How Technology Impacts the Value of Your OCS Business

Even if you aren’t looking to sell your OCS business, adding value should always be a strategic goal as it appeals to both customers and potential investors. The creation of value is the driving force behind any exchange. Everyone needs to get something out of the deal. For your customers, it’s convenience and products that help improve their employee experiences. For potential investors, they’re mainly looking at the financial performance of your company (revenue, costs, assets, etc.). But an area that’s often overlooked is technology.

The systems you use impacts different areas of your business, including operations, positioning, scalability, and client and employee experiences. Managing an OCS business is complex. Having the right tools makes your business easier to run and keeps you competitive, which increases value.

But what technology is important? In what context do you need to consider technology? Here are the different ways and areas that technology can impact the value of your business.

Infrastructure (IT)

If your IT infrastructure is reliable, secure, and flexible, it can help you meet your business goals and maintain a competitive edge in your market. It helps make sharing important information across your operations easy, which saves your team time and customers headache. Alternatively, IT systems that aren’t up to par can cause issues with connectivity, security, and operations.


Securing important information needs to be a top priority. With cyber threats on the rise, the mishandling of sensitive information is cause for consternation among potential investors. Not to mention serious consequences for yourself and your customers.

Processes & Automation

Managing routes, customer orders, employees, and everything else that goes into your operations is a logistical juggling act. It takes strong processes to keep the operation running smoothly. Are there systems in place that help automate tasks? Has the strategic use of technology helped increase profit?


The things you do now prepare you for the future. Likewise, what you aren’t doing impacts things down the road. Technology makes your OCS business more scalable, which in turn makes you more attractive to potential buyers. Oh, and helps streamline current operations which makes for a better customer experience.

You might not be even close to thinking about selling your business. Maybe you don’t plan to at all. But it’s beneficial to always be focused on increasing business value. The use of technology is one way to do that, and it’s an area that will become increasingly important to convenience service operators.

The Growing Importance of Technology for Operators: Key Takeaways from Vending Market Watch’s Webinar

Last week, we attended vending market watch’s webinar “State of the Vending & micro market industry report.” The discussion, moderated by industry veteran Bob Tullio, covered many topics ranging from trends in the workplace to the latest industry sales data to technology. 

A lot of good points and insights were shared during the conversation. Perhaps the biggest takeaway was this: the future is looking brighter for operators. There’s still progress to make as far as recovering from the pandemic goes, but the idea that things are trending in the right direction was a sentiment shared amongst the panel of experts. That’s great news.

But there’s a caveat here: even though the future looks good, much of the growth operators can experience will also be, in part, contingent upon the adoptance of technology.

Vending, for instance, was largely reliant upon hard cash for many years, Nick Montano pointed out. But after the pandemic, operators don’t seem to want to handle cash as much anymore. As a result, adopting cashless technology and tools provided by companies like Cantaloupe and Nayax will be important to future growth for operators. 

When asked by Mr. Tullio, “Do you think technology can level the playing field for a small to medium sized operator?,” Pete Carmain of Nayax responded by saying: “Absolutely, yes…[technology] is closing that gap by making the small-medium size guy competitive.” 

At the core of Mr. Carmain’s point is that technology brings efficiency to operations, which allows operators to compete at levels they couldn’t or struggled with before.

The conversation eventually turned to the topic of industry consolidation and the factors that impact it. Part of it is a generational shift. The children of a lot of “mom and pop” operators don’t have the desire to maintain the business long term. Another factor centers around the use of technology. For those entering the industry, they’re younger and more tech savvy and are eager to use technology as new solutions for growth.

This growing theme about the reliance on technology as not just a “nice to have,” but as a necessary component to growth focuses on a universal truth: change is constant. For years, the industry lagged behind others in regards to the use of technology. But moving forward, operators serious about growing their business will need to consider how technology can help with their goals.

3 Reasons Taking Orders Through Email Is Inefficient for OCS Operators

Managing customer orders is hard work. There’s no doubt about it. What OCS operators have to do on a daily basis is nothing short of logistical magic. This includes receiving and processing orders, managing routes, and navigating last-minute issues that impact many areas of the business. (Broken down truck anyone?)

That’s why efficiency is a key element to your success as an OCS operator. Without it, operations can quickly spiral out of control, leaving your team scrambling and your customers waiting…

And waiting some more.

But what is efficiency in today’s world? As new technology is developed, what was once a convenient way to conduct business is increasingly becoming the old way. What was efficient fifteen or even ten years ago is hardly so now. Consider the use of email.

While email is still an incredible tool for communicating, inboxes have become so bloated that they present a major challenge to grapple with. A quick search online offers 300+ million results for how to manage email effectively:

Clearly, managing email is a sore spot for people. Many of whom are your customers. This is why managing their orders through (sometimes lengthy) email chains is problematic. Here are three specific reasons why…

Email is time-consuming

Let’s face it: processing emails is tedious work. But after doing things a certain way for so long, it’s sometimes hard to see the pitfalls. “It’s just the way we do things” is a common response. But that’s what people were saying when email first became a tool for businesses years ago.

To be clear, email still serves a critical purpose for any business. But using it for certain activities like taking orders requires too much time in today’s world. People crave convenience.

Think through a typical email order. The customer sends their request. It sits in somebody’s inbox for a little while (sometimes maybe too long). That person reads the message, realizes one of the items requested is out of stock. They reply to the customer to inform them and await the response. Maybe it’s within minutes, maybe it takes hours. Who knows?! But it finally comes through and the order is then manually keyed into a VMS to be processed. Multiply this by dozens of times a day and…

Well, that’s a lot of time.

Now think about it from your customer’s perspective.

They have meetings to attend. Deadlines to meet. And a whole slew of problems to fix. In other words, they’re busy. Today’s business buyer needs quick solutions that simplify their workload. The back and forth messages leave an open loop in their tasks and eat up precious time throughout their day.

Email is prone to errors

Typos and miscommunication are two of the biggest problems in any email communication. Think about how they can impact the way an operator manages orders.

When you get some customers writing that they want “that chocolate thing we ordered last time,” it’s easy to misunderstand or confuse it with another customer, then end up delivering the wrong item. Or, at best, you’ll have to search through their last order to confirm what that item was. Which, again, is time-consuming.

And if a customer accidentally typed the wrong amount of a product, they’re not going to end up with what they expected. Maybe they’ll get a lot more. Maybe a lot less.

An honest mistake on their part, no doubt. But it’s still a frustrating experience. Over time, there can be some pretty significant financial problems for them and you.

Lack of data insights

Without knowing what products your customers are buying, how can you effectively sell and offer them the value they’re seeking? This is another area where email falls short as a system for managing customer orders.

