy and your mood changes. For a quick fix, you need healthy snacks like berries and watermelons. They are known to hydrate your body quickly. The biggest beneficiary happens to be the brain. In addition to fruit snacks, you can also take healthy smoothies and herbal tea. However, you need to make sure you don’t take excess caffeine.

  1. Appetite Control

It’s generally possible to have mood swings when you don’t have control over your appetite. If your appetite is high, you need to find a way to hold yourself from going for junk foods. Taking healthy snacks, apparently, is one of them. It’ll help to manage your appetite and to stabilize your mood in the long run.

  1. Excitement Trigger

Snacks generally put you in a happy mood. You become so excited when you know it’s snacking time. The moment you are excited, your mood improves. Scientifically, snacking gives your brain powerful nutrients that it needs to have improved serotonin levels. As you already know, improved serotonin means a better mood. You also have to remember that your brain needs fuel to go through a long and tireless day. Luckily, the fuel can be injected through regular healthy snacking.

  1. Body Calmness

Healthy snacks like strawberries enhance endorphin levels. Endorphins are special neurotransmitters which help to calm your body against physical pain and anxiety. This is important since you are likely to become moody when you are you are in pain or when anxious. You can avoid the setback by taking healthy snacks.

  1. Self-Love

You may not be aware but healthy snacks like bananas and nuts may help you fall in love with yourself. This is crucial for enjoying a better mood. The snacks are known to boost oxytocin levels. This hormone is known to stimulate social connections and to make you happy. So, whenever you are feeling sad, just take some oxytocin-boosting snacks.

  1. Gut-Mood Relationship

Are you aware that your gut health dictates your emotional wellbeing? Actually, if your gut is uncomfortable, so will your brain. Likewise, if you are stressed by something else, your gut will feel the effect. As a result, it can either slow down digestive functions or speed them up. To ensure that your digestion is normal, you need enough fiber and fluid. Fortunately, you can get them from healthy snacks. So, snacks will give your gut what it needs to stay relaxed. In the end, your brain relaxes too.

  1. Enhanced Concentration

A lot of times, you become moody because your brain cannot concentrate on a specific matter. Nonetheless, taking snacks that are healthy between your meals ensures that you are able to maintain focus. In this case, you can go through the mid-morning and the afternoon without becoming mentally disturbed. This is quite important when you are either working or studying. Some of the options to consider for enhanced concentration are leafy greens, whole fruits, and popcorns.

  1. Counters Depression

According to a 2017 review, researchers argue that healthy snacking may help reduce depression symptoms. As you know, your mood is negatively affected when you are depressed. The researchers found that healthy fruit snacks contain probiotics, beneficial bacteria. The bacteria are important for your digestive health.

Another study in the same year shows that taking green snacks like spinach and kales counters depression. The study indicates that leafy greens contain folate which improves the metabolism of neurotransmitters noradrenaline and serotonin. These two are known to enhance your mood and general mental wellbeing.

Benefits of Office Vending Machines

Today, a vending machine is not just a luxury at the workplace but actually a necessity. So, if you don’t have one in your business, then you are missing a lot. For starters, these machines can dispense different foods and drinks and not just candies. This means that your workers can grab a cup of hot cocoa or some cereals conveniently. This is not all.

The technology has advanced so much that vending machines of today can accept card payments. Therefore, change challenges are eliminated as it used to be the case of coin-operated vending machines. These machines are automated to follow the instruction of the customers. They are able to dispense what the customer wants to buy.

Moreover, the machines are quite mobile. This means you can change their positioning from time to time depending on where the market is concentrated. Though they may face issues like fraud and vandalism, vending machines are known to bring about so many benefits at the workplace. Here are the top 10:

To the Staff

  1. Accessibility

Vending machines are usually stationed in peculiar places to be easily accessible by the staff. During office breaks, employees can walk to the machines to buy whatever they want. To them, the machines provide them with a close solution as they don’t have to go out to look for foods and drinks.

  1. Reliability

The problem with most restaurants and supermarkets is that they are not predictable. One day they are opened and the next day they are not. As for restaurants, you may not get your favorite dish if you go during lunchtime as sometimes customers exceed the orders prepared. Vending machines, conversely, are very reliable. You’ll always get your preferred food or drink as long as it’s normally there.

  1. Product Variety

These days, vending machines are not just restricted to selling sodas and coffee. They can sell almost anything. From hot chocolate to cereals, employees can buy them all. This is actually one of the reasons why employees become motivated at work. Everyone wants the freedom to choose what to eat and drink.

