MTA Will Convert Empty Newsstands Into Vending Machines

New York City SubwayIn Japan, vending machines are remarkably popular. The country has the highest density of vending machine with more than 5 million machines across the country. You can kill time waiting for a train by getting everything from a shot of sake to bananas and fish soup from a vending machine. Vending is so ingrained with Japan’s subway culture that just this year a vending machine made from a recycled subway car was rolled out in the Tameike Sanno Subway Station.

Perhaps inspired by their Tokyo Metro counterparts, the New York City Transit Authority is now in the process of converting empty newsstands into vending machines.

Currently, around 40-percent of the MTA’s 326 retail spaces stand empty. These spaces used to house newsstands that sold everything from newspapers to snacks and toiletries. In recent years, however, the decline in purchases at the stands has left many of them closed.

In response to the shuttered stores, the MTA has been prototyping a number of new ideas. Recently, an underground market called the Turnstyle Project that offers food vendors, retail space and popup shops opened at Columbus Circle. The market also hosted popup stores at other empty locations in the system. Now, the MTA will deploy vending machines in some stations as well.

The new vending machines will start rolling out later this year. Although a spot of sake might make waiting for A-train more interesting, there are currently no plans for vending alcoholic beverages. Instead, the vending machines will sell food, drinks and a few personal necessities like toiletries.

The project is still in the planning stages of development, so there has been no announcement regarding which stations will be targeted first. The MTA has said they will not displace any current newsstand vendors or place vending machines in competition with them. The rollout is expected to begin this summer, just in time for commuters and tourists to be thankful for a cold drink at the press of a button.

Vending Machine Dispenses Free Books to Children in Buffalo, NY

Child Reading a BookThese days, vending machines are capable of doing more than just keeping workplaces stocked with convenient, nutritious food options. From cars to clothing, you can find vending machines that dispense a wide variety of other products as well.

In Buffalo, New York, for example, one public elementary school is even using a vending machine to promote literacy among its young students.

At the Arthur O. Eve School of Distinction #61, students are receiving golden tokens that given them access to free books from a new vending machine that offers age-appropriate literature for children in Pre-K through 4th grade. Rather than giving out books as rewards for good behavior or attendance, every student at the school will have an opportunity to choose a book from the vending machine based on a monthly rotation. The students are then encouraged to take these books home and use them to start their very own libraries.

The book vending machine was funded by the Community Action Organization of Western New York, which purchased the machine for $2,000 and provided an additional $1,000 to fill it with books. Another local nonprofit organization called The Teacher’s Desk has offered to keep the machine stocked with books in the future.

“One of the biggest issues we have in this district is literacy,” said Buffalo School Board member Sharon Belton-Cottman in a recent interview. “If our children can read, they can survive.”

Thanks to the efforts of the dedicated educators in Buffalo, this vending machine will be providing treasured reading material to the students at PS 61 for years to come.

The London Underground is Getting Laundry Vending Machines

Dry CleaningDry cleaning your professional attire is a great way to prolong the lifespan of some of your nicest clothing, but taking weekly trips to the cleaners can be a huge hassle. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a simpler way to dry clean your clothes without being forced to add one more thing to your to-do list?

In London, many commuters can now drop off their dry cleaning on their way to work thanks to a local company called VClean Life.

This startup recently introduced vending machines called VDrop machines that are designed to make dry cleaning easy for busy professionals who can’t always make it to the cleaners. Now, commuters can deposit their clothing in one of the machines—which are conveniently located in London Underground stations throughout the city—and have them dry cleaned, folded and ready to be picked up in just 24 hours.

To start using VClean Life’s unique new service, all people have to do is sign up for it online and receive a QR code from the company. Using this code, customers can drop clothes off at any VDrop machine in the city. Then, the clothing will be picked up, transported to a facility owned by VClean Life, dry cleaned and returned to the same machine in under a day. Despite the added convenience, the service expected to cost a fraction of the price of working with a traditional dry-cleaning company.

At Orsino Vending, we’re always excited to see what companies like VClean Life are doing with vending machines these days. We’re also working hard to provide companies with everything they need to incorporate vending machines into their own businesses. Call us at (201) 871-9286 to get started today!

Coca-Cola Promotes Recycling With Reverse Vending Machines

Reverse Vending MachineCold bottles of Coca-Cola have been vending machine staples for decades, and now the company is using “reverse vending machines” to encourage their customers to recycle every bottle of Coke they buy. Earlier this month, Coca-Cola deployed its reverse vending machines at the 50th anniversary Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle. Each time an attendee returned a bottle or can to one of the machines, it would automatically contribute the $.05 deposit as a donation to Special Olympics Washington. In other places where Coca-Cola has installed its reverse vending machines, customers can receive gifts such as Coke-branded t-shirts, bags and hats made from recycled plastic when they deposit their used bottles and cans.

