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Cans vs. bottles


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bottle machines are more versitile because you can vend many different shaped packages. for example

you may want to vend cans but also monster energy drink or gatorade. with can machines u can vend

cans and 16.9oz water and it does not vend the water very well.

I have a Seaga HF3500 which is for cans however i was looking to vend water. I'm curious for more details on the issues with vending 16.9oz water bottles (ie poland spring)

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Yes you can vend 16.9 bottles the same as water.I have an account that has all 16.9 bottles,as long as the machine is not serpentine machine.

John

Just saw this. I have a serpentine machine. Does this mean it's a no go for vending water?

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Most older 'can' machines that are not serpentines allow you to vend 16.9 oz, but not 20 oz bottles. The serpentines, however, have no way to adjust the widths of their vending columns and accept cans only. Even older Dixie Narcos allow you to vend 16.9 oz bottles out of their 'can' machines.

As Mission said, you would be best served getting newer equipment that vends both cans and bottles. This way you can adjust your offerings at a location based on customer feedback. However, if you place a can only machine and they want 20 oz bottles, you will have to replace the machine in order to vend the 20oz they request. Far easier to adjust shims and progamming of a newer machine to switch between cans and bottles or vice versa.

On a side note, I have a few serpentine machines that I bought on location for cheap and they work well. But God forbid if you ever get a can stuck in a back column of a USI serpentine like I did! I had to remove the cans from the column and the one in front of it. At least 20 minutes of struggle because my forearms don't fit in the serpentines. Yes I vended out the bottom of the column! Then I struggled for 30 minutes poking and prodding the stuck can with a long wrench and screwdriver...finally the damn thing went down the column. One of my most frustrating incidents in vending.

Edited by WillisNYC
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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with what Mission Vending has said here, you need to have a fairly healthy weekly cashflow to be able to support bottle sales due to the shorter expiry date, For me there is higher margin in bottle sales so we include bottles and energy drinks (500ml and 250ml cans) in every machine we operate.

Single price drink machines are a thing of the past, however being a relatively simple machine as not a lot goes wrong with these machines from my experience. We only have a few of these machines but they have all been converted tro multi price machines and vend both bottles and cans.

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  • 1 month later...

don't get me wrong, but the markup on cans is rather good. i really like to sell bottles in a full view glassfront machine. to see more selections sells more. ps. i also put cans in my machines for lower prices yhan bottle prices. make it convenient for your customers so that they can afford to buy

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do you guys have issues with water bottles being too 'squishy'?

You have to use a bottle that will stay hard when at 40 degrees in a vending machine. Store brand water bottles and some major brand bottles such as Nestle are not to be used for vending. They are too soft and when any bottle is put in a cold machine it will always get softer. Therefore you must use bottled products designed for use in vending. Coke (Dasani) and Pepsi (Aquafina) both make vendible bottles in both 16.9 and 20 oz sizes and they are identified by the bottle being hard when warm on the shelf. The hard water bottles from Coke and Pepsi are injected with nitrogen to make them hard and to keep them hard when vending. These bottles, however are not easily found and are more expensive than other vendible brands.

The best bottles to use are from Nestle, but regionally named as Arrowhead, Ozarka, Zephyrhills, Poland Springs, and Deerpark. All of these brands come in the same bottles and the 16 oz size with horizontal ribs molded top to bottom in the bottle are perfect for vending. Again, do not use Nestle branded water or store brand water including Sam's Club or Costco.

Edited by AZVendor
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Most older 'can' machines that are not serpentines allow you to vend 16.9 oz, but not 20 oz bottles. The serpentines, however, have no way to adjust the widths of their vending columns and accept cans only. Even older Dixie Narcos allow you to vend 16.9 oz bottles out of their 'can' machines.

As Mission said, you would be best served getting newer equipment that vends both cans and bottles. This way you can adjust your offerings at a location based on customer feedback. However, if you place a can only machine and they want 20 oz bottles, you will have to replace the machine in order to vend the 20oz they request. Far easier to adjust shims and progamming of a newer machine to switch between cans and bottles or vice versa.

On a side note, I have a few serpentine machines that I bought on location for cheap and they work well. But God forbid if you ever get a can stuck in a back column of a USI serpentine like I did! I had to remove the cans from the column and the one in front of it. At least 20 minutes of struggle because my forearms don't fit in the serpentines. Yes I vended out the bottom of the column! Then I struggled for 30 minutes poking and prodding the stuck can with a long wrench and screwdriver...finally the damn thing went down the column. One of my most frustrating incidents in vending.

The worst thing that can happen in a serpentine machine is if the thermostat goes bad and the cans freeze. Frozen cans bulge out at the top and bottom and will burst if frozen too long. Then you have frozen soda (melted soda if not lucky) to clean up and dozens of aluminum cans to extract from the racks. A real nightmare.

