Expert Advice on Hospitality Topics

Augmenting Your Bar's Profits Through Vending Machines

Posted by Nick Kaoukis on Mon, Jul, 25, 2011 @ 11:07 AM
By Chris Parry
Atlantic Publishing

Vending Machines Pay!Vending Machine

Your kitchen can't stay open all night long and when it closes, it will do you well to have a means for your customers to fill a hole in their stomachs. A vending machine will not only do just that, it can also supply everything from condoms to cologne, antacids to breath mints. In fact, if there's a need for it, you can bet there's a vending machine to fill that need. Check your local yellow pages for vending suppliers near you.
  • Respond to customer requirements. People go to bars for three reasons: to drink, have fun and meet people. That last reason might make you want to consider fitting your club with a condom machine. One of these machines in the women's and men's restrooms can bring you a great source of income, especially on busy nights. Offering other bathroom essentials, like cologne, lip balm, women's essentials and aspirin, can add further profitability to your operation.
  • Snacks.A selection of snack products can be another great earner, not just inside your bar but also outside. Chocolates, candy, chips, mints, cookies, granola bars; these snacks will keep your patrons going all night long without bothering your bar staff - or tempting them to enjoy the snacks themselves. Also, if you have some machines positioned outside your venue, they will continue selling for you even when the bar is closed!
  • Water. In a nightclub, charging for glasses of water can be seen as profiteering by your customers. However, installing a bottled-water- vending machine can not only save your bartenders the time spent pouring out free water, it can also bring you in a hefty profit when patrons start to work up a sweat on the dance floor. Initiate a "bottled water only" rule when the dance floor is in operation and have your bartenders point to the vending machine whenever they're asked for water. Or have a selection of bottled waters available from the bar. You might even consider a special menu just for bottled waters. Your customers won't mind paying for it so much if they're getting the bottled product.
  • Pay phones. It seems everyone these days has a cell phone, but there's still a huge need for the good old payphone. Incorporating phone card vending machines alongside a bank of pay phones is a way to double your profits on your customers' phone habits. Have them give you quarters for local calls or ten bucks for long distance. If you give your patrons options, they'll invariably choose one.


This article is an excerpt from the Food Service Professional Guide to Bar & Beverage Operation, authored by Chris Parry, published by Atlantic Publishing Company. This excerpt has been reprinted with permission of the publisher. To purchase this book go to:

Atlantic Publishing Company

Topics: bar, NightClub Management, bar business, Bar Management, Bar products, Increasing Profits