Sure, it’s possible to sift through all the messages and other systems to find what you’re looking for. But that’s a major project in and of itself.

The businesses that are winning now are the ones that understand their customers. Managing orders through email just isn’t an effective tool for providing you with the necessary insights that can impact important decisions for your growth.

Final Thoughts

Email is a critical communication tool. But today, it falls flat as a reliable tool to manage customer orders at scale. It causes delays in the order process and creates a chaotic experience for both customers and your team. As an operator, do you want to create that kind of experience for customers and employees?

Why Digital Relationships with Your Customers Matter

Up until March of 2020, the relationships that OCS operators built with customers were mainly done through routine face-to-face interactions: regular visits from drivers and sales reps to key accounts to make sure needs were being met and exceeded. But once everything shut down due to Covid, many operators struggled to maintain some of those relationships. After all, what’s there to even do when your customers close their doors? A lot, actually.

It sounds counterintuitive, but staying top of mind when your customers don’t need your service helps in the long run. Eventually, once they are ready for what you offer, you’ll be one of the first companies they contact. This is what sales and marketing pros call mindshare, and leveraging online tools and mediums can do the trick.

While in-person meetings will always be the core of building strong relationships with your customers, reinforcing them through digital channels remains an important aspect of serving them well–a big lesson learned in the last two years. Using the right tools and technology effectively can reinforce the face-to-face relationships you’ve built over the years with your customers, and thus better serve their needs.

Out of sight, top of mind

When the pandemic first hit, and some of your best accounts suddenly shuffled employees to a remote working policy, were you in a position to routinely communicate with them? 

Outside of direct phone calls and emails, were you able to reinforce the value of your service and stay top of mind so when the office did reopen, you were right there and ready to pick up where things left off?

Your answer to these questions may be yes, but a lot of operators started to go weeks even months between communicating with some of their customers. 

Across many industries, companies that maintained a strong online presence using social media, their website, and email marketing were able to stay in front of their customers on a regular basis. These efforts helped them stay top of mind so when offices did reopen, and the need for their service arose, they were the ones who got the phone call. 

Improve brand and customer experience

Brand. Customer experience. Blah blah blah. What is this, a college course?

On the surface, these terms might just sound like marketing speak that large, multi-national companies like Apple or Nike, who have amassed millions of customers and fans, need to worry about. So what do these ideas have to do with you? Let’s go beyond just the words for a minute. 

Every company, large or small, has a certain personality to it. The way employees talk to their customers. The speed at which problems are resolved. The feeling customers get when doing business with a company. All these experiences add up in the customer’s mind and create a certain perception. That perception, which manifests itself as reputation, is your brand. In short, the term brand doesn’t just refer to your logo and the colors on your website and creative ad campaigns. Brand is your company’s personality.

As for customer experience, this relates to the specific touchpoints your customers have when doing business with you. How they order products from you, for example, creates a certain kind of customer experience. Is that a good experience or bad one, fraught with friction, frustrations, and time-consuming tasks? Your customers will decide.

It’s in every operator’s best interest then to take their brand and customer experiences seriously. Using digital forms of communication can build and improve the perception of your company, and foster positive relationships through specific experiences. Staying in touch with customers via email, promoting products and sharing insightful or entertaining content on social channels, and writing interesting articles that speak to your customers’ needs or problems go a very long way in building relationships with them.

Where to start

When it comes to executing on this, where do you begin? The tools and platforms are many, but here are some top ways to build and maintain digital relationships with your customers.


An email list is like the holy grail for business owners. It allows you to communicate directly with your customers and prospects in a way that is more intimate than a shotgun approach like social media.

Social Media

Does this make social media useless? Not at all. It’s an easy way for you to continuously show up in front of your customers and remind them of the value you bring. Use it to promote certain products or create simple messages you know your customers will appreciate. 


This is the core of your digital relationship building, especially if you use online ordering. Getting people to your website increases the chances of them seeing everything you have to offer and helps create the desire for those products and services.

Online Ordering

As mentioned above, how your customers order from you creates an experience for them. Simple plain text emails and spreadsheets can work fine, but an online ordering platform presents a huge opportunity to give customers an experience when you’re not physically present. It’s also very convenient for customers, which makes for a great experience.

Final thoughts

It’s important to be realistic about how you approach this. No, you’re not Coca-Cola with a marketing team of hundreds and a budget of millions. So don’t set your goals and expectations too high. But rest assured that small, local businesses across the country and the world use these very tactics and channels to maintain and build great relationships with their customers, which in turn helps reel in more business.

ecommerce for OCS operators

Why Adding E-Commerce Isn’t ‘Pivoting’ But Preparing for a Post-Covid World

Early into the Covid-19 pandemic, when operators were scrambling to figure out how to proceed (if they could at all) in this brand new environment, there were a handful that had the ability to try and meet the changing landscape head-on. These were the operators who had already implemented e-commerce platforms long before the pandemic began. They saw an opportunity to try and accommodate for the new normal sprung upon the industry overnight: home delivery-style operations.

Their ability to make quick changes generated some buzz, leading others to wonder if they should follow suit. Amidst one of the most difficult times the industry has faced, an online ordering system enabled some operators to serve customers in an entirely new way, and on a near moments notice.

Early reports of these swift changes were regarded as pivoting. But it’s more than that: e-commerce is a preparation of where the industry as a whole is heading. As Bob Tullio, industry veteran recently said in this article, “the most successful operators are the ones who will be fully prepared for what is coming next.” 

What’s coming next is a natural progression of adding e-commerce as an additional way for customers to purchase products from you.

Driven by Consumer Demand

When most people think of e-commerce, they conjure up images of Etsy pages and Shopify stores selling anything from jewelry to handmade picture frames. A lot of operators shunned the concept for a long time. “We’re not Amazon,” they’d say. But there’s a growing trend of B2B buyers using e-commerce as a way to purchase a variety of products and services for their businesses.

According to Forrester, B2B e-commerce transactions are on track to hit $1.2 trillion by 2023. It should come as no surprise that millennials are perhaps the biggest reason for this trend. Their age range of about 25 – 40 years old means they’ve come to understand and navigate the world largely through digital experiences. Give it another decade and their successors, Gen Z, who’ve grown up without any experience of a pre-internet world, will be in positions to make business decisions themselves.

The pandemic has amplified this trend. With so many people working from home and many cities and states enacting stay-at-home orders, e-commerce skyrocketed, especially in grocery sales. According to Supermarket News, there could be an increase of 40% in sales this year.

