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Food industry adopting wireless technology
Posted: 01-Nov-2013 [Source: Verizon]

[With fewer people carrying cash these days, some vending machine operators are going wireless in innovative ways using near field communications (NFC) and other new technologies.]

Anderson, SC -- Businesses are adapting to a world where consumers carry little cash. According to Javelin Strategy & Research, just 27 percent of point-of-sale purchases are made with cash. That number is expected to drop to 23 percent by 2017. While there are implications for businesses in many industries, the cashless trend is severely affecting vending machines that dispense snacks and drinks.

Anderson, S.C.-based Cromer Food Services has serviced vending machines in South Carolina and Georgia for 32 years. The company recently began to offer their customers – the small businesses that own vending machines – a way to serve the untapped market of people who carry only plastic in their wallets.

"I noticed that few people under 40 carry cash, so by installing a card swipe on existing vending machines sales instantly jump by as much as 22 percent," said Brent Cromer, president of Cromer Food Services.

Cromer has also equipped his field employees with handheld computers to help manage inventory. Accurate inventory counts are now sent over Verizon's 4G LTE network so delivery vehicles carry only the supplies they need to restock machines.

"Improving the efficiency of our inventory management system has increased the capacity on board our vehicles by 50 percent. The additional items we place on the trucks drives revenue growth for us," said Cromer.

Cromer Food Services was recently named runner-up of the 2013 Wireless Technology Innovation Awards – a competition for small and mid-sized businesses – and awarded a $5,000 prize for using technology in an innovative way.

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