Cantaloupe Seed Platform Designed to Make the Vending Industry Throughout Chicago More Efficient

For over 30 years vending operators throughout Chicago ran their vending business on seed_1 intuition, making guesses on what product they’d need in their warehouse and on their trucks. Although educated guesses based on past sales or market trends they were guesses all the same, guesses that resulted often in wasted product, half full vending machines and unsatisfied consumers.  That was until Cantaloupe Systems replaced guesswork with science.

Cantaloupe’s Seed Platform enables:

  • Dynamic scheduling
  • Cashless payments
  • Accurate pre-kitting
  • Intelligent merchandising
  • Sales accountability
  • Instant machine alerts

seed_device_hiresAnd with its system in the clouds, accurate real time data can be collected from anywhere there’s an internet connection. And because each machine has its own Seed device installed you can rest assured that your vending machines will never be overlooked.

Cantaloupe’s Seed Platform was designed to make the vending industry more efficient. Operators using the Seed Platform:

  1. Average $35,000 in annual savings per route
  2. Can replenish 80% more machines per week
  3. Can reduce their carbon footprint by 40% through elimination of unnecessary truck travel

In short, Chicago vendor’s who are using this system are more efficient, more financially responsible and more eco-friendly. Pair yourself with Chicago’s leading Full Service Vending Provider. Mark Vend and know that data, not guesswork is managing your break room. Call today at (847) 291-9216!

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A Revolutionary Way to Vend Your Favorite Snacks in Chicago

Snacks and television are a pair as old as time; from cereal and cartoons to wings and 40051diji_touch_4759 machinefootball there is something about your favorite snack and your favorite flat screen that makes everything else in the world seem right.

Kraft Foods and Samsung have taken this pairing to a whole new level, re-facing a standard snack vending machine with a 46” LCD touch screen, reinventing the way a snack is vended and enhancing the user’s experience.

How? With the Digi-Touch Interactive vending machine and its interactive face consumers can:

  • See digital images of products for sale up close
  • Read nutrition facts of all items before purchase
  • Read ingredients of all items before purchase
  • Flip screen for easier viewing (especially convenient for customers in wheel chair)
  • Buy multiple items in one transaction
  •  Change their minds after selection

The Digi-Touch is easy, engaging and effective. In its first 2 weeks in a prototype market this interactive vending machine increased sales by 600%.

Not only is it popular but it’s smart too. The Digi-Touch machine tracks what was sold at your Chicago office, when it sold and how quickly it sold, allowing your Chicago vendor to know what’s popular, and exactly when it will need refilled; resulting in accurate data reports and full machines.


If you want to enjoy your vending machines like never before, if you want to give your customers and employees something to talk about (in the best way possible), ask your local Chicago vendor about placing a Digi-Touch vending machine at your Chicago location. You’ll be glad you did. Don’t believe us? Ask Michelle Obama who endorsed the vending machine during an anti-obesity press event.

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When Snacking Attacks: A Vending Machine Remembrance

Many office workers will tell you that proximity to a vending machine is both a blessing and a curse.


A walk to the automated food dispenser takes all of 11 seconds for me. It can be a welcome Crane 6-Anglebreak from hours in front of a computer, or an antidote to absurd deadlines or gnawing hunger pains. But of course, the sugary, salty contents also shout at you, interrupting your writing and editing, in less dire situations — especially when they’re so close by.


I’ve had a couple of late-night work sessions in which a little snack from the vending machine turned into a full-blown meal of Fritos, Pop-Tarts and Snickers bars. Against all my better judgment and knowledge, brightly colored bags of packaged food suddenly seemed more reasonable than the real food I could have eaten — if I just walked two blocks to a restaurant. But for me, the aftermath of these office vending machine binges is always unpleasant, psychologically and physically.


So I’m rather glad I will not be not be sitting near a vending machine in NPR’s new headquarters, where we’ll be working as of Monday. It’ll be floors away, and I’m told it contains no junk food — no chocolate! — at all, just “seeds and trail dust and fig bars,” according to one engineer who’s already there.