While consumers will likely go back to in-store shopping as things get back to normal (or as normal as they can be), the ease with which they can purchase necessities online will remain. In other words, e-commerce is expected to remain a channel that operators can use to reach customers and sell more products. 

In NAMA’s recent webinar “Expanding Delivery Services with an Integrated E-commerce Platform,” our co-founder Aja Pascale discussed how operators can benefit from this omnichannel approach and meet customers where they already are–online. 

Primed for Growth

Providing a way for your customers to buy from you online paves the way for growth. As Mike Brown, President of PGI Services said on the panel in the webinar, “the highest opportunity to grow is through OCS and Pantry customers.”

As the industry has seen for some time now, grab-n-go and employer-paid refreshments have been trending upward. The pandemic has obviously thrown a wrench into this growth, but it’s not going to disappear. In fact, an online ordering option is poised to be even more appealing as a result. Once offices begin to reopen and allow staff back, there will be a real demand for touchless options. Ecommerce is a perfect solution. 

In this way, operators who implement an e-commerce solution can use it to their competitive advantage to stay relevant in the marketplace. Customers are already shopping online. An e-commerce platform helps you meet them there.

Preparing, Not Pivoting

Consumer trends, accelerated by the pandemic, will impact the industry in a post-covid world in a way that can bring a ton of opportunities and growth. How operators respond will be a deciding factor in their success.

How Operators Can Maintain Customer Relationships Right Now (And Come Out Stronger on the Other Side of a Crisis)

So much of an OCS operator’s success depends on face-to-face communication. The initial sales meeting, routine deliveries, and even the occasional repair call offer ample opportunity to connect with customers and prospects. It’s during these interactions relationships with customers are built, and thus your company. 

What happens, then, when those interactions are swept away from underneath you in the blink of an eye? How do you maintain existing relationships? How do you foster new ones?

The current situation has no doubt presented challenges the industry has yet to see. Fortunately, we live in an era where you can continue to build relationships without being physically present. 

By leveraging the use of the internet, you can still work to build your company and its reputation. 

3 ways to connect with your customers online

Connecting with customers goes beyond simple transactions. It’s more than an exchange of names, phone numbers, and money. It’s about providing value.

To truly connect with a customer means the difference between them passively using your service and being active fans of your company. The former leaves you with no leverage on your competition, while the latter creates customers who rave about your business, which often leads to more customers.

Connecting in this way builds the kind of long-term relationship you need for success. Here’s how you can do it online.

1. Leverage Your Website

The days of flipping through the Yellow Pages have long since been over. Most people, as in 88%, now go online when searching for products and services. 

What does this mean for you?

As a service-based business, your website is essentially a digital store. It’s where visitors can go, look around, and decide what they think of your company. If your website is not inviting or does not provide the necessary information for customers to decide whether or not to engage your sales team, you’ve lost them already.

To connect with customers in a meaningful way, your website needs to be easy to navigate and provide information they find valuable. The best (and easiest) way to do this is through content. 

Having a company blog where you can talk about your company, touch on topics of *their* interest, and discuss news or trends in the industry creates a dialogue between you and your customers. This dialogue is essential to connecting with customers in a way that builds a lasting relationship in a digital environment.

2. Get Social

Social media is perfect for building relationships with your customers. Beyond keeping in touch with friends and family, it’s really what platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are designed for. The key, however, is to provide content that your target audience finds valuable, and provide it consistently.

Here are four ways to provide value on social media:

  • Educate
  • Inform
  • Motivate
  • Entertain 

Create a strategy where your content touches on all or a variety of these pillars (and not just for promoting your service), and you’ll be able to connect with customers better.

3. Email

Having your customers’ email addresses means you have direct access to their inbox. Not literally, of course. But email provides you with a way to connect on a more personal level. 

Like social media, email marketing is not only for promotional content. Done correctly, you can foster relationships with your customers that helps turn them into raving fans because what makes email unique and effective for connecting with them is the ability to personalize messages. Tools like Mailchimp make it easy to address everyone by name, giving your emails a personal touch.

Doing this helps prevent your emails from sounding like a generic message that everyone knows was sent en masse.

But even better, you can analyze the data you have about each customer and segment your list. For example, if you have many customers that like a certain product–let’s say flavored creamers–you can create emails that are tailor-made just for them, and keep them up-to-date on new flavors they might like, or maybe recipes of all kinds that they can use in different ways. 

Providing valuable information in this way helps build trust in your company and creates better connections.


It’s a different world right now. It might seem like there’s no end, but as Bob Tullio recently said, it’s temporary. While you’re not able to interact with customers as much face-to-face, taking advantage of digital communications and amplifying your value will help you come out the other side stronger.

What Should Operators Do Now? Our Key Takeaways NAMA’s “Pivoting for Success” Webinar

Factors affecting operations might be out of your control right now, but you can still shape how you adapt and prepare your business for when things start to pick up again, all while keeping employees and customers safe and healthy. This was the main theme of NAMA’S “Pivoting for Success” webinar we recently attended.

The event, hosted by industry experts, was held in response to the new environment that operators are facing due to the pandemic. The speakers included:

  • Vivian Robillard – VP of Food Service Sales, Pepsico
  • Lance Whorton – President/CEO, Imperial
  • Niki Morton – Executive VP, Casco Bay Food & Beverage
  • Jeff Smith – Chairman/CEO, All Star Services, Inc.

They covered everything from equipment to handling products to how you can gain back the trust of your customers. Here are the key points discussed for each topic.


COVID-19 has had a real psychological impact on consumers regarding how they interact with the world. This includes vending and OCS equipment. There’s a real fear of touching surfaces that dozens or even hundreds of other people are touching. Going forward, touchless payment options will play an important role in the industry.

Additionally, monitoring equipment remotely can be significantly helpful as it limits the amount of visits drivers and technicians make to locations. Operators who do not currently have software to do this should seriously consider using a platform to help avoid unnecessary visits to customer locations. 

Properly sanitizing equipment will be an important procedure. Ensure all vending machines, coffee machines, and snack machines are thoroughly cleaned both at customer accounts and while sitting in your warehouse.

Facilities and Fleets

How you manage your facilities and fleets will also need to change. Repurposing assets to accommodate new opportunities will be a competitive advantage. 

With so many people working from home now, some operators have begun pursuing home delivery. It’s hard to say how long that will continue, but there are a lot of companies (across all industries) talking about keeping it that way. Or at least creating a hybrid work environment.

As for the health and safety of your employees, procedures for managing your warehouse(s) and office space have to be different, too. Monitoring temperatures daily, wearing masks and gloves, rigorous and frequent cleaning… these will become regular occurrences for the foreseeable future.


