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Newbie Expiration Questions

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Brand new to the vending world, and kind of have been dumped into it unexpectedly. A few basic expiration questions I have:

What's the average waste you guys have per machine? Is it normal to pull a dozen or so chips per machine each time?

What's the deal with pastry expiration? We do Ms. Freshley's, and it seems like the stuff is just fine beyond 30 days. I sure don't want to make anyone sick or anything, but can you stretch it to 45? Should you even be running pastry if you can't sell a half dozen of each kind in a machine in a month?

Do you guys ever get chip product from your supplier that's dated out only 30 days? Vistar sent us a box of cheese curls that expire at the end of the month. That seems bullcrap to me, but I don't want to make a fuss if it's just something that happens and everyone lives with.

Basic info: We have <20 locations, do snack and pop in most of them, snack only in a few. They get filled every two weeks, except for one nearby stop which is weekly. One stop exists only so we can do the neighboring building, which sells well. I don't own the business, I just work for the parent company.

 

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27 minutes ago, cadillacmusic said:

Brand new to the vending world, and kind of have been dumped into it unexpectedly. A few basic expiration questions I have:

What's the average waste you guys have per machine? Is it normal to pull a dozen or so chips per machine each time?

What's the deal with pastry expiration? We do Ms. Freshley's, and it seems like the stuff is just fine beyond 30 days. I sure don't want to make anyone sick or anything, but can you stretch it to 45? Should you even be running pastry if you can't sell a half dozen of each kind in a machine in a month?

Do you guys ever get chip product from your supplier that's dated out only 30 days? Vistar sent us a box of cheese curls that expire at the end of the month. That seems bullcrap to me, but I don't want to make a fuss if it's just something that happens and everyone lives with.

Basic info: We have <20 locations, do snack and pop in most of them, snack only in a few. They get filled every two weeks, except for one nearby stop which is weekly. One stop exists only so we can do the neighboring building, which sells well. I don't own the business, I just work for the parent company.

 

Stales are a fact of life in this business and yes 30 days is BS.  I prefer 60 days but will settle for 45 if it's a fast mover.  With 20 plus machines you should be able to avoid a lot of stales by keeping your product evenly dispersed.  The first thing you need to do is establish a route list for every machine so after awhile you'll know the right number of products to stock in each column so you don't run out before the next vending cycle.  This is referred to as a plan-o-gram.  Any time you find yourself pulling a dozen of anything out due to expiration that just means that the product was overstocked to begin with.  Some products won't sell well in some locations but it will take you awhile to get a handle on this.  Once you know what sells where you'll often find yourself short stocking some columns.  Just because there's twelve or so slots available does not mean that you fill them up.

I finally got my stales down to 3% which is considered low, but only after I fully understood the buying habits of all my locations.  Chips are always going to be an issue  but cannned sodas and candy bars are rarely a problem as they both have long shelf lives

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Stick to the 30 days on your pastry.  That is the shelf life after they thaw.  Anything longer is a danger.  If you can't sell a flavor faster than that then its not going to sell.  How is it that you work for someone filling less than 20 machines every 2 weeks?  That is not profitable for anyone.  They can run that by themselves.

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Stales & damages should be under .5% (that's 1/2 of 1%) which is a huge number in an operation our size.

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Vistar is supposed to guarantee 30 days minimum on products they deliver unless the shelf life is otherwise stated, so if the chips were less than 30 when you received them you should send the entire case back.  Ask them to Fedex you the replacement product at their expense if you need it now, as the error is on their end for sending out short dates.  If you pick up product somewhere like sams always check the dates and look for better dated boxes, as most of those large stores don't rotate very well.

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Grr, I think Vistar beat the 30 day limit by two whole days. Still, not gonna order obscure stuff like pizza-cheese puffs from them again.

Hmm, seems people can't decide on the pastry question. My guess is that our pastry locations do have enough sales in winter to support pastry, but in summer they're a little slow. I'm thinking of moving to longer life stuff for those locations.

