Univ. spent no money on new vending machines

Univ. spent no money on new vending machines

October 21, 2016

New vending machines have been installed around campus at no cost to the university. The vending company supplied the machines and will earn back the cost in sales over time, according to Kevin Collen, the director of University Services.

“The machines are property of the vendor, there are no direct capital expenditures related to the delivery of these machines,” said Collen.

Obligations of upkeep and capital costs are entirely the responsibility of the vendor, and as a result Brandeis sees none of the money that these machines collect. Only the vendor and students benefit from these new machines. The effort to make vending options healthier and more accessible has proven to be an effort that came at no expense to students or Brandeis’ budget.

The upgraded machines came per request of the student body in the latest campus operations survey. “In response to feedback from the most recent campus operations survey, we are upgrading our food and beverage vending services,” said Jim Gray, vice president of Campus Operations, in an email to students on Oct. 13.

Those who participated in the survey voiced concerns about Brandeis’ vending machines in three main areas: availability of healthy options, different ways to pay and functionality, according to Collen. Functionality refers to the vending service’s responsiveness to problems with the machines as well as efficiency of restocking.

The new machines satisfy these concerns, offering more variety and healthier options for those looking to grab a quick snack. They carry “multiple oven-baked [chips] as opposed to fried chip options, several vegetable-based items, multiple trail-mix options, significantly reduced traditional chocolate bar-type candy options and multiple fruit snacks,” said Collen. The machines also include Pop-Tarts, Twizzlers and Snickers.

The new machines will accept a greater number of payment methods compared to their predecessors. Students will be able to pay with WhoCash, credit cards, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay and cash, allowing for more accessibility to these healthier snack options.

The permanent placement of the machines will rely on a variety of factors. “The ability to offer more ways to pay and more closely monitor stock levels is dictated by how well a given solution can interface with IT resources, including most notably, cellular networks,” said Collen, saying that the machines will be placed in the highest traffic areas that meet these needs.

The kind of snacks these machines stock will be adaptable based on the needs and preferences of consumers. “We also have the ability to modify our healthy inventory in ‘real-time’ response to demand patterns, something we were not able to do in the past,” said Collen. The intention is for the new machines, combined with more “grab and go” locations on campus, to elevate and improve the Brandeis dining experience.

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