Offering new items like PPE products such as gloves and masks will be an area to explore. Selling these items can be useful for your community while helping make up some loss in sales. NAMA is actively seeking where these products can easily be sourced.

You’ll also need to consider packaging. Items like plasticware and coffee stirrers can’t just be thrown into a big container, so individually packaged items will need to be sourced and sold.

Vending and OCS have always been associated with beverages and snacks. While those will still be core products, offering new items such as PPE products will potentially be an area to explore.

Office and Administration

Right now is a good time to tackle some of those “spring cleaning” projects that you keep pushing off. Nobody wants to just sit around. Take advantage of this time to get things in order and train your staff on proper procedures.

Despite the negative impact COVID-19 has had, there’s still a sliver of hope: a lot of people had to quickly adapt and work with one another in new ways. This adaptability and teamwork is a positive sign that operators, and the industry as a whole, will be able to bounce back from all of this.

technology helps add value to office coffee business

From Stagnant To Scalable: How Technology Adds Value To Your Vending & OCS Business

Despite the current situation and the impact of COVID-19, there is still reason to be optimistic about the future of vending and OCS. That reason is technology. Software platforms are popping up all over to help make operations more efficient, leading to better customer experiences.

But don’t just take it from us. 

This article makes clear that adding technology to your operations increases value:

“For years and years, there was limited interest from private equity, or what we would traditionally call financial buyers, because our industry was seen as stagnant, capital intensive, and generally lacking any technology to make it more scalable.” – Mike Kelner

There’s some hard truth here. For quite some time, vending machines–and OCS by extension–were pretty much the same as they’d always been. 

While other industries seemed to carry on and progress as new technology became available, not much changed in convenience services. Vending machines remained the same and the coffee in the kitchen remained stale. 

But that’s all changed. New technology of various kinds is now available to operators, providing a variety of solutions: 

  • VMS
  • Micro-market/kiosk
  • Better coffee options
  • Mobile payment options
  • Online ordering

All these platforms help make operating a convenience service business easier, more efficient, and–as Mike Kelner pointed out–scalable.

This is hugely important for a couple of reasons. First, it makes it more attractive for those private equity firms seeking new investments if and when you might consider selling your business. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the increased value added by scalable technology is better for your succession plans. 

If your intention with your company is to pass it down to a family member, wouldn’t you rather hand them something of value?

What does it mean to ‘scale’ your business?

In short, it means growing without increasing costs. Scaling happens when you increase revenue without taking on significant operational costs. 

Contrast that with growth, which is typically described as increasing revenue while incurring more expenses (i.e. more employees and other overhead costs), which would be the ‘capital intensive’ part of what Mr. Kelner mentioned above. 

With the right software tools in place, however, operators can take on more customers without increasing a ton more costs in resources to service them. You become scalable.

How software makes your business scalable

Different platforms help in different ways. 

For example, vending management software can organize and streamline routes, saving drivers time and effort. Cashless options make it easier to manage revenue. When it comes to delivery services, an online ordering option helps reduce time spent on managing orders so you can focus more on ‘white glove’ accounts. 

Looking at it this way, you can begin to see how each solution allows for less employees/effort while serving more customers. This is what scalable looks like in convenience services.

It’s essential that the solutions you choose are able to scale alongside your company. In other words, when evaluating software it’s important to ensure it has the flexibility within the platform itself to expand as your company expands. The last thing you want is to invest in technology only to find out it can only do so much up to a certain point.

Release Notes: Product Tagging, Browsing, Customer Service and More!

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Release notes is our quarterly update that highlights new features we’ve rolled out and improvements to existing ones so you can stay up-to-date on what’s new.


What’s New


Our new tagging feature helps categorize products better so your customers will see more complimentary items that they can add to their orders.

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What’s Improved

Searching and Browsing

We’ve added new search functionality that makes it easier for your customers to browse products. Now they can simply type a product into the search bar that’s at the top of their account’s main page.

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Customer Service 

We’ve added the ability to show multiple phone numbers so your customers can get in touch with the correct support team faster. For example, if they have a technical question they can contact us here at Supply Wizards. Any questions about delivery can get routed to your local branch in their area.

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Driver Mobile App

We have been working to improve loading speeds and now the app is humming along. The drivers can place orders for single or multi-location clients, take signatures, send or print delivery receipts and invoices–all right from their smartphone. It also has an offline mode for those areas without service. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices.

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Hide Inactive Clients

Tired of looking at all accounts in Supply Wizards when some are inactive? With the new toggle feature, you can activate and deactivate customers to add or remove them from your normal views.

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We know things are tough right now. But, despite having our whole team remote for the foreseeable future, we’re still plowing ahead as much as we can with keeping your online ordering needs fulfilled. And once we get passed these circumstances, you’ll be all set and ready to serve your customers better.


online marketing for office coffee service

Marketing Your OCS Business Online: 5 Strategies For Success

When was the last time you looked up a service you needed in a phone book? It’s probably been quite a while. The internet is the go-to source most people use when searching for and researching products and services. 

In fact, almost 90% turn to internet searches first. That includes office coffee services (OCS). A strong online presence is necessary, to say the least. If you can’t be found where prospects are going to find information about your product or service, you will struggle to survive in the digital age.

Many operators understand this and are reaping the benefits. Others, however, seem reluctant to get on board, citing such reasons as:

It’s too much work…

I don’t know how…

We’re doing just fine…

These reasons are only excuses to avoid what is likely to have a tremendous impact on your business. There are plenty of agencies that can help and free online sources to teach you how. 

If you’re ready to seriously consider marketing your OCS business online, here are five strategies you’ll need to focus on to maximize your ROI.

1. Website

Think of your website as a digital version of a brick-and-mortar store. If you were to open a physical location that sold your products, you’d likely go to great lengths to ensure the store was nicely designed, clean, and inviting. A website is no different.

Today’s shoppers expect great digital experiences, including online ordering. If your website is difficult to navigate or isn’t clear on what your company can provide and how, prospects will leave. Keep these core elements in mind:

  1. A goal for what you want primary visitors to do
  2. Make it easy to navigate and find the right information
  3. Ensure it’s optimized for mobile

You don’t need to have an enormous budget for an effective website. Ultimately, simplicity and clarity are what matter most.

2. Search Engine Opitimization (SEO)

Ok, so you spent all this time and some money on creating a new website. What now?

Online marketing is an ongoing effort. You want to make sure your beautiful new website can be found. 

That’s where SEO comes in.

SEO is the process of optimizing your website and its pages to be found in search results when people search for things on Google, Bing, Safari, and other search engines. If you can’t be found then you can’t grow your business!

