Starting a Vending Franchise Business

There is a lot to consider when looking for a franchise opportunity. What kind of industry would you like to go into? What kind of time commitment can you make? What does the initial investment look like? How long will it take you to be successful? Well, it’s easier than you think to start planning if you are planning on buying a vending franchise.

Here are five things to consider when looking for a vending franchise:

1. Location, location, location. This isn’t a clichéd saying for no reason! Location is of the utmost importance with many businesses, but with vending, it’s even more so. If you are planning on buying a DVD vending franchise, for instance, it’s probably best to go with high-traffic areas like gas stations or grocery stores. With healthy snacks, it might be best to go for gyms, schools and churches.

2. Initial investment is lower. With a restaurant franchise, you’ve got to worry about hiring cooks, learning the menu, training wait staff, marketing, and more. With vending machines, you can simply place it wherever you want and stock it with in-demand items. There’s no guessing about investment range.

3. Maintenance. Have a clear plan for who is in charge of maintenance and stocking your machines. You want to make sure they are always working properly so that people come back.

4. Time commitment. Luckily for you, owning a vending franchise isn’t as time consuming as most other franchise opportunities. You’ve got time to be with your family and you won’t be working late hours or holidays.

5. Make profit in less time. It doesn’t take a long time to start turning a profit for vending franchises. Even though the merchandise does not cost much money, neither does the machine and maintenance. Therefore, you’ve got a higher return on investment potential. This means, too, that you can open up more opportunities for yourself in new locations.

Franchise Clique Signs Automotive Giant Meineke

Meineke Car Care has just signed with Franchise Clique and we couldn’t be happier. This automotive franchise is one of the best in the business and has been on Entrepreneur Magazine‘s “Franchise 500” list for years. This year, it’s in the top 100!

So what don’t you know about Meineke? Perhaps you don’t know that this franchise has grown to over 900 businesses or that it has been a market presence for over 30 years. Franchisees agree that the business is a great one to own. As one franchisee put it, it’s difficult to be an independent business anymore. Owning a Meineke is great because it has serious brand recognition and people know that it stands for outstanding service not only to its customers, but to its franchisees.

So, in short, we’re extremely pleased to have the Meineke Car Care franchise as a client at Franchise Clique. We’re excited to hear more success stories from franchisees and encourage you to leave any stories you might have about Meineke in the comments below!

Fresh Healthy Vending Has New Leadership

Fresh Healthy Vending has appointed a new CEO and President, Dan Negroni. Negroni has over 20 years experience in growing businesses and should come in very handy to the franchise’s growth plan for the coming years. With over 1,100 locations in the United States and Canada, Fresh Healthy Vending has grown exponentially in the last two years.

“I am honored and excited to lead Fresh Healthy Vending at this time because I believe they matter as a company – it matters to both our children’s and adults health and to communities across North America,” said Negroni (vendingmarketwatch).

Fresh Healthy Vending offers healthier vending machine options like fresh fruit, yogurt, granola and baked chips. The dual cooling climate is perfect for holding healthier food and drinks, which makes it a perfect vending franchise opportunity.

Vending Machine Bakes Cupcakes?! It’s True!

Imagine being able to get a fresh cupcake whenever you wanted. Sprinkles Cupcakes Founder Candace Nelson made that dream a reality after enduring many late-night cravings while pregnant. Sprinkles has created the first-ever 24-hour vending machine to produce freshly-baked cupcakes. At the machine, they’ll cost you $4, whereas in the store they cost $3.25. A little mark-up is a small price to pay for customers’ convenience. Video above via IBTimes. Can you imagine if this amazing idea became the new standard in vending franchises? That would be amazing!

Vending Franchise Spotlight: IntoxBox

What is an IntoxBox anyway? An IntoxBox is a 19-inch touch screen monitor with advanced remote monitoring system that gives a reliable Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) reading for bar patrons. This little box does a whole lot: it discreetly informs individual of their BAC so they know whether or not they can legally drive home. This is really important because of so many alcohol-related car crashes (and not to mention DUI tickets). This little box is unlike those before it. Its modern design and touch screen makes it more user-friendly and more appropriate for upscale bars and it accepts credit and debit cards, to make it easier for you to make money.

IntoxBox not only helps patrons and bar owners, but it can also double as a powerful advertisement. With its 19-inch monitor, it can bring ads out of the restroom stalls and into the main room of the bar where it can be seen by everyone. IntoxBox handles the ads and pays you a percentage, so you’ll benefit with minimal effort.