On our last day at 635 Massachusetts Ave., I thought I’d ask my colleagues how they’ll remember the vending machines in this building. Because like it or not, there will be fewer opportunities for junk food fixes where we’re headed.


frozen_2_medSome NPR staff fondly recall the era before popcorn and peanuts replaced some of the most extreme items — like mini cheeseburgers — these machines once dispensed:


“Why did they take away the one that had little White Castle cheeseburgers in it?” says one reporter on the national desk. “I’m from Chicago and that always cheered me up after a long transcribing session or crazy edit – microwaveable White Castle goodness.”


Others remember the vending machine as better even than the water cooler, where serendipity happens and ideas are born. “Jasmine Garsd and I conceived of the idea of our at the third floor snack machines,” tells The Salt. “Those machines are very special to us.”


Producers and editors who work the overnight shifts on Morning Edition and the Newcast unit are perhaps the heaviest users of NPR’s vending machines. Like most , they are stuck with chips and candy if they don’t bring something from home.


“I definitely turn to the vending machines on rough nights,” one Morning Edition BevMaxCokeproduction assistant tells me. “I usually try and eat healthy, but there have been many occasions where the carrot sticks just weren’t cutting it.” Some nights, she says, she’d return to her desk with Snickers and Cheetos, “with one of the items shamefully concealed, not wanting to admit to my shopping spree at the vending machine.”


Foreign correspondents say vending machines come to the rescue on harrowing assignments, too. Jason Beaubien, who covered of the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster in Japan, says the Japanese proclivity for automated food helped tide him over during the crisis.


“For some reason, even in places where nothing else was functioning, the vending machines still worked. Out of the same machine you could get a cold tea or a hot can of coffee,” he says.

Please Note: This article was written and published by Eliza Barclay from NPR:

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Take a Break! Enjoy a Great Tasting Cup of Tea!

Let’s have a nice cup of tea……..

There is much to be said about taking a break at your Chicago office with a nice cup of tea. Tea is versatile and healthy, while still having many brands that contain caffeine for that pick-me-up feeling.

In the olden days throughout Chicago the tea cart would be wheeled around the office with a pot of steaming Rooibosliquid, dispensed with milk and sugar, and a dainty little snack to get you going for the next few hours of the day.  It was more than just a drink.  It was a moment to relax, think of irrelevant things, chat to your spouse, clear your mind. 

Tea likely originated in Yunnan, China during the Shang Dynasty (1500 BC–1046 BC) as a medicinal drink. The earliest credible record of tea drinking dates to the 3rd century AD, in a medical text written by Hua T’o who was a highly respected physician and surgeon.  Tea was first introduced to Portuguese priests and merchants in China during the 16th century. Drinking tea became popular in Britain during the 17th century. The British introduced tea to India, in order to compete with the Chinese monopoly on tea. 

Tazo-Organic-Green-Tea-794522201433The Yunnan Province amongst others have been identified as “the birthplace of tea…the first area where humans figured out that eating tea leaves or brewing a cup could be pleasant  Ceylon tea was the black tea of choice throughout the world.

Today, tea is produced all over the world, with herbal teas becoming most popular for their refreshing properties, as well as being caffeine free and high in anti-oxidants and many medicinal properties.  The famous African Rooibos (red bush) tea is one of those, and Green Tea tops the list. These teas are generally consumed without milk and are highly coveted by today’s health movement.

Mark Vend supplies Chicagoland a variety of Tazo Teas in many different flavors for refreshing and healthy alternatives to coffee. For your choice of hot or cold beverages call Mark Vend today at (847) 291-9216!

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Chicago’s Healthy Vending Challenge

According to a popular Girl Scout song, one should “make new friends, but keep the old [because] one is silver, the other is gold.” However, in Chicago, according to a new citywide vending challenge, the gold medal is awarded to companies who convert their current vending program to 100% healthy items.

After city council passed a healthy vending policy this last December, 40 percent of healthy VendWrap_mockup_opt3_L1vending machines have been installed at city buildings, with 35 percent left to go; the city’s goal being to have “at least 75 percent of food and drinks in the 300 vending machines found at city buildings, [to] have healthy, affordable options.”