Putting together a sound SEO strategy takes some time and patience. Just because you put some keywords on your website doesn’t mean it’ll rank high in a Google search. Here are five elements that factor into an effective SEO strategy:

  1. Keywords and topics
  2. Build pages around those keywords
  3. Optimize for on-page SEO
  4. Generate backlinks
  5. Continuously improve/update

3. Content Strategy

Content marketing is a relatively new channel businesses use to promote themselves. It consists of a variety of mediums–blogs, videos, whitepapers, case studies, newsletters–that are used to help generate interest in a company or brand.

You might not think people want to hear from your business, or care to hear what you have to say. But what’s unique about producing content is that it can help build credibility and trust with your target audience, two factors that are immensely important for closing deals. 

In his book, The Ultimate Sales Machine, Chet Holmes discusses what he calls “education-based marketing.” This approach can work beautifully. For example, your blog can consist of articles that educate your target audience on topics related to their work. 

Notice we said their work. Content, and marketing in general, isn’t necessarily about you or what you’re trying to sell. It’s about providing information your ideal customer finds useful, informative, or even entertaining.

4. Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)

Do a Google search on just about anything and right up top, front and center, will be ads. At the time of this writing, there will be a small icon next to the result that reads “Ad”. Companies use this strategy for several reasons:

  • Brand awareness
  • Drive leads
  • Repeat sales

An effective PPC strategy can play nicely into your business goals. It’s a quick way to gain awareness and drive leads.

5. Social Media

Almost three-quarters of Americans use social media, according to Pew

It’s a great way to develop and maintain relationships with current customers as well as reaching those who might not have heard of you.

The key, like everything above, is to have a strategy. You can’t expect big results from throwing things up and seeing what sticks.

After that, researching which platforms make sense for your business…

Once you know which platforms you’ll use, develop a calendar with a schedule of when you’ll post. 

Where do you begin?

All of this can be a lot to take in. The most important factor is to start with your customers. Understanding who they are, their buying habits, and their interests will inform everything you do with your online marketing strategy. While it can seem overwhelming, you don’t need to do it all at once. It’s not a sprint. A consistent and well-organized approach is what will get you the results you want.

Online Resources For Further Reading:

SEO: Backlinko

Social Media: Hootsuite

Web Design & Content: Orbit Media Studios

Inbound Marketing: HubSpot

How Online Ordering Actually Fits Into Your OCS Business

Online ordering is a popular phrase floating around the OCS industry these days. Some operators have been quick to add it to their tech stack, while others are a little more reluctant. The arguments for both are strong and valid. But whichever side you’re on right now, or even if you’re in the middle and unsure, online ordering for OCS isn’t a panacea for growing your business.

That might seem like a bold and perhaps strange statement coming from us. After all, we provide an online ordering platform for OCS operators. One would think we’d do anything to support every reason for using such a service.

But here’s the thing: the office coffee industry is highly nuanced. No two customers are exactly alike. The needs between accounts vary, sometimes a lot and sometimes they’re subtle…just enough to make how you serve them completely different from similar accounts. In other words, online ordering will work for great for some customers while for others it’s a nuisance.

Online Ordering Is Not A One-Size-Fits-All Approach

When it comes to office coffee services, there are different tiers of customers. Your top-tier ones represent those large accounts doing tens of thousands of dollars in sales each year, or more. These are your big customers with multiple break rooms and hundreds of employees. For them, the thought of having to do their own ordering would likely cause a mental breakdown. The reason they likey signed up for a full-service approach to their coffee needs in the first place is because they don’t have time to order everything themselves.

In an article by industry veteran Bob Tullio, this concept was addressed by Joe Simonovich of Corporate Essentials:

“I was working with a larger client recently that was ordering from six different places,” said Simonovich. “The first thing she wanted to do when we took over the account was to change that. I asked her how that ever happened, and she said that it worked when the company was small, but when the company grew, it was unmanageable.”

There comes a point where a customer is just too big for them to manage the ordering of all those items themselves. It’s too much of a burden. Judson Kleinman, CEO of Corporate Essentials, drives the point home:

“When you move primarily to online ordering you are on a slippery slope…If you burden the customer with all that work, why do they need to order from you?”

So for these top customers, a white-glove, full-service approach is likely best.

Where Online Ordering Does Excel

There are two types of customers who are best suited for an online ordering option: those who want to order more than the standard coffee order, and those whose service cost is too high to justify full-service.

For these smaller accounts, it’s often easier and more cost effective for them to order online. They’re not placing orders that are thousands of dollars and that take up a large portion of their time.

And where operators have an advantage over entities like Amazon or Boxed is “last foot.” Those other companies only drop items off at the door. You can still provide excellent service by getting the products set up inside their office, which further develops the relationships it takes for operators to be successful.

Moving Forward

As the industry progresses and new technologies enter the market, a business case needs to be made for deciding which products are right for you. The same is true of online ordering software. We’ve written about the factors operators need to consider when seeking an online ordering system in a previous article, but here’s a quick summary of what to look for:

  • Flexibility
  • VMS Intergrations
  • User-Friendly
  • Promotional Features
  • Strong Onboarding
  • Ongoing Support

In the end, it’s about flexibility. Online ordering should never replace an operator’s insight and commitment to their customers. It should simply make the buying experience easier when appropriate, and give operators the flexibility to meet customer needs in various but still efficient ways.

6 Factors to Consider When Adding Online Ordering to Your OCS Software

When you buy a new car, it’s likely that you do some research before deciding to purchase it. You first consider your needs and then find vehicles that fit them. After that’s figured out, you dive into the features of each car and answer a plethora of questions before making the purchase: Is it safe? Does it have leather or cloth seats? Does it get good gas mileage? The list goes on and on. 

Whether you realize it or not, it’s a pretty similar process when searching for OCS software solutions. You need to do the necessary research to ensure the product you buy fits your needs and will deliver the results you’re after.

The difference, however, is that software solutions for OCS businesses are relatively new, particularly online ordering platforms. Trying to decipher one product from another can be intimidating, confusing, and maybe even frustrating. To help you in your search, we’ve put this list together of some core factors to consider when looking for an online ordering tool for your OCS business. 

1. Flexibility

As an OCS operator, you know first hand that no two customers are alike. Each one has their own preferences with respect to products and delivery needs. That’s why flexibility is important when choosing an online ordering platform. You need a system that is designed with these differences in mind, and one that allows you to:

  • Manage products by warehouse or globally
  • Add & manage single and multi-location customers
  • Manage discounts by customer or globally
  • Create orders onsite and/or deliver pre-picked orders

In short, when adding an online ordering system to your existing OCS tech stack, it needs to work the way your particular operation works, while simultaneously able to quickly adjust to new changes.