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Again, do not use Nestle branded water or store brand water including Sam's Club or Costco.

Maybe I am just lucky, but I vend the Nestle water from my Royal machines. I've actually noticed that the Nestle bottles at Sams are slightly harder than the generic Safeway brand.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Most soda machines will accommodate bottles or cans and if the machine is a multi-price machine, then you can change the prices according to the drink being sold. I agree with using cans as much as possible for the shelf life reason, but there's some drinks that don't come in cans like water, gatorade, energy drinks or juices, which are popular items and should be considered in most locations. Having an adjustable soda machine is crutial so you can vend both cans and bottles.

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  • 2 weeks later...

On a percentage basis, yes, but if you look at total $$ then bottles are better.

Example:

Can cost at .28, vend price at .75 = 37.3% COGS, in Texas .06 for sales tax backed out yields net profit of .41 per can

Bottle cost at .68, vend price at 1.35 = 50.3% COGS, sales tax of .10 backed out yields net profit of .57 per bottle.

Some locations will sell more cans than bottles and vice versa, just depends on your customers preferences. If you get multi price machines that can do bottles you can also consider offering can sodas, and a few selections with Gatorade, Water and Monster (also long expiration dates).

So i've been thinking about switching to all bottles at a location. As i was looking at the profit margins sodas DO make more profit than cans BUT a column holds twice as many cans as it does bottles. For example: coke cans cost me .27 and i sell for .65 giving me a profit of .38 per can (9.12 per case profit). Coke bottles cost me .59 and sell for 1.25 giving me a profit of .66 per bottle (15.84 per case profit). But columns hold twice as many cans as they do bottles so i would make 18.24 every time the cans column was empty compared to only 15.84 every time the bottles are empty. Am i missing something?

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One way to look at soda pricing is to consider the penny profit you will make versus the percent profit. You will put more pennies in the bank with every bottle sale even though the profit margin may be lower than with cans. Cans may give you fewer pennies profit per vend, but your profit margin will be higher. Other factors to consider, as you noted, are that you won't get as many bottles in the machine as cans which could lead to sold outs that you didn't have before. A remedy to this is to remove the slowest seller(s) and double up some bottles to ensure the penny profits roll in and nothing sells out. As to wondering what you are missing, ask yourself if you will actually sell an entire column of cans to earn the $18.24, or will you sell only as many cans as the number of bottles the column will hold, earning more profit per vend on every bottle?

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So i've been thinking about switching to all bottles at a location. As i was looking at the profit margins sodas DO make more profit than cans BUT a column holds twice as many cans as it does bottles. For example: coke cans cost me .27 and i sell for .65 giving me a profit of .38 per can (9.12 per case profit). Coke bottles cost me .59 and sell for 1.25 giving me a profit of .66 per bottle (15.84 per case profit). But columns hold twice as many cans as they do bottles so i would make 18.24 every time the cans column was empty compared to only 15.84 every time the bottles are empty. Am i missing something?

I agree with you that your "cost to service" is better when using cans compared to bottles because of the larger capacity the machine will hold per column will mean less visits.

While this is true for a serpentine machine it is not the same when it comes to using glass fronts. A glass front will hold roughly the same amount of bottles per column as cans so if you are using a glass front you are better off selling bottles.

Some companies here don't allow staff to have open drinks in their work areas for safety reasons so cans do not work. Some companies prefer cans for their staff because they are cheaper.

We try to vend both bottles & cans out of our machines so we get the best of both worlds.

Edited by Kiwi
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

Good topic. You can always change your prices considering the inflation. I find moving cans is more convenient and stacker machines(501-e) vend both with ample capacity. Glass front bottle machines seem to jam up more often leaving customers confused or annoyed. Every time I go to a shopping mall down here I see a bottle hung up in the Glass front machines.

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The big disadvantage with bottles is the much shorter shelf life.  All other considerations are pretty much a wash.  If you can move them quick and don't mind watching your expiry dates like a hawk, go bottles - more money per vend.  If not, stick with cans - you should still make a nice profit.

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Use a machine that can do cans or bottles but I would sell more cans then bottles.
Cans can be purchased anywhere and usely are very well priced.
Bottles are a pain because some places sell 20oz some 16.9 and some you have to get the bottles from the bottler.

With a machine that can do both you can set it up either way and vend what works best for your location needs and area sizes.

Happy Vending

Lindel

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Might need to get some shims to get them to vend reliably but other than that should be no problem getting them to vend.

where can I get these shims and will they allow a dn276e vend 16.9 oz bottles without jamming? It will vend four or five bottles then jam. Coke and diet coke.

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