With their extensive food and beverage options, high convenience, impressive functionality and ease of use, it’s no surprise that micro markets are taking the food retail industry by storm. In fact, the number of micro markets increased by 39% between 2018 and 2020, while the number of conventional vending machines decreased by 21%.
With micro markets popping up all over the country and their growing popularity, it’s hard not to wonder if you should consider this impressive technology for your own business. Whether you work for a college or university, stadium or another corporation, discover the benefits of micro markets and how they can improve workplace productivity for your business.
What Is a Micro Market?
A micro market is a retail space where customers can purchase food and beverages with automated self-checkout technology. In other words, it’s essentially a convenience store with no cashiers. The customer pays for the items at a touch screen kiosk, which typically accepts a variety of payments like cash, credit and debit cards, fingerprint readers and more.
Some employers offer micro market benefits or incentive programs as well. Depending on the company, employees may access monthly food stipend accounts from the kiosk. Payroll deduction can be another payment method for employees. All of these transactions are conducted through a stable, safe and secure network.
Unlike conventional vending machines — which usually only feature a handful of snack options like chips and candy bars — micro markets have a large variety of fresh, healthy food and drink items. These are stored in refrigerated and frozen cases, which are regularly restocked. These options typically include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Frozen treats
- Bottled beverages
They can also include dry snack options like energy bars and chips, as well as packaged coffee roasts. Many micro markets also offer hot and ready-to-serve coffee and meals. This is highly convenient for employees needing a morning pick-me-up — or those who forgot to bring a lunch and don’t feel like running out to grab one. Employees can even enjoy a midnight snack if a company’s operations run around the clock. Overall, micro markets are an excellent workplace perk as employees have convenient access to meals, snacks and drinks whenever they need them.
You’ll often find micro markets in employee break rooms, universities, stadiums, museums, hospitals and other settings. They can be customized to fit the shape and size of the given area. Another factor that attracts employers is that micro markets are relatively inexpensive to install and maintain. The business simply needs to provide power, a stable internet connection and a designated space. From there, a food and beverage operator handles the technology setup and installation, as well as regular product restocks.
Who Uses a Micro Market?
The simple answer is that anyone and everyone can use a micro market. You can find micro markets in a variety of establishments, from workplaces to college campuses to other settings. For this reason, they attract a wide range of customers. While it ultimately depends on the type of facility and whether it’s private or open to the public, many facilities can implement micro markets.
In a workplace breakroom, a micro market would likely be available for employees only. In a more public space, such as a stadium, arena or museum, anyone can stop by to purchase a snack, meal or beverage — whether it’s a family, couple or individual.
Universities are another example. Depending on the college campus, the designated area may be open to students only, or they could bring outside visitors to eat if permitted.
Employees and visitors alike can purchase fresh foods and beverages with ease at micro markets. They can enjoy the great convenience, easy payment, wide variety of choices and other benefits they bring.
How Micro Markets Increase Workplace Productivity
While micro markets offer a wide variety of benefits, one of the most significant things to consider is that they can boost workplace productivity considerably. Below are some specific ways they help accomplish this.
1. Improves Health & Wellness
Employee health and wellness are significant to the overall productivity and success of a workplace. Luckily, micro markets can help.
Healthy eating is crucial for a productive workplace. Unhealthy dieting practices are linked to a 66% increased risk of productivity loss. However, finding nutritious food options can be difficult — especially in workplaces with unhealthy vending machine options and on college campuses that allow easy access to junk food.
Rather than employees and students getting this energy boost from sugary sodas, candy and chips, micro market vending promotes healthy dieting practices. It allows easy access to nutritious food options.
To boost employee wellness and overall workplace productivity, consider installing a micro market with a variety of healthy options. Think fresh fruits and vegetables, sandwiches and wraps, salads and similar options. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t provide any chips and sweets at all, but your micro market’s selection shouldn’t be exclusively unhealthy options.
2. Promotes Efficiency & Convenience
Micro markets reduce the long lines and slow service you often find with many grocery and convenience stores. No matter how much time a customer spends in a micro market, its convenient self-checkout technology lets shoppers purchase their items quickly when finished shopping.
Self-service and easy payment options enable employees to grab their food quickly and efficiently. This can boost workplace productivity, as employees won’t spend long amounts of time purchasing snacks and meals. This improves efficiency in the workplace and makes for a more positive customer experience overall.
3. Allows Easy Meal Access
When you’re rushing to get to work in the morning, it’s often easy to skip breakfast. And when employees skip meals, it can leave them hungry, irritable and unproductive.
With a micro market, employees can access breakfast options like hot coffee, oatmeal, yogurt, fresh fruit and more. This helps provide the energy they need in the morning to work productively. It also eliminates the need to stop for breakfast on the way to work, which can help ensure they make it on time.
Additionally, micro markets reduce the need for employees to leave on their lunch breaks. When employees leave the office to eat, they may experience long lines from the afternoon lunch rush. This can result in extra long breaks and a potential loss of productivity.
A micro market provides gourmet sandwiches and hot meals so employees don’t have to leave campus to pick up lunch or make one at home before coming to work. Allowing your workers access to delicious meals at the office helps keep them productive, focused and satisfied throughout the day.