2. VMS Integration

If you’re already using vending management software, it would be ideal to have your online ordering platform integrate with it. This prevents you from having to work out of multiple systems to complete the same tasks.

3. User-friendly Interface

The whole point of using online ordering in the first place is to make things easier, not harder. The last thing you want is for you or your customers to get bogged down with the difficulty of navigating your system. Your platform of choice should aim to be:

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Informative
  • Easy to navigate

A big indication that a platform might not be the right fit is when it becomes too much trouble to use it.

4. Promotional Features

All successful businesses promote their products and services, regardless of industry. Product promotion and limited time offerings fosters more engagement with customers and can increase sales. When adding online ordering to your OCS software, be sure there’s a clear and simple way to promote different products, whether they’re new or you want to offer them on sale for a short period.

5. Strong Onboarding Process

Onboarding a new software platform is a real challenge. There’s often a lot of project management elements that go into setting up new systems. Some companies might simply hand it off to you and wish you luck. You must avoid this. 

Be sure to ask what kind of help you will receive during the onboarding process. At Supply Wizards, we spend the necessary amount of time each client needs to properly set up their online ordering platform. 

6. Support Team

We’ve all experienced bad customer support before. It leaves a bad taste for them that lasts quite a while. When it comes to online ordering tools, it’s not just something that you get over once you hang up the phone. It impacts your entire business. Don’t be left in the dark: be sure to ask what the support department is like. Because even if just a small issue arises, you want it handled quickly and professionally.

How We Think About Software At Supply Wizards

Software has become the main catalyst for innovation in almost all industries. There is an abundance of tools available to help companies of all kinds save time, increase revenue, or improve upon existing processes. With the click of a mouse, important information can be processed to the exact specifications needed and complex calculations can be made in an instant. These types of platforms have the ability to revolutionize entire industries.

Although technology has been prominent in vending and OCS for a while, it hasn’t been until recent years that VMS programs–complete with route management, inventory control, fleet management, and other features–have really begun to help transform the way operators work. These new systems have also attracted a greater audience, as industry veteran Bob Tullio explains in Operator’s Thankful List – 2019

#4 – Be thankful for tech savvy newcomers – Young investors are being attracted to the convenience services industry. These newcomers aren’t family members of operators, they are part of investment groups who, as Kelner points out, “can’t resist the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a technology-driven industry. Unattended retail, warehouse management programs and route telemetric software have suddenly positioned convenience services as a cutting-edge industry with plenty of upside. Investors have taken notice.”

That’s great news, and it’s this kind of interest that will help propel the industry forward.  

Software Provides Real Solutions to Real Problems

At Supply Wizards we work hard to deliver a reliable, easy-to-use solution. We take a holistic approach to solving the issues that go into OCS procedures, from the customer’s vantage point as well as the operator’s. Software needs to meet specific needs in a simple and flexible way that is designed to increase efficiency, and these are the standards to which we hold Supply Wizards.

Simplicity: OCS operations are complex. Managing customer orders, inventory, picking, and scheduling routes are a real logistical challenge. We built our software to meet these challenges head-on and simplify them so operators can better serve customers. 

Flexibility: No two operators are the same. We understand that one company might work in a completely different way from how another works. The Supply Wizards platform is a flexible and customizable solution that doesn’t force you to work in a way that doesn’t work for you.

Efficiency: The more efficient your operations are, the more you’ll be able to focus on the most important matters of your business. 

In today’s competitive landscape, operators must be able to meet their customers where they are–online. They must also reduce as much friction as possible to help them more easily buy products. OCS can be complex, and Supply Wizards helps operators meet the needs of their customers while simplifying their process on the backend. 

It’s an exciting time to be an operator. Taking advantage of the right tools can set your business apart.

the words low sugar written in sugar

10 Low-Sugar Snacks That Will Still Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Incorporating low-sugar snacks into your diet is a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. But sometimes it’s hard to find the right snacks, ones that are a) actually low in sugar, and b) tasty.

There are plenty of products that are marketed as healthy alternatives to traditional junk food, but often times these items are just as packed with enough sugar to last a week. Of course, you could always choose snacks that don’t have any at all. But sometimes you just really want something sweet.

This list serves as a guide to help you choose a low-sugar snack. Before we dive into them, though, let’s first talk a little about how sugar impacts your health and what we mean by “low-sugar.”

Why too much sugar is bad for you

For a long time, snacks high in sugar were a staple in many a household. But as it became more apparent such snacks were damaging to one’s health, people have become more selective about what they’re eating. Low-sugar foods are highly sought after. The reasons are clear: too much sugar is bad for you.

How so? Here are just some ways too much sugar can impact your health:

  • weight gain
  • high blood sugar
  • heart disease
  • nerve damage
  • diabetes

The list goes on.

It’s important to note that a lot of it has to do with moderation. A brownie or slice of cake here and there is fine. It’s when you eat foods packed with sugar nearly everyday that you run into trouble.

What do we mean by Low-Sugar Snacks?

There can be some ambiguity around what low-sugar means, so we want to be clear on how we’ve curated this list. The snacks included below have little to no added sugars, so the items that have higher amounts of sugar are from natural sources. Some fruit (we’re looking at you, apples) have a lot of sugar, but it’s natural. Not the table sugar you can buy in five pound bags.

1. KIND Bars

KIND bars are a low-sugar healthy snack to eat at work

KIND Snacks was built on the belief that if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, it shouldn’t be part of the product. They offer a diverse range of granola bar flavors, most of which are low-sugar.

Cranberry Almond Bar: 8g of sugar

2. Rip Van Wafles

Rip Van Wafels are low in sugar

Rip Van Wafels are a European-style healthy snack that pair great with a cup of coffee or on their own. They have 120 calories and low-sugar.

*Chocolate Wafel: 8g of sugar

3. Quest Protein Cookie

With only one gram of sugar, Quest Protein Cookies are a great low-sugar snack that’s guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Quest Protein Cookie (chocolate?): 1g

4. Cottage Cheese with Strawberries

low-sugar snack cottage cheese with strawberries

Looking for a snack that’s low in sugar and packs a protein punch? Cottage cheese is the ticket.

Cottage cheese with Strawberries: 16g

5. Skinny Dipped Almonds

Peanut M&Ms are often a favorite, but if you’re looking for a similar treat that’s low in sugar, Skinny Dipped Almonds are a great alternative.

Skinny Dipped Almonds: 6g


6. Wildway Snack Mix

Wildway snack mix are low in sugar

There’s a new trail mix in town. Wildway has created a snack mix that is better for you and made with 100% real-food ingredients that delivers on sustenance and flavor, and is made with no added sugars.