In addition to city buildings, city council is asking local businesses to team up with their way of thought. If companies participate their vending machines will receive a ranking based on what percentage of their vending machines is stocked with healthy alternative (defined by the American Heart Association’s food procurement standards) items. The ranking is as follows:

Gold – 100% Healthy Options

Silver – 75% Healthy Options

Bronze – 50% Healthy Options

fresh wrapYour Chicago leader in vending service, Mark Vend is an advocate for healthy eating and a firm supporter of an overall healthy lifestyle, dedicated to offering healthy alternative snacks, beverages and meal options in our vending machines. That being said we also recognized:

  • The right to choose
  • The luxury of options
  • Dedicated team of employees

If you would like to be a part of Chicago’s citywide vending challenge call Mark Vend today at (847) 291-9216 and we’ll be happy to discuss a program that best fits your company’s wellness and vending needs. Regardless of which percentage tier you choose, we’ll do our best to make you feel like a winner and the champion of your office.

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Does Your Chicago Vending Service Have Trained Route Drivers?

In the March edition of Spirit Magazine, the official magazine of Southwest Airlines, Gary Kelly, the chairman, president and CEO of Southwest Airlines wrote that a combination of low fares and a fun, maverick spirit has kept their company “flying high” ever since it was founded in 1971.

Passengers of Southwest know that the airfare is often considerably lower than other 100% Satisfaction Guaranteeairlines at the point of purchase but the “fun, maverick spirit” has to be proven later on, when passengers are getting ready to climb 34,000 feet.

Flight attendants tell corny jokes to get passengers to pay attention to safety briefings. For instance, “in the event that this flight become a cruise, you can find a life jacket under your seat” and if you don’t like their corny jokes there are six exits located “here, here and here.” Drinks and snacks are offered at no charge, free adult beverages are given away on holidays and often, cabins are decorated for the festivities.

These are all ways that Southwest as a corporation has decided to set themselves apart from the competition, feasible ways to demonstrate a fun, maverick spirit.

Flight attendants in many ways are the face of the airline they work for. In the same way, route drivers are the face of your local Chicago vendor.


Your Chicago vending service can have great ideas on how they want to brand themselves, set themselves apart and deliver a quality service but unless those concepts are taught to the route drivers and tools are given to accomplish these goals, all you have is a pretty proposal.

Southwest might want to be known as fun Healthy nutritionbut if you got on one of their planes and the flight attendant was rude, refused to engage with passengers and never handed out a beverage you might think you were on the wrong plane. In the same way your Chicago vending service may want to be known as the company who has clean vending machines and healthy alternative options but if their drivers are never shown where the cleaning supplies are and if they are never taught what qualifies as a healthy alternative you may end up with dirty machines that are completely filled with fried chips and candy bars.

Make sure you know where your Chicago vending company is taking you by asking how route drivers are trained to carry out the company’s standards. Make sure you know what plane you’re on.

Call Mark Vend today at (847) 291-9216, Chicago’s leading vending company, and let our courteous and knowledgeable staff of trained technicians assist you in personalizing a superior menu of vending services.

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Does Your Chicago Vending Provider Take the Quality of Their Food Seriously?

According to the word “code” can be defined as

“A system used for brevity or secrecy of communication, in which arbitrary chosen words, letters or symbols are assigned definite meanings.”

Codes can be great in engineering or when sending classified information across enemy lines, but codes only work when sender and receiver understand the meaning.

When it comes to the food we purchase, expiration dates are codes, using letters and numbers to inform consumers when to eat a product by. It seems simple enough but when bevmax3dates on packages can mean a plethora of things including:

  • Expiration date
  • Best by date
  • Best enjoyed by date
  • Manufactured date
  • Sell by date
  • Born on date
  • Guaranteed fresh til date
  • Use by date
  • Pack date

It can get a little confusing.

frozen_2_medWhen it comes to the food and beverages supplied by your local Chicago vending company, the vending service providers should take the freshness of their products and the health of their customers seriously. Many vending companies are hoping to work with NAMA (the National Automatic Merchandising Association) on unifying codes on food and beverage packaging to make it a little less confusing for us all.

Another definition of “code” is

“any set of standards set forth and enforced by a local government agency for the protection of public safety, health,etc.”

At Mark Vend, we realize expiration dates and all the synonyms there of are in place for a good reason (your health), and we take every measure to make sure your safety is priory #1. We guarantee that our food is always fresh. Call Mark Vend today at (847) 291-9216.

