You have seen vending machines being used in a lot of businesses to provide convenient snacks for employees and customers. Now you’re wondering if it’s a good idea for your business. Before committing to the concept and putting a lot of money into it, consider the following pros and cons to see if these machines would be a good decision for your workplace.

PRO: Convenience for Your Employees and Customers

The biggest advantage of having vending machines in the workplace is the convenience that they provide for your employees. Sure, everyone likes to take a long break from work and leave the office to go out for lunch, but sometimes that’s just not the most practical thing to do. And sometimes you don’t have an hour or half-hour to go out to a restaurant to grab lunch. Sometimes you just want to stretch your legs, grab a quick snack or beverage and get right back to work.

And for employees who work the graveyard shift or who work in an isolated industrial complex, there’s nowhere to go to get food quickly. A lunch wagon might come by at a set time every day, but that only works if everyone takes their lunch break at the same time. If your workers are taking staggered lunch breaks, many of them are going to miss the opportunity. Vending machines make it possible to buy lunch or a snack and get right back to work without wasting a lot of time.

CON: Investment and Maintenance Costs

The primary disadvantage of vending machines in the workplace, of course, is cost. This is especially true if you are buying the machine yourself and maintaining it and operating it yourself. New machines can cost thousands of dollars. They also require an employee to purchase the products, stock them in the machines, clear out any cash and hunt down those who requested refunds. Then there are credit card merchant fees and electricity costs for more modern vending machines.

All of that takes time and money, and you might be a little bit too busy or stretched too thin on your budget to make that worth your while. One way to get around the investment cost is to rent out the space to an outside vendor. That company pays you a set fee every month regardless of their income and expenses. This vendor then supplies the machines, maintains them and stocks them on a regular basis. It can also leave contact information and handle refunds directly.

If the vendor is negligent on these things, it can be a real drain on morale and a complete waste of time. But if it stays on top of everything consistently, then it might work out just fine and be a win for everyone.

PRO: Additional Income for Your Business

Another big advantage the vending machines can provide for your business is an additional, passive income stream. This can be very lucrative if you have a lot of foot traffic in your workplace, whether from employees or customers. If placed in a highly-visible area, these machines could pay for themselves in a surprisingly short period of time.

If you don’t want to go all in with a large investment in vending machines but are curious to give it a try, you might want to start simply and cheaply with a used soda machine or some small, hand-crank snack machines. Then just keep track of your income and expenses associated with the machines and decide if you want to expand by adding additional machines or upgrading to newer ones.

CON: Promotes Unhealthy Eating Habits

Another concern that some businesses have with vending machines is their impact on workers’ health. Most vending machines are packed with junk foods, sweets, and sodas that are loaded with sugar, salt, preservatives, and fat. If you’re trying to promote a healthy work environment, then you wouldn’t want to sabotage those efforts with junk food machines in the break room.

Fortunately, some vending machines these days are set up to provide healthier alternatives, so you might be able to make this work for you.

There are good reasons to set up vending machines in your workplace, but there are some concerns that you might have that could cause you to pass on the idea. Consider these pros and cons of any machines before making your decision.

About the Author: 

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.