Wildlway Pineapple Mojito: 13g

8. Larabar

One of the original no-sugar added snacks, Larabar makes a variety of flavors to choose from all with only natural sugars.

Larabar: 18g (natural)

7. Apples with Peanut Butter

apples with peanut butter

Apples are high in sugar, but it’s all natural. Peanut butter has about 3g of sugar per serving. Not only is it a healthy snack that’s low in added sugars, it also provides protein.

Apples with Peanut Butter: 21g

9. One Bar

Another delicious snack bar that’s low in sugar is One Bar.

One Bar: 1g

10. Plain Yogurt with Berries

Yogurt is often touted as a healthy snack, and for the most part it is. But flavored yogurts are often packed with syrups that are not exactly low in sugar. That’s why plain yogurt with berries is a better low-sugar choice.

Plain Yogurt with Berries: ~10g



3 Reasons Vending Operators Should Offer Online Ordering

Vending machines are one of the original break room services. They were–and to a large extent still are–one of the most effective ways to provide employees with access to refreshing beverages and snacks.

But company break rooms have changed in recent years. They’re no longer sparsely decorated, ill-lit rooms that smell like a mix of ashtrays and cleaning products. Many companies have turned their break rooms into a recruiting tool, where sleek furniture, games, and free snacks are all on full display. The message? We take our jobs seriously, but we’re also a fun place to work and value our employees.

To get the food and beverages they want, many workplaces have left the traditional vending set up behind. They’ve turned to services like Amazon or Snacknation to get them delivered. How’s an operator to compete?

One option is to reinvent your business. That means offering consumers what they want: a snack delivery approach with an online ordering option. Vending machine services aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but investing in OCS, pantry, and provisioning are the key to growth.

“Supply Wizards has improved order accuracy, customer experience, and overall order processing timeframe. This has increased accuracy and efficiency in our office!” – Natalie P., OCS Corporate Support Manager, Five-Star Foods, Nashville, TN

As an operator, you might think those accounts aren’t a good fit. After all, you provide vending machine services. But you have exactly what those customers are looking for: snacks! You also have the logistical know-how of distribution. So it’s really not too different from vending operations. Instead of filling a vending machine with product, drivers can stock shelves and countertops. But to be successful, it’s important to offer customers an online ordering portal. Here are three reasons why.

1. It Creates a New Revenue Stream

Offering an online ordering platform for customers makes it easier for them to request products. The easier it is for them to use, the more they’re likely to purchase and spread the word that your business meets (and exceeds) their needs. And for existing accounts that are wanting to switch to a snack delivery service, you can offer them an option instead of losing the customer to another source.

2. Better Customer Experience

According to Salesforce, 57% of consumers have stopped buying from a business because a competitor offered a better experience. Let that sink in a moment. Furthermore, 67% say they’d pay more for a better experience. By offering an online ordering option, you’re helping improve the way customers experience your service. Online ordering is faster and easier.

3. Improved Efficiency

Receiving and managing orders via spreadsheets, emails, and phone calls can get messy really fast. And when things get messy, customers get upset. An online ordering platform that helps manage orders and inventory keeps your operation running smoothly, leading to more satisfied customers.

office manager happy with her staff

7 Breakfast Ideas for Busy Mornings

We’ve all had those mornings where it just doesn’t seem like you’re going to make it out of the house in time for work. Whatever the reason, be it forgetting to set your alarm or the kids aren’t cooperating, some mornings don’t quite go as planned. Time slips away and suddenly you realize you need to grab a quick breakfast before heading out the door. What can you do? Here are seven simple breakfast ideas easy enough to whip up in minutes that are nutrient-packed enough to keep you on point all morning.

1. Avocado Toast with Egg

For a quick, healthy breakfast, try avocados spread on toast with an egg. Avocados are packed with nutrients like Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Vitamin E, and more. The egg will give you the protein needed to help you last until lunch.

Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 5 mins | Total: 10 mins

2. Smoothie

What makes smoothies a great choice for an easy breakfast is that you can make any flavor you want. Combine a variety of your favorite fruits and some protein powder for a quick meal that can be made in minutes and take it with you.

Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 0 | Total: 5 mins

3. Protein Bar and Banana

For when you’re really in a crunch for time, breakfast can’t get any easier than a protein bar and a banana. Perfect for those times when you need something on-the-go!

Prep time: 7 secs | Cook time: 0 | Total: 7 secs

4. Egg & Cheese Burrito

Some breakfast burritos can take quite some time to prepare. But we’re talking a simple version here. Just scramble up some eggs, put them in a burrito or soft taco shell, and sprinkle some shredded cheese on it. Quick, easy, and filling!

Prep time: 3 mins | Cook time: 4 mins | Total: 7 mins

5. Instant Oatmeal

While steel-cut oats are not as processed as instant oatmeal, there are still plenty of nutrients in each packet of your favorite flavor. They’re also ridiculously easy to cook: just a minute in the microwave and they’re ready. Perfect for a busy morning!

Prep time: 10 secs | Cook time: 1 min | Total: 1min 10secs

6. Yogurt with Granola

greek yogurt with granola for protein snack

When time is short, Greek yogurt with some granola makes for an easy and protein-packed breakfast.

Prep time: 0 | Cook time: 0 | Total: 0

7. Scrambled Eggs & Toast

You can’t go wrong with this classic breakfast. It’s easy and nutritious and you’ll be out of the house in no time.

Prep time: 2 mins | Cook time: 4 mins | Total: 6 mins


humus with vegetables is a good high protein snack

5 Healthy Snacks to Bring to The Office

It can be tough to eat healthy while at work. All the sugary and trans fat loaded foods in the break room makes it even more difficult. Besides, with all the time constraints it’s a wonder some people have time for a meal at all!

While indulging in your favorite piece of candy or a savory snack is okay in moderation, you don’t want to overdo it and risk any health issues. That begs the question, what’s a healthy snack that you can bring to work? Here are five ideas to get you started:

  1. Nuts & string cheese – a low-carb option with a great source of protein, nuts and cheese will satisfy your hunger and give you the energy to power through the day.
  2. Fruit & nuts – the fruit provides a healthy amount of carbs and some fiber, while the nuts offer protein
  3. Greek yogurt – another great source for protein to get you to your next meal, and provides probiotics to keep you regular and healthy
  4. Hummus with raw veggies – hummus is part of the ‘Mediterranean diet’ and provides many vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, riboflavin, phosphorus and more
  5. Cottage cheese – in addition to protein, cottage cheese is a great source of vitamin B-12, Calcium, and phosphorus

As you probably noticed, protein is the common denominator for just about all of those choices. That’s because protein is key to satisfying your cravings. It gives you energy and keeps you full, helping you focus on your work and getting through the day.

office coffee services

5 Signs It’s Time to Use an Office Coffee Service

Coffee is a must-have in any workplace. Not only does it get employees going in the morning, but it also helps get them through the workday slog, especially in those hours after lunch. Maintaining equipment and managing products, however, can take its toll. What initially began as a perk for employees soon feels like a chore for those responsible for the coffee. If your office is in this predicament, it might be time to search for a quality office coffee service. Here are the signs to watch for.