IntoxBox is a great vending franchise opportunity because it’s merchandise-free. Therefore, you won’t be stuck restocking cans and snacks. So check out the interactive breathalyzer IntoxBox if you’re interested in a home-based business with minimal maintenance. Parker Stewart, the creator of IntoxBox, says he hopes to add a “call a cab” feature, according to Mississippi State’s article in The Reflector.

Fresh Healthy Vending Experiencing Healthy Growth

After selling 95 franchises last year, Fresh Healthy Vending has become one of the most successful and fastest-growing vending franchises in the country. Since they just began in May 2010, this is great news for CEO Jolly Backer. According to their press release, Fresh Healthy Vending is expected to double in sales this new year. As this expansion is happening, they are not forgetting the franchisees who are making them a success. Fresh Healthy Vending is constantly testing new products to best inform the franchisees of what people want. They are also testing new locations like military bases, hospitals and schools. As the war on obesity wages on in America, Fresh appears to be firmly entrenched in the fight.

For those not familiar with the franchise, Fresh Healthy Vending offers more nutritious options than traditional vending machines with soda and candy. Some options include coconut water, protein bars, granola, juices and even vegetables and fruit. They’ve dubbed themselves “the future of vending,” and from the looks of things, it seems many agree!

The Ease of Vending Franchises

When you think of vending franchises, you naturally think of snacks and sodas, right? Well, although those are great money-makers, there are also vending franchises that don’t require merchandise. Franchises like the Boozelator, IntoxBox and The Back Massager simply require maintenance. Since the Boozelator and IntoxBox are breathalyzer machines and the latter is a massage chair, none require anything but maintenance. It’s the perfect solution for those potential franchisees that want to make a little extra income without having to devote massive amounts of time to a business.

Healthier 4U Vending Machine

More than meets the eye...

Though they require more upkeep, merchandise vending machines are a huge market right now. One in particular that is seeing a ton of growth is DVD Now Rental Kiosks. The ease and convenience of a video store on practically every corner (not to mention super-affordable prices) has America in a frenzy over these little machines. Similarly, did you know that ATMs are often franchises? This is also a great growth opportunity. Of course, there is always the classic vending franchise opportunity with a twist. Healthier 4 U Vending and Naturals 2 Go both offer healthier alternatives to sugary sodas and fattening snacks. They can go anywhere, too, from schools to parks to office buildings. Even Mayor Bloomberg of New York City has enacted new rules about what schools can offer kids as food options.

Have I convinced you yet? Check out more information about vending franchises on Franchise Clique.

New Guidelines on School Vending Machines

The Obama administration is working to enact new policies that will set better nutritional standards for kids in schools. According to the New York Times, kids eat 19-50% of their food at school during the day. Therefore, regulations must be placed on the availability on unhealthy options. Schools as well as food and beverage industries have mixed feelings. Candy/unhealthy food promotions can often lead to big dollars in fundraising for schools, and corporations say that most of their products do have nutritional value.

However, if you’ve been following the campaign of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move, you know that one in five kids are now considered obese. That is simply unacceptable to the administration; whatever measures need to be taken to aid our kids in getting healthy must be taken.

So why does all this matter to you? It is clear that a new business opportunity rests with healthy vending franchises. Vending machines that offer healthy options like coconut water as opposed to Coke are going to soar after these regulations are set. Looks like it’s time to get started on your franchise research!

Fresh Healthy Vending: Guilt-Free Vending Machines

It’s clearly a concept born in California—vending machines filled not with Twinkies, but with 100% juices, smoothies, fruits, veggies and organic snacks.


Fresh Healthy Vending is a franchise concept that is changing snack options in school and office vending machines across the U.S. It’s the new, “Why didn’t I think of that?” idea.


Instead of potato chips, candy bars, sodas and other empty calorie foods, Fresh Healthy Vending offers well-known junk food alternative brands like Annie’s, Horizon, Barbara’s Bakery Snacks, Odwalla, Kashi, Clif, R.W. Knudsen and Stonyfield. It’s not just granola bars and naturally sweetened drinks, either. Depending upon the vending machine, you can find entire meals from Thai Kitchen, yogurt from Wallaby’s and even get a daily serving of fruit.


Fresh Healthy Vending and similar healthy vending ideas benefitted from President Barack Obama’s The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Created in hopes of challenging the U.S.’ obesity and nutrition problems through the use of healthier school meals, the Act is expected to boost organic food industry sales—which showed a growth of almost 8% in 2010 and grossed over $28.6 billion dollars.


All the buzz has meant sweet success for Fresh Healthy Vending. In four months the company made $3.8 million from selling franchises, and they’re looking for more fresh franchisees to make the brand even bigger.