Coca-Cola is particularly interested in using its reverse vending machines to encourage recycling at music festivals and other outdoor events where large quantities of bottled beverages are consumed. They’ve even suggested offering VIP benefits to fans who use their recycling centers at these events. Coca-Cola North America is currently in the process of deploying reverse vending machines at retail locations in the United States and Canada as well.

This program constitutes just one part of Coca-Cola’s ambitious World Without Waste initiative, which aims to “collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can it sells globally by 2030.” In addition to creating its own recycling centers, the company is also working to develop 100-percent recyclable packaging and reduce the amount of plastic that is used to make its bottles.

Keep an eye out next time you buy a bottle of Coke from a vending machine—there could be another machine waiting to take your bottle back nearby!

Carvana Unveils New Eight-Story Vehicle Vending Machine

Woman in New CarYou can find just about anything in vending machines these days. Whether you’re looking to grab a quick bite to eat in your office or a new pair of headphones at the airport, you can usually find a vending machine that has just what you need.

Now, people in Charlotte, North Carolina can even buy cars from a vending machine owned and operated by Carvana.

This massive machine is eight stories tall, and it’s capable of holding up to 32 cars at a time. Carvana, which specializes in buying and selling vehicles online, designed the machine to give their customers a convenient new way to purchase cars without having to spend hours in a dealership. All they need to do is find the vehicle they want online, select a payment option, and then choose for it to be delivered to the vending machine for pickup.

Once the car arrives, its new owner can schedule a time to visit the vending machine and activate it with a large commemorative coin. The machine will then spring into action, sending the vehicle down to a delivery bay where it can be picked up by the customer and driven home. All of this is done without the help of any human employees.

Carvana hopes that the vending machine will encourage more people to buy cars online, rather than from traditional brick-and-mortar dealerships. Last year, the company began offering a similar vending machine service in Houston, Texas as well.

Interested in outfitting your workplace with a modern, versatile vending machine? Give us a call today or contact us online to get started!

Charity Uses Vending Machines to Feed and Clothe the Homeless

Charity Uses Vending Machines to Feed and Clothe the HomelessWinter can be hard on the homeless populations in the U.K., but a charity called Action Hunger is employing a unique new strategy to make life a little easier for the country’s most vulnerable citizens. Recently, the charity announced plans to stock a vending machine in Nottingham, England with necessities like fresh fruit, sandwiches, toothpaste and socks that can be accessed by the city’s homeless population free of charge. Many of the food items are being donated by local supermarkets.

Key cards will be issued to homeless individuals based on their level of need by partner organizations such as counseling centers and shelters. These key cards will grant access to three vending machine items per day.

“We want our low-cost solution to complement other services that are available, as engagement with professionals and local support services is instrumental to breaking the cycle of homelessness,” says the charity’s website.

Action Hunger has only deployed one of its vending machines so far, but the charity already has plans to install more machines in Manchester, London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle as well. Homelessness has become an increasingly prevalent issue in many cities in recent years, and the founders of Action Hunger hope that their vending machine service, in conjunction with other local charities and government outreach programs, might help to alleviate homeless rates across the globe.

To learn more about Action Hunger and how you can get involved in their efforts to combat homelessness, you can visit the charity’s website here.

High-Tech Vending Machines Are Getting Pretty Smart

High-Tech Vending Machines Are Getting Pretty SmartThe vending machines you used just a decade or two ago were incredibly basic compared to what is available today. You might put a dollar or two into those machines, select what you wanted to purchase and pick up your change. It was a simple process, but many of today’s vending machines are able to do so much more than the vending machines of yesteryear. Some particularly high-tech options are even able to use features like facial recognition and machine learning to make recommendations based on your specific preferences.

Today’s vending machines are able to provide customers with just about any product you can imagine.

While many older vending machines only offered snacks and beverages, you can purchase everything from frozen yogurt to electronics in modern vending machines. These machines also offer a variety of different payment options. Some machines are able to accept payments wirelessly and sync with your smartphone to help you pick out what you want. Additionally, these vending machines often offer high-definition displays and touchscreens that make the purchasing process even easier.