  1. Cost-Effectiveness

If you have in-house vending machines, it makes sense to subsidize the cost of items so as to encourage your employees to buy from you. To employees on a budget, this is a cost-effective approach since they’ll be able to save. You’ll be surprised to find some employees buying food and drinks for taking home in the spirit of saving.

  1. Staff Camaraderie

The staff likes to make friends. They want to interact during their break and share a few things. Vending machines provide them with just the perfect camaraderie opportunity. They are able to crack jokes and forget about work stress if any. You too can have the opportunity with some of them during office breaks when you go to the vending machines to grab something to eat or drink.

To the Employer

  1. Work Morale

It’s widely known that happier employees are productive. So, you have to do everything possible to lift their work morale. One incredible way to do it is by stationing vending machines within the business area. Since they’ll have the freedom to buy whatever they want and are able to get them at subsidized prices, they’ll feel satisfied working for you. In the end, work productivity will improve considerably.

  1. Time-Saving

Generally, it’s time-consuming to go out to look for food during working days. As the employer, this is counterproductive since time is money. Investing in vending machines ensures that these employees don’t go out often. This is because they are able to get (in-house) foods and drinks that they would get outside the business premise. This is not all. They are able to buy them cheaply. This is a reason enough to keep them onsite. In the end, office hours are significantly saved.

  1. Corporate Wellness

Though vending machines of the old days were known to only dispense sugary and unhealthy snacks, what we call junks, the narrative has changed. Today, you can have your office vending machines selling everything that you can think of. This is meant to encourage corporate wellness. Employees will not be forced to look for healthier foods somewhere else since they’ll be available in-house.

  1. Customize Selections

When you approach a vending machine company, you can ask them to make you vending machines that meet your needs. For most business owners, customization means dispensing a variety of products. For others, it means the freedom to serve hot cocoa or coffee. For a few, it means to only accept card payments. Whatever customization means to you, it’s possible with vending machines.

  1. Extra Money

From an entrepreneurial standing, vending machines at the workplace are an extra way to inject money into the business. Since employees and visiting customers will be paying cash, you don’t have to worry about selling on credit. Though you may not get so much if vending machines are not the focal point of your business, what you get is enough to meet a few business expenses. Besides, your employees will be returning a fraction of their salary to you when they buy from the vending machines.

  1. Few Overheads

Unlike most mobile businesses, vending machines have close to zero overheads. For example, you don’t have to incur salary expenses as you can manage the vending machines yourself. All you have to do is restock the machines and come regularly to pick money collected. So, you don’t have to hire someone for this job. Additionally, there are zero advertising costs since the machines self-advertise.

  1. Cash Flow

The moment your vending machines start running and the first customer makes the first payment, cash will start to flow. Provided that the machines are placed in the right places and are running, there’ll always be money coming in. The advantage is that there are no collection issues. Unlike bank transactions, there are no bad checks with vending machines. Similarly, there are no fake currencies when it comes to vending machines. They are programmed to notice this. Thus, you are guaranteed genuine money in the long run.

Closing Thought: Are Vending Machines Worth Investing in?

Clearly, both the employer and the workforce benefit from vending machines at the workplace. So, yes they are worth investing in. They make things easy for both the workers and the employees and in the end, the business as a whole gets to improve. In case you had doubts about this investment, it’s time the doubt vanishes as you join the world of vending machines. Chances are that you won’t regret it.

7 Benefits of Coffee

Globally, coffee happens to be the most consumed drink in the world after water. This shows how popular the beverage is. In the US alone, the National Coffee Association estimates that over 50% of the adult population consumes the drink daily. Not only is the drink rich in caffeine (a mild stimulant) but it also has powerful antioxidants (polyphenols) like caffeic acid, cafestol, and chlorogenic acid.

According to research, the antioxidants are more in coffee than in tea and cocoa. They help to protect your body cells against oxidative stress and possible damage. In addition to antioxidants, coffee contains vitamins like niacin and riboflavin and minerals like magnesium and potassium. All these nutrients play an important role in the body.

Out there, people consume coffee in different forms like coffee flour, coffee syrup, coffee beans, and essential oils. In the restaurant business, the caffeine beverage is referred by different names such as cappuccino, Turkish coffee, Irish coffee, Espresso, and iced coffee. Because of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients present in coffee, the caffeine beverage has the following 7 benefits:

Healthy Heart

Recent studies show that coffee helps in reducing the chances arrhythmia which is associated with heart failure. In the end, it helps to reduce the mortality rate associated with the condition. However, you have to take the caffeine drink moderately as too much of it is bad for your heart.