1. Your office keeps running out of coffee

It takes time for someone to go to the store to buy coffee and other break room supplies. If your office keeps running out of coffee, it’s time to look into an office coffee service that will deliver right to your location.

2. The coffee tastes bad

Nobody likes bad coffee. A good office coffee service is able to provide a variety of fresh and delicious coffee suitable for the tastes of everyone on your team.

3. Productivity is down

From increasing energy to improving focus and attention, coffee is known to help make workplaces more productive. If your office seems to be in a slump and productivity is lagging, it could be time to hire a quality office coffee service.

4. Employees aren’t happy

If your employees aren’t happy, it’s a sure sign it’s time to take the necessary measures to boost morale. Office coffee services, while not the only way to increase happiness, shows employees they’re valued and promotes a more open office culture.

5. You see employees with Starbucks in hand

Don’t get us wrong–Starbucks is great. But if all your employees are spending time getting coffee elsewhere, it’s time to really consider using an office coffee service. Not only are they spending their own money every day on something most offices provide for free, but they’re also spending time away from the office to purchase it!

remote worker

3 Alternatives to the 4 Day Work Week

The four day work week has become a popular discussion among both employees and employers lately. With record-low unemployment rates, many companies are searching for ways to retain top talent by offering a variety of perks. A shorter workweek is one such benefit that’s attractive to employees. Who doesn’t want to have a longer weekend to spend more time with friends and family?

It’s not just employees who like the idea, either. Research has been conducted on the impact of a four day work week and shows that productivity can increase, so some employers are all ears to the idea.

But not all companies are created equal. Some, because of the industry or customer demand or a variety of factors, can’t just close the doors a day earlier. If that’s your company, what else can you do? Here are three options to consider in lieu of a four day work week.

3 Alternatives to the 4 Day Work Week

1. Offer More Flexibility

For a long time, salary was the most important factor when searching for a job. It almost always came down to money when a candidate was deciding on a job offer. When someone wanted to switch jobs, a better salary was often the reason. While salary is still important, other factors are now at play.

In today’s workplace, a good work-life balance is highly attractive, and it keeps both current employees happy and candidates engaged. Not only does making room for family, friends, and hobbies increase your overall happiness, it can improve your mental and physical health, and help prevent burnout.

If your company can’t provide a four day work week, consider giving employees more flexibility in their schedules. Allowing your employees to come and go as needed empowers them to be fully responsible for their own time and productivity. This can actually motivate them more.

Being flexible goes beyond employee happiness because when employees are happy, they tell everyone. Friends, family, and other potential candidates searching for a job will get their fill of stories about how awesome your company is, thereby attracting more talent.

2. Let Employees Work From Home

One of the core benefits of a four day work week is to reduce stress. But for companies that aren’t able to offer a shorter week, the next best thing is to allow employees to work from home.

A lot of managers are skeptical of work from home policies, as they envision employees lying around their house in their PJ’s and focusing more on laundry than important work matters. It can be scary implementing such a policy, for sure. But at the end of the day if you can’t trust your employees to do the work–whether they’re in the office, at home, or anywhere in the world–why hire them in the first place? The keyword here is trust.

In lieu of a shorter workweek, working from home can have a similar impact on employees. Some benefits include:

  • Reduced stress
  • Positive health impact
  • Better work-life balance

The real benefit of establishing a work from home policy, however, is productivity. Common office distractions like last-minute meetings and coworkers randomly dropping by to chat are a non-issue. Employees can work distraction-free to reach a level of productivity they’re unable to achieve while in the office.


Tips for Implementing a Work From Home Policy

Ground rules are important for implementing a work from home policy. But for a manager who’s never done so, it can be a bit nerve wracking and lead you to setting some guidelines that only frustrate employees, which is the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. Some tips for creating a work from home policy include:

  1. Trust your employees to do the work.
  2. Schedule weekly meetings.
  3. Give them the right tools.

Working from home has so many positive implications that it’s almost crazy not to have some form of policy. There are also plenty of digital tools available to help manage remote workers.

3. Encourage Breaks

Another way to add flexibility and improve your employees’ work-life balance is by encouraging them to take a break. Stepping away from work throughout the day for a little bit helps them regroup and connect with their fellow colleagues. However, even though it’s the law to provide breaks, many don’t take one. One study found that 33% of people don’t take a break at work.

Breaks go beyond a few minutes to shovel food in their mouths. You can extend your lunch break time and even provide a relaxing break room where employees actually want to spend time. Offering free office snacks is also a great way to show employees they’re valued and will encourage them to get away from their desks every now and then.

4 Ways to Buy Wholesale Snacks for Your Hotel Pantry

Hotel guests demand variety. Whether it’s with room preferences or amenities, they want as many options as possible so they can choose the one that best suits their personal taste. Their snacking habits are no different, which is why hotel pantries have become so popular.

Compared to vending machines–which can be prone to service problems–a pantry provides far more options, is aesthetically pleasing, and has more potential to add value to your hotel. But where do you find all those products to stock your pantry? Here are four ways to get the items you need.

1. Costco

The obvious first choice, Costco (or any wholesale club) is the go-to entity for purchasing snacks and drinks in bulk. You can find just about everything needed to keep your hotel pantry stocked. The only downside is that it requires staff to leave the hotel to spend time shopping when they should be on site helping guests. 

2. Amazon

Another way to buy your snacks and drinks is through Amazon. The leader in online shopping for virtually anything makes it simple to get the products you want delivered to your hotel. However, there’s a chance certain items won’t be available, forcing you to run out to the store.

3. Boxed

Boxed helps make shopping for bulk items easy. The company was founded in 2013 and has distribution centers across the United States. Shop for wholesale products in a variety of categories, including snacks, beverages, baby items, and more. 

4. Supply Wizards

The above companies are all great choices to use for purchasing your wholesale products in bulk. Supply Wizards, however, was designed with busy hotel managers in mind. It connects you with a local snack and beverage supplier. The platform allows you to order in bulk online and receive the products within 1-2 business days. Also, the technology behind it helps you keep track of sales and inventory in your pantry.