As to how I work for them? Cadillac Music has like 4 subsidiary companies under the main coin-op umbrella. With ATMs, Lending, Security, and Vending all under the same building, I guess the idea is to make the most of everyone's time. And as I'm not busy fixing pinball or arcade games, I've been assigned to vending. It's not a route that they could support two people on, but I guess it covers half a person well enough.  If I ever figure out what I'm doing, anyways...

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Pastries do well in the winter and soda does well in the summer.

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1 hour ago, AZVendor said:

Pastries do well in the winter and soda does well in the summer.

Gotta love the predictable nature of human biology.

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Just because Vistar guarantees 30 days does NOT mean you have to accept 30 days.  I would refuse and send back any chip item that was 30 days.  They have tried sending candy with 60 days, which is ridiculous.  Don't let their purchasing screw-ups end up being your problem.  You should always check your order in when you receive it.  Vistar can be great when they are spot on, but that doesn't mean you have to accept short-dated product.

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Thanks flint! That makes me feel much more confident about giving them an earful. Luckily, we only ever get snickers and peanut M+Ms from vistar, and get the rest locally. But from now on I am totally checking the date of each package we get, and honestly, buying more at Sam's Club. They have no minimum order, we can check the dates when we get them, and the prices are actually better. 

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Posted (edited)

What happens if pastries go bad due to summer even though they have shelf life. Pastries are a pain.

Edited by putrevus

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On 8/9/2018 at 7:31 AM, cadillacmusic said:

Brand new to the vending world, and kind of have been dumped into it unexpectedly. A few basic expiration questions I have:

What's the average waste you guys have per machine? Is it normal to pull a dozen or so chips per machine each time?

What's the deal with pastry expiration? We do Ms. Freshley's, and it seems like the stuff is just fine beyond 30 days. I sure don't want to make anyone sick or anything, but can you stretch it to 45? Should you even be running pastry if you can't sell a half dozen of each kind in a machine in a month?

Do you guys ever get chip product from your supplier that's dated out only 30 days? Vistar sent us a box of cheese curls that expire at the end of the month. That seems bullcrap to me, but I don't want to make a fuss if it's just something that happens and everyone lives with.

Basic info: We have <20 locations, do snack and pop in most of them, snack only in a few. They get filled every two weeks, except for one nearby stop which is weekly. One stop exists only so we can do the neighboring building, which sells well. I don't own the business, I just work for the parent company.

 

I'm kind of surprised you order Vistar, I usually don't hear about vendors ordering Vistar until they have gotten pretty big in size. 

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Find a box store for pastries, better shelf life and cheaper prices. Honey buns and cinnamon rolls both have good shelf life and sell well. I use them more in the summer, because the keep better.

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Mrs. Freshly pastries are 45 days from frozen and their donuts are 30 days. I have their product page with SKUs and shelf life from the NAMA show. I'll check on Monday when I get back to the shop and repost if I am wrong. 

We have found that heat over 90 degrees Fahrenheit seems to shorten the life quite a  bit. Be careful where you store them. 

Edited by Anacapa Vending

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You guys who buy frozen products that are sold thawed out really need to get freezers to store the products in before you stock them in machines.

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I wonder if Sam's would pull them from the freezer so we could rush them back to keep in a chest freezer.

 

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On 8/10/2018 at 7:11 PM, Sgolembiewski0903 said:

I'm kind of surprised you order Vistar, I usually don't hear about vendors ordering Vistar until they have gotten pretty big in size. 

This business used to operate under a different name before Cadillac bought it several years back. They also used to be a lot bigger, too. My guess is that it's a holdover from those days. As long as we can make $500 orders with Vistar, they deliver for free, so might as well keep using them. Unless they keep sticking old product on us.

 

Where, "big box store", does one get pastry? We have a candy supplier who does general convenience store stuff, but they've never had pastry...

Edited by cadillacmusic

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