How?

The effects of coffee on the heart are quite obvious. For one, its antioxidants provide soothing effects to the heart muscles against inflammation. This helps immensely in warding off heart conditions like heart failure and hypertension. The antioxidants also lower cholesterol and this is important in protecting the heart from stroke and heart attack.

Healthy Liver

Coffee has been found to decrease the rate of liver diseases like hepatitis and liver cirrhosis. This is according to the Archives of Internal Medicine. As a matter of fact, they argue that there is a 20% decrease in liver diseases following the intake of coffee.

How?

Researchers argue that there’s a big relationship between caffeine intake and liver enzymes. By boosting your caffeine intake, you are able to reduce the production of liver enzymes. These enzymes when in excess are known to cause harmful effects to the liver like inflammation and cell damage. Additionally, coffee helps to improve blood circulation around the liver and this is necessary to influence its healthy functions.

Short-term Memory

Do you know that coffee can make you look sharper and smarter? Well, the caffeine in the coffee travels quickly to the brain to exert its effect. When it gets there, it fires up your neurons and stimulates recent memory. This is according to one study. The study shows that there’s an immediate surge in the brain’s short-term memory after taking coffee.

How?

According to research, coffee targets the part of the brain that’s in charge of memory. By stimulating this part, your short-term memory is vastly improved. It becomes easy to remember recent things as accurately as possible. However, the power of recall varies from person to person. Some people are able to remember more details than others.

Diabetes Management

There are strong suggestions that taking at least 6 cups of low-sugar coffee drink a day can significantly help to avoid diabetes type 2. According to a finding by Nurse’s Health, the incidence of diabetes type 2 reduces significantly among coffee drinkers who are in the young and middle age bracket.

How?

Coffee manages diabetes in different ways. One, it helps to regulate insulin and to prevent its resistance. In this case, your blood glucose is effectively controlled. Two, it soothes the cells against inflammation caused by toxic sugar. This is possible through caffeic acid. So, coffee not only prevents diabetes but also helps to manage it. Three, coffee slows down the absorption of glucose, thus reducing its availability in blood.

Active Brain

You probably know that coffee helps you to stay awake and alert. What you probably don’t know is that it helps to prevent neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer and Parkinson’s. According to one study, coffee helps to delay the effects of Alzheimer, the leading neurodegenerative condition, by 65%. Another study shows that a daily intake of coffee lowers the risk of Parkinson’s by almost 60%. Parkinson’s is the second leading neurodegenerative condition after Alzheimer.

How?

There are different theories that explain how coffee promotes brain activity and prevent cognitive decline. Some theories argue that caffeine discourages the buildup of plague around the brain. The deposit is known to slow drain brain activity resulting in cognitive decline. There are also other theories that argue that caffeine prevents brain slowness when it keeps diabetes at bay. This is how you are able to stay away from dementia.

Weight Loss

Are you aware that you can lose weight and keep fit by taking coffee? Well, this is possible according to the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism. They argue that coffee improved metabolism by 7% in the first 3 hours of intake. This is critical when working out to shed excess body weight and fat.

How?

Caffeine in the coffee is a natural endurance-enhancer. It helps your body not to succumb to fatigue when working out. When the muscles are constricted, caffeine helps to stimulate and strengthen them. In the end, you are able to double your workout rate, resulting in faster weight loss.

Anti-Cancer Effects

According to one study by Scientific Reports, coffee is a very effective agent when it comes to reducing risks of oral cancer, colon cancer, melanoma, and cancer of the liver. Another study by Cancer Letters shows that the risks of colorectal cancer, cancer of the kidney, and breast cancer reduces immensely following the daily intake of coffee.

How?

Because of the presence of polyphenols, coffee injects anti-cancer effects into the body. Caffeine buffers your blood to starve cancer cells. When the cells are starved, they just can’t grow or proliferate. In the end, their population is significantly reduced. Polyphenols are also known to reduce inflammation caused by cancerous tissues. Since their proliferation is stopped, so are their effects.

Closing Thought: Should You Take Coffee?

Though there are a few researched risks of taking coffee, especially addictively, the benefits outweigh them. As seen, the major organs in the body need this therapeutic stimulant. You just have to ensure that you are able to take the drink in healthy amounts, more when you are doing it daily. This will help to reduce the risk of its side effects and to promote the discussed benefits.