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Cool-de-Sac: The Coolest Franchise You Haven’t Heard Of


So far, there are only a few U.S. locations of Cool-de-Sac, the trendy adult-friendly but kid-focused franchise, but when a location opens near you your kids won’t be the only ones jumping for joy.


The people behind Cool-de-Sac brilliantly realized that kids are not the only guests at children’s birthday parties. After all, when was the last time you saw a 7-year old drive themselves to a birthday celebration? (I’m hoping it’s been awhile.) Parents’ days of enduring lame, tired salads and pizza baked yesterday and kept warm beneath heat lamps are over. Cue Handel’s Messiah.




Cool-de-Sac has two menus: one for parents and one for children ages 13 and under. While there’s a distinct difference in offerings between the two, there’s been a clear effort to offer healthier choices on both, especially on the kid’s menu. Cool-de-Sac takes their genius concept to the next level by cleverly masking healthy items, like their carrot and sweet potato purée, in traditionally less healthy ones, like cheese pizza. In addition, Cool-de-Sac had nutritional analysts specifically review the kid’s menu. No more fighting over what to order—there’s nothing really unhealthy to choose from.


As far as the grownups are concerned, Cool-de-Sac puts every other competitor to shame with menu items like their Goat Cheese Salad, Salmon Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries. Not to mention, there’s beer and wine on the menu. (Not that you’d need any.)





There’s more to Cool-de-Sac than just their trendy menu. While you’re enjoying your meal (and perhaps a glass of wine), kids have the opportunity to play in 7 differently themed playrooms:

  • Arts— Where they can color, draw and create artistic masterpieces
  • Blocks – Where they can create buildings, cars and more with lock blocks (like Legos).
  • Computers – Where they can play on Apple iMacs or with Wiis
  • Salon – A girly girls’ dream come true! Kids can play dress up to their heart’s content or get a mini manicure and makeover with the help of a Cool-de-Sac attendant.
  • Play Unit – Where kids can climb, swing and maneuver their way through the expansive play unit.
  • Tots – A special room for Cool-de-Sac’s littlest guests.
  • Lightspace— A light up dance floor is fun at any age!
  • Discovery – Where kids can play with magnets, interlocking gears and other scientific toys.




Cool-de-Sac is definitely cool. Finally, there’s a place where kids are free to be kids and adults are free to enjoy themselves in their own way. Appropriately, Cool-de-Sac’s focus is predominately on it’s kid clients, but it obviously hasn’t ruled out their parent’s fun, either. Not that a light up dance floor can’t be fun for all ages.


Why Location Doesn’t Matter When It Comes to Franchise Real Estate

Franchise Territory Mapping Tools

The old adage that the three things that matter most in real estate are location, location and location is only half true. The most important factor is the relationship between the property’s purpose and its geographic location, especially when it comes to your business’ profitability.


Think about the way you chose your current living space. What were your primary considerations? Were you more concerned with proximity to your workplace or neighborhood safety? Did you want an urban or suburban lifestyle?


How we choose our residential living space is similar to the way a serial entrepreneur or franchisor selects his or her next business location. It’s all about the relationship between the available geographic space and its constituents, rather, the potential customers.


But when you’re investing thousands of dollars of your own money to open a new location, you might want to consider more than just urban versus suburban lifestyles and how close you are to the best schools in town.


Or do you?


Well, it depends. Regardless of the economic, demographic or geographic success indicators for a franchise, a key step in the development process is market analysis. Territory mapping software can be very helpful in analyzing, processing and aggregating data that otherwise would be mind-numbingly difficult to interpret if left in an Excel spreadsheet.


Tetrad, Geometrx, Microsoft MapPoint, Alteryx, Maptitude and MapInfo Professional are some useful territory mapping options we found for franchise mapping purposes. All use their own unique mix of geographical, mapping and demographic datasets to help business decision makers.


Tetrad uses PCensus, demographic and geographic data to help clients plan sites and evaluate/analyze market data.


  • Measure trade area performance by comparing your business’ performance relative to local competition.
  • Find new markets and opportunities
  • Evaluate shopping centers
  • Locate distribution centers and identify key facts about shipments
  • Minimize transportation cost by changing geographical location of shipment centers
  • Determine the positive or negative effects of relocation


Geometrx is a territory management tool. The software is designed to use Geometrx’s and the client’s datasets together to generate a view of current territories and suggestions on effective management options.


  • Manage up to five territory hierarchies (from the national level to micro-geographical locations)
  • Scenario tracking and management allows users to compare and contrast possible situations using Geometrx’s and the user’s datasets


Microsoft MapPoint uses map data to pinpoint relationships between data and geographical location, trends and opportunities.


