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AngryChris

Review of Vendsoft

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 Nice recap, thank you! 

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Sweet, seems like a ton of work. Can you roll.out on a fully stocked van and check the sales of what you need to get down with? I dont think prekitting works for me i have places that can sell oit half a machine by morning to lunch time..

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Do they have something to scan ur warehouse items?

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It will let you know what each machine needs in the "predictions" option.  I don't think there is an option to let you know what the whole truck needs for the day but you can just pre-kit every machine and put it all in the truck and you'll literally have everything you need.  The only thing you need to worry about is making sure you compensate for the time between when you pre-kit and when the driver fills the machine.  If items sell between that time, you won't have enough.  This should only be a problem with locations that often get very low before you get there.  However, with the proper management of things, you'll be getting to setting your trip up so that you get to the locations that need service the most BEFORE you go to locations that don't need service as badly, and you'll be compensating for sales between pre-kitting and delivery by just adding a few more of each item during pre-kitting and just bringing extras back.

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The initial data entry seems to go on forever, but well worth it!   Telemetry really changes the vending operation in ways you have to experience.  Give those slow locations some time to warm up to the card reader; I have had locations start at over 50% cashless but others that took months to accept and use the card readers.  Only once have I removed a card reader for lack of use; and that was on a machine that I could not get DEX from, so it was a total waste without card use. 

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52 minutes ago, Southeast Treats said:

The initial data entry seems to go on forever, but well worth it!   Telemetry really changes the vending operation in ways you have to experience.  Give those slow locations some time to warm up to the card reader; I have had locations start at over 50% cashless but others that took months to accept and use the card readers.  Only once have I removed a card reader for lack of use; and that was on a machine that I could not get DEX from, so it was a total waste without card use. 

One of my locations is close to 50% cashless but it was like that since installation so I don't know how much of a boost I really got. 

At another location, it seems as though cashless sales have gone from about  5% up to maybe 25% of total sales while cash sales maybe dropped 5-10% if that, but combined sales are probably 10% higher than cash-only.

At a third location, I had added card readers as they added a 2nd shift (and more employees) and sales went from about 75/week from cash only to about $200/week in total sales with almost 50% being cashless.  It's difficult to say if the 2nd shift had more to do with it but it's hard to argue that I added about $25/week in cash sales and $100/week in card sales.

Most of my locations get a bump of maybe 10% overall with cashless sales often doing 15-20% of total sales.  In other words, card readers seem to cause me to lose a little cash sales but more than make up for it in additional sales from the card reader.  I find the major benefits being that I can see how low the machine is and plan accordingly.  I'm starting to realize that I can stretch things out and plan a lot better than I ever thought I could.

Card sales aside, telemetry obviously helps but I have found one of the biggest strengths of the software is that I have a very clean method to know what is selling the fastest.  I have already started doubling items at some locations and finding that the machines make more money without looking so "empty."  I am also going to start ordering product according to what I really need, rather than what I always kind of made up as I went.

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Things change quickly .. I installed by first card readers about 6 years ago, and I did not see a noticeable cashless drop after installs then.  Cashless sales would keep going up while cash remained mostly level.  My theory was that customers who carried cash would continue to use cash anyway.  I think now that the cashless trend in society is growing so quickly that you may have customers who were getting cash just to use your machines prior to the card readers, so the switch to cashless is something they were waiting on. 

Using the data to optimize the planogram and manage your menu and stales loss is huge, as you saw so soon.  I am still having stales over the 0.5% that LACanteen recommends, probably well below that point with my online machines but the offline machines still generate too many. 

 

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10 hours ago, Southeast Treats said:

Things change quickly .. I installed by first card readers about 6 years ago, and I did not see a noticeable cashless drop after installs then.  Cashless sales would keep going up while cash remained mostly level.  My theory was that customers who carried cash would continue to use cash anyway.  I think now that the cashless trend in society is growing so quickly that you may have customers who were getting cash just to use your machines prior to the card readers, so the switch to cashless is something they were waiting on. 

Using the data to optimize the planogram and manage your menu and stales loss is huge, as you saw so soon.  I am still having stales over the 0.5% that LACanteen recommends, probably well below that point with my online machines but the offline machines still generate too many. 

 

I would assume that the main reason for your offline machine generating more stales is simply due to being slower accounts, and there isn't much of a way around that except doing the extra labor necessary to prevent it. 

I am stuck at a cross-road because I have to weigh the benefits and the costs of using variety packs at Sam's Club vs. buying boxes from the distributor.  At Sam's Club, I get their variety packs with about 0.43/unit, whereas they cost me about 0.50/unit from the closest distributor.  As you know, that 0.07 is gigantic but the problem is that I often get stuck with items that don't sell as well (or I put them in the wrong locations) and the dates often disappoint me.  Yesterday, Sam's had a specific variety pack flavor that expired January 1st, and it appeared to be an entire stack of maybe 20 packs with the same date... behind the stack that was dated January 15th.  I only checked the back because I was HOPING to see better dates in the back since sales will be a little slow for the next month or so, but obviously the frito lay guys only care about restocking as fast as possible and not about rotation at all.  So.. the benefit to the variety packs is the price but the cost is in expired product and potential lost profits from slower sales (by not having more of what sells faster).  The benefit to buying from the distributor is that they usually have far better dates on their items, and I have way more flexibility with what I can order (especially pastries) which should help with raising profits but at the cost of higher per-unit prices.  On top of all of that, I feel that it is necessary to raise prices anyway because many prices appear to be going up lately so I feel like I may need to make the switch sooner rather than later.  It's just so difficult to compare the cheap variety packs to the more expensive wholesale items from distributors.  Even if it is a wash, it may be better in the end because it should be easier to make sure I have the best selling items in stock.  Since I started getting serious with the software in the last 2 months, I have been blowing through LSS Doritos like I never had before.

As for the card reader affecting cash, much of it could be a coincidence because I installed half of the readers in the last 3 months while there has been a lot of shakeups with job turnover as many people have been moving around trying to find better paying jobs since employers are raising wages everywhere to get the best employees they can afford.  At least that's how it has been in my local job market.  In fact, fast food stores are absolutely garbage now and I think it's because they can't afford to hire anyone when there are so many employers out there taking any capable person they can find.  So it's possible that I am comparing apples-to-oranges simply due to high turnover in the local job market.

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I get all of that - I have learned to be very careful of dates at Sam's Club, and I don't use their preordering system to make sure I can check all the dates myself.  I have never been a big fan of combo packs, I think they are planned to keep the manufacturers slower products moving and the mixes are never what I want.  I order a lot from Vistar now and I get a lot of selections that my Sam's does not carry.  Things like Sweet Chili Doritos and Fritos Honey Twists that fly out of my machines.  My Sams even stopped carrying Munchies several years ago, and they are about as evergreen as anything I carry.  If you have ever taken a look at Herr's chips, the distributor pricing is good and they have a number of good varieties.  I usually have 2 or 3 of their products in my menu at all times.

For pastries, I had started ordering a lot from Vistar and storing them frozen, to get the most shelf life, but that was pretty expensive.  I still get some specialty pastry, but buying the usual suspects at Sams again.  I started putting best by dates on all my pastry about a year ago, the customers seem to like it and it forces us to pay attention to sales volume and keep the pars correct.

You are spot-on about the hiring market right now, thankfully I don't have to deal with that problem!  How that plays into our business and the cash/credit mix is interesting.  It's just nice to see locations hiring up and employees using the machines!!!

 

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