Other Benefits of a Micro Market
Besides improving overall productivity in the workplace, below are some additional benefits of micro markets to consider:
1. Variety & Customization
From organizing the setup of your space to determining what products to sell, there are many ways to customize a micro market. Whether you choose to supply wraps and sandwiches, fresh fruits, protein bars, yogurt or other foods and beverages, customers will surely appreciate the variety of products your micro market brings.
You don’t have to limit your selection to foods and beverages exclusively. Expand your options with some functional non-food items like batteries, over-the-counter medicines, apparel and more.
With this significant level of variety and customization, you can also make your selection more inclusive for those with special dietary needs and restrictions. Here are some examples:
- Vegetarian options like veggie sausage and black bean burgers
- Plenty of low-carb fruits and veggies, eggs, nuts and high-fat meats for ketogenic dieters
- Gluten-free choices for those with celiac disease, gluten ataxia or personal preferences
- Accommodations for common food allergies like nuts, soy, milk, eggs and wheat
2. Better Company Reputation
A micro market could be just what you need to give your business’s image a positive boost. Many workers value company perks like better breakrooms with access to coffee and snacks. For this reason, a micro market with fresh, quality food options can be very attractive to workers.
Installing a micro market demonstrates that your company values its employees and supports a productive work environment. This is a significant benefit for current workers that looks impressive to prospective employees as well. If you’re looking to retain and attract talent, a micro market can be an excellent way to grow your business’s reputation positively.
3. Little Room for Error
Another considerable benefit of micro markets is that they don’t need to be serviced. Since customers simply pick their items and check themselves out with an easy-to-navigate kiosk, there’s little room for error. You don’t have to worry about a dollar bill getting jammed or an item getting stuck as you often would with old vending machines.
Because customers control the entire purchasing process without getting in the way of others, they’ll likely appreciate the micro market setup. Additionally, you’re highly unlikely to receive complaints about a limited selection or old food items since everything is restocked regularly.
4. Less Energy
Another reason to invest in a micro market is that it can help reduce your environmental footprint. A micro market generally uses less energy each year than conventional vending machines. If you’re looking to promote sustainability in the workplace, a micro market can be a great way to do so.
Overall, any business can benefit from a micro market. It’s an excellent way to make a good impression, improve sales, enhance your customers’ dining experience and more. If you’re considering a micro market for your own establishment but aren’t quite sure who to reach out to, look no further than American Dining Creations.
How We Can Help With Your Micro Market Needs
At American Dining Creations, we specialize in innovative dining solutions to create a more positive and efficient dining experience for everyone. That’s the drive behind REFRESHexpress, our self-service market that provides hundreds of fresh, nutritious products for employees.
Here are some of the key features you can enjoy with REFRESHexpress:
- Regular stocking: Our team of route professionals stocks fresh products as often as daily so you don’t have to.
- Grab and go meals: Customers can enjoy delicious packaged meals on the go, gaining convenience without sacrificing taste.
- 24/7 security: Our team monitors markets 24/7 to ensure safety and accountability for your business.
- Fully customizable: We provide 100% customizable micro markets to accommodate your business’s unique needs.
- Healthy options: Our micro markets include a wide range of nutritious foods and beverages for your employees.
- No out-of-pocket costs: With American Dining Creations, you don’t have to worry about out-of-pocket costs like coolers, product racks, security monitoring equipment and a self-payment kiosk.
Here are some other ways we can help with your company’s micro market needs:
1. Innovative Mini Markets
Our innovative Nano markets are ideal for any size break room. We’ll tailor them to fit your business’s setup and space, even if it’s just one snack rack and a mini beverage cooler.
You don’t have to worry about crowded kiosks or long lines — customers simply choose their products, pay with one of our easy payment options, then head to a dining area to enjoy their food. Offer limitless selection, convenience and freshness to your employees with an innovative Nano market.
2. Efficient Payment
Our state-of-the-art payment kiosk is simple and secure. It accepts a range of flexible payment options, including:
- Credit and debit cards
- Payroll deduction
- Apple Pay, Google Pay and Android Pay
- Customized employee ID cards
- Mobile pay with FRESHRewards
- Reloadable value cards
Our award-winning kiosk system is easy for employees to navigate, allowing them to purchase their food quickly and maintain office productivity.
3. FRESHRewards Program
With American Dining Creations, your employees can enjoy our exclusive FRESHRewards app, one of the most advanced mobile rewards and payment apps on the market. This program enables your employees to manage their payment accounts and load funds with ease. After setting up their account, they can simply scan the app to pay for items while earning outstanding rewards along the way.
Here are the key features they can experience with FRESHRewards:
- Easy account management
- Convenient auto reloads
- Earning free products with rewards points
- Full review of purchase history
- Easy mobile payment
Boost Workplace Productivity With American Dining Creations
Whatever the goals are for your businesses — driving up food sales, offering healthier options, providing valuable perks for your employees or encouraging them to eat on-site — American Dining Creations can help you achieve them.
Our unmatched passion for quality, innovation and personalization sets us apart from other companies that use the same cookie-cutter approach. We understand that every business’s needs are different, and we can tailor our micro market services to fit your specifications. If you’re looking for a company that can elevate your dining program with state-of-the-art technology, American Dining Creations is your solution.
Let us help you create the ultimate dining experience for your employees, students or visitors. To learn more about what American Dining Creations can do for your business, contact us today!