  • Good option for International franchisors as it has European datasets
  • GPS sharing capabilities
  • Ability to analyze local markets and your competitors


Alteryx thought of everything when they created their software. The business analysis tool is, like the other software profiled, to examine the meaningful connection between different sets of data.


  • Math lover’s delight—user has access to simple and complex mathematical formulas and functions (if/then statements, spatial manipulations, numeric conversions, etc.)
  • Access to financial metrics, measurements and statistical data sets like net present value (NPV) and internal rates of return (NRR).
  • Analysis and mapping of trade areas using census data and standard geographical limitations like county lines and zip codes.
  • Geographic news search (using MetaCarta’s library)


Maptitude uses data from the census, core based statistical areas (CBSAs), counties, zip codes and other geographical limitations.

  • International capabilities make Maptitude a great option for franchisors expanding into non-U.S. territories.
  • Create and edit maps, analyze geographical data and connect to corporate data resources that offered free of charge on Maptitude’s website. The software supports over 50 file types and 100 GIS formats.


MapInfo Professional is a Windows-based mapping and geographical analysis application designed to examine the relationships between data and geography.

  • MapInfo Pro allows users to manage location-based assets
  • Gain an understanding of markets
  • Discover trends
  • Create custom maps.



Why Small Businesses (And Franchises) Need Social Media

If you think social media isn’t important, you’re wrong. Take a look at the scandal surrounding former Rep. Weiner and you’ll see the impact social media can have. Take a look at Lady Gaga, and you’ve got a picture perfect example of your Twitter feed’s potential power.


Regardless of whether or not you believe Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn can respectively sustain their current level of success, everyone around you is using social media. So, why aren’t you using it to gain a competitive edge against big businesses? Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are great resources because they’re inexpensive (read: free), user-friendly, fun and fast.


Social media is inexpensive. For the small business owner, any free marketing tool should be cause enough for celebration. Small businesses are having trouble enough securing loans to open up their doors let alone finding extra funds to devote to marketing initiatives.


You shouldn’t be surprised that social media platforms are user-friendly; your customers are (probably) using it. If you’re afraid of technology or unfamiliar with how any of the popular social media platforms operate, don’t be. It will not take you more than a few days, at most, to navigate the social media waters. You can always ask a coworker or employee to help you if you need it—which I doubt you will.


Social media can be an effective way to connect with customers, when used correctly. Don’t ever forget that social media is about conversing and engaging with your audience. Once you start pushing your product or service they’ll shut you out.


If a customer likes something you do or make ask them to tweet about it or write on your Facebook wall. Respond to them, thank them the same way you would if they said these things in person. Also, for your fans on Facebook, let them know about upcoming events, specials or sales before others.


Conversely, if your customer is unhappy, social media can also be an effective way to begin to handle the situation. Responding to a tweet or Facebook message is easier for the customer and for you—it’s fast.


Say, for example, you’re a pizza restaurant that delivers. A customer tweets, “Was looking forward to my Hawaiian pizza from @LovinInTheOven but got pepperoni instead. #disappointed” and includes a picture of the pepperoni pie. Even if you catch the mistake the next day (and presumably the customer eats the pizza anyway) tweet the customer an apology and offer to make it right. For a small business, this is a great way to show you care. Bonus points if you can secure a photo and/or a tweet of the customer eating a slice of Hawaiian.


What if you find yourself in a United Airlines-style situation? Well, presumably as a small business your customer’s dissatisfaction won’t get to that level. Due to your size, you’re closer to your customers and don’t have as many bureaucratic hoops to jump through. Just in case you accidentally do break a customer’s guitar and give them the runaround in fixing the issue, here’s how I would assuage the sticky situation after he’s posted a YouTube video:

United Breaks Guitars

  1. Apologize first in an official capacity (standard operating procedure).
  2. Say you’re sorry in a creative way. Perhaps you can post a YouTube video as a response. Picture United personnel singing the tune of “Why Can’t We Be Friends” featuring a new Taylor guitar identical to the one you ruined that somehow finds its way being delivered to the unhappy customer.


Aside from apologizing to customers and getting positive feedback for your business, social media is also a fun way to share your business’ culture. Do you always host a tacky Christmas sweater party? Share these embarrassing photos with your customers. Your customers are people first and foremost and social media is one way to maintain a fun, light-hearted connection with them outside of your business’ four walls.  Did you find a funny video you that brightened your day? Share! Chances are if something made you smile it will do the same for them—they’ll like you for it.


Take a look at our social media platforms for inspiration