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Mark Vend Has the Solution to Businesses Buying Bulk Products

Throughout Chicago there are all kinds of ways to save money in your daily life. For instance you could:

  • Eat rice and beans for every meal
  • Leave your car at home and walk the 10 miles to work
  • Only shower once a week
  • Never send another text message or connect to the web on your phone\
  • Purchase your snacks and beverages from a bulk store

You may think the last bullet point is out of place but the truth is that it’s just as pointless as the rest. Rice and beans may save money but eventually you’ll want variety and a well balanced diet. You could walk 10 miles to work but the amount of time lost would cost more than your cost of gas. Well….you get the point.

Purchasing from bulk stores may seem like a convenient way to save money but the truth is in the long run the cost is greater than your savings. What do you lose?

  • Variety of snacking and beverage options, including healthier items
  • Employee time – employees who were hired to focus on key aspects of your Chicago business now are wasting valuable time ordering and stocking products
  • Employee safety – heavy cases of soda can result in workman’s comp claims

Say goodbye to lost time and wages and hello to convenience by purchasing your snacks and beverages from Mark Vend in Chicago instead. What you’ll gain:

  • Large variety of snacks including organics, vegan and gluten-free options
  • Time – Mark Vend can work with you on customizing a menu specific to your needs. Snack racks and coolers will be refilled automatically, saving you on time ordering and stocking
  • Fewer workmen’s comp claims – let our trained drivers throughout Chicagoland assume the risks of heavy lifting
  • Free snack racks and reach in coolers

With our competitive pricing you have so much to gain and nothing to lose. Call Mark Vend today at (847) 291-9216 to discuss the ways we can save you time, money and energy while keeping your employees fed, healthy and happy.

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Coffee to Perk You Up

Did you know according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition studies confirm that iStock_000011783918Mediumcoffee in moderation may actually reduce your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, stroke, and cancers of the liver, kidney and prostate?

Fresh coffee from organic, whole beans that are pesticide-free can help keep your brain and muscle tissue young. However, the therapeutic benefits could be diminished if excess amounts of creamer, sugar and sweeteners and flavorings are consumed with coffee.  Dark roast coffee beans are richer in beneficial compounds and lower in caffeine
than lighter roasts.

cup of coffee with cream and cinnamonAccording to Dr. Mercola, ( organic coffee as a whole food may be therapeutic as caffeine in isolation can be quite toxic. The natural blend of polyphenol antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in coffee beans all work together to help neutralize the harsher effects of the caffeine. There are literally thousands of different natural chemical compounds in your brew, and science now suggests the synergy between them can pack a nice nutritional punch.

So the next time you’re feeling tired at your Chicago office, head to your break room, and grab yourself a gourmet cup of coffee and a five minute chat!

Need of Office Coffee Service at your Chicago location? No problem! Call Mark Vend today at (847) 291-9216.

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Bill Recyclers in Chicago Vending Machines Makes for Easy Payment Options

Up until recent years the only vending machines that would accept a $20 bank note was a change machine. You fed your bill into the machine and then enough quarters spit out to make you think you had hit Triple 7’s at a jackpot in Las Vegas. Similarly the only talk of recycling involved separating aluminum, plastic and paper.

Today $20 bills and recycling are being discussed in the same conversation along with meeting the needs of vending machine patrons.

In August 2011 Chuck Reed, the marketing direction for MEI, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of electronic  bill acceptors, shared some statistics on currency carrying habits; they were as follows:

  • 80% of consumers carry $1 in bills/coins
  • 50% of consumers carry $3 in bills/coins
  • 60% of consumers carry a $5 note
  • 40% of consumers carry a $10 note
  • 65% of consumers carry a $20 note

What does this mean? That often times when a customer (maybe your employee) wants to make a purchase from the vending machine, they can’t because their bank note is too high (average machines either accept exact change or offer change in coins for $1 or $5 bills).

That was until recent years when bill recyclers were introduced to the market. Bill recyclers allow vending machine customers to pay with higher denomination bank notes and receive change in bank notes, not just coins.

AKA if you want a granola bar but only have a $10 bill, now you can receive change that can fit in your wallet and not a bucket!

For more information on bill recyclers contact Mark Vend today at (847) 291-9216 and see if your machines meet the necessary requirements to have them installed.


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