In the future, vending machines are going to continue to get more and more advanced, according to Venture Beat. Some, like the VICKI smart vending machine, are incorporating social media and fingerprint identification to personalize the experience of using a vending machine. Others, like Coca Cola’s smart digital vending machine, are allowing people to connect to the cloud when making purchases. It’s going to be interesting to see how far vending machine manufacturers can take things in the years to come, especially when you consider just how far they’ve come already.

At Orsino Vending, we strive to offer our customers a variety of modern vending machine options to suit their unique needs. From fresh, healthy options to quick snacks and coffee machines, you can find it all right here. Give us a call or contact us online today to learn more!

Uniqlo Brings Its Clothing Vending Machines to U.S. Markets

Uniqlo Brings Its Clothing Vending Machines to U.S. MarketsLooking for a few basic T-shirts in an array of different colors? Thanks to Japanese clothing company Uniqlo, you could soon purchase your shirts from a vending machine in a mall or airport. Uniqlo specializes in offering casual, affordable clothing that is simple yet fashion-forward. Although the company is hugely popular in its home country of Japan, it’s struggled to gain a secure foothold in the U.S. This can be attributed in large part to changing retail habits among American consumers.

That’s why Uniqlo is trying something new—offering consumers the opportunity to buy clothes from vending machines, rather than its massive flagship stores in major cities. The “Uniqlo To Go” vending machines will be stocked with a number of the company’s most popular items, including lightweight down jackets and heat-retaining shirts. The clothes are packaged in boxes and cans, and they can be returned in store or through the mail.

Uniqlo hopes that its vending machines will strike an appealing middle ground between traditional retail options and online e-commerce sites. To begin with, the company will bring 10 of its vending machines to locations throughout the country, including the Houston Airport and Queens Center in New York. Not only will the vending machines offer consumers a new way to purchase Uniqlo garments, they will also serve as eye-catching marketing tools for the company’s products.

If the pilot program is successful, we may see more Uniqlo To Go machines cropping up in other places across the country as well. These days, it seems like there’s virtually no limit to the things you can find in a vending machine.

Vending Machines: Coming to an Uber Near You

Vending Machines: Coming to an Uber Near YouOne of the things that sets ridesharing service Uber apart from traditional taxi services is that its drivers often offer refreshments such as water, chips and chewing gum to their patrons. Providing these simple creature comforts helps inspire customer loyalty and give people another compelling reason to take an Uber rather than a bus or taxi. It’s a popular trend that many Uber drivers have had success with.

Now, a tech startup from New York is making it even easier for Uber drivers to serve refreshments by creating miniature vending machines for their cars. It’s called Cargo, it’s managed to generate about $1.75 million in seed funding.

Drivers can sign up for the service for free, and choose from a variety of snacks and handy travel items such as Advil and charging cables. After selecting their preferred menu items, Cargo will send them a custom display case that can be fastened to the center console in their car. Each display case has its own unique URL that passengers can visit to purchase items from the little vending machines.

Drivers receive 50 cents for each item they sell, while the rest of the profits go to Cargo. The company is also negotiating with brands to offer passengers free samples for some products as well. It’s a mutually-beneficial relationship that could make it easier for Uber drivers to provide top-notch service to their customers. The service is currently only available in New York City, Chicago and Boston, but Cargo has reportedly received interest from drivers all across the Nation.

Walmart Begins Testing Vending Machine Service for Groceries

Walmart Begins Testing Vending Machine Service for GroceriesModern vending machines can serve more than just candy bars and bags of chips. These days, you can find vending machines that offer hot drinks, sandwiches, pastries, healthy items and more. You may have even gotten lunch from a vending machine in your office today!

Now, retail giant Walmart has introduced a creative new way for people to buy their groceries from a freestanding self-service vending machine. The vending machine consists of a 20-by-80-foot kiosk erected in a Walmart parking lot in Warr Acres, Oklahoma. It includes a refrigerator and freezer for perishable items, and it’s reportedly open 24 hours a day.

Using a smartphone app, customers can browse more than 30,000 grocery items and place orders that can be picked up later at their convenience. The only restriction is a $30 minimum order on items in the vending machine. Once customers are ready to pick up their groceries, an automated system puts all the items together and delivers them to a drive-up access point on the vending machine’s exterior.

Walmart is currently testing just one of its huge vending machines, but if the experiment is successful we may start to see them crop up in other locations as well. The company’s executives are optimistic that customers will be happy with the added speed and convenience that the vending machine offers. After all, who doesn’t want to expedite their weekly trip to the grocery store?

Interested in outfitting your workplace with a new vending machine? At Orsino Vending, we offer a variety of state-of-the-art machines that serve everything from sodas to sandwiches. Give us a call today or contact us online to learn more.