3 Things to Consider When Creating a Snack Program for Your Dallas Office

building an office snack program for your Dallas Fort Worth office

When most people consider offering snacks at the office they consider doing a poll. (We highly recommend doing this. Create a free one on JotForm or Google Forms). On that poll they might ask questions like:

  • what types of drinks would you like to see in our coolers/vending machines?
  • what types of drinks would you not like to see in our coolers/vending machines?
  • what types of snacks would you like to see on our snack racks/in our vending machines?
  • what types of snacks would you not like to see in our coolers/in our vending machines?
  • what do you think makes a great snack and beverage program?
  • how often would you like to see a rotation of product?
  • how often do you think you’ll enjoy the snack/beverage program?
  • what dietary needs are most important to you?

Although these are all great questions and certainly part of building a successful snack program in your Dallas/Fort Worth office; they only represent part of the picture.

There are three things you should include automatically, no questions needed. These three things are: sustainable products, dietary specific snacks that cover multiple dietary limitations and culturally diverse snacks.

 

sustainable office snacks

Sustainable Products

There are now 56 million millennials in the American workforce, that’s a little over one third of the working population; making them the current largest working generation. Millennials care about the earth and they want to work with companies who share their same values.

So how do you create a snack program that focuses on sustainability? It’s easy.

  1. Start with your paper goods and serveware (cups, plates, utensils, napkins). Make sure you are purchasing compostable brands like World Centric.
  2. Offer snacks that are sustainably made. This could be in the way ingredients are sourced, how the product is made or how it’s packaged. A few of our favorite sustainable brands are:
  3. Begin to eliminate as much plastic as possible – if a beverage can be offered in an aluminum can or a glass bottle opt for that over a plastic bottle.

gluten free, vegan and diet friendly office snacks

Dietary Specific Snacks

Don’t make your team members ask for special accommodations to match their lifestyle. Rather than ask, be intentional and include some items that fit a wide assortment of needs from the beginning. As you build your snack program and start shopping make sure you include a few of the following items:

  • Gluten-free
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Dairy-free

For a healthier workplace and to offer snacks that fuel rather than deplete energy we would also recommended including snacks with:

  • High protein
  • No sugar added
  • Whole ingredients

having diverse snacks in your Dallas Fort Worth break room

Diverse Snacks

Your team is diverse which means your snacks should be too. Everyone should find something they love in their Dallas break room, which means you may want to consider providing diverse snacks in addition to standard American snacks (think Lays, Quaker, etc.).

Consider bringing in:

  • Spicier profiles
  • Snacks representative of other cultures (one of our favorites is Flow’s Tasty Treats, a nut and toasted corn mix, that’s based on a popular snack in Ghana)

If you aren’t sure where to start, don’t be afraid to ask team members who grew up in a different culture or country than you did, for a little guidance. A simple question like, “when you were growing up, what was your favorite snack?” could be a great place to start and it could be a really fun way to get to know each other better.

Work with Ameritex Vending to Build an Amazing Snack Program for Your Dallas Office

If you’re ready to build a competitive snack program that leaves employees feeling understood and appreciated we’d love to help. You can call us at 972.572.5200 or email info@ameritexvending.com. We’d love to help you build a snack program that runs smoothly and leaves everyone happy.

 

 

Why is Your Office Coffee so Bad?

Have you be receiving complaints that the office coffee is bad? Like mud bad? Are team members openly complaining about the coffee that was meant to be a benefit? It might be time to make some changes. The good news is that not all change has to be hard and there are some simple changes you can make to improve your office coffee program.

Before we start talking about changes let’s first diagnose what type of coffee equipment you have. In office coffee service there are four types of equipment to choose from including: liquid, airpot, single cup and bean to cup.

Liquid Coffee Machines

Liquid coffee machines are the units where the coffee comes as a frozen concentrate. The machine then adds water to the concentrate one cup at a time.

Liquid concentrate brewers can get a bad rap. Yes, these machines are very similar (if not identical) to coffee brewers you find at popular gas stations and no they aren’t known for their craft roasts, BUT these machines do an amazing job of getting hot coffee to the masses. ⁠ ⁠ If a large portion of your team works in a factory or in a distribution center, this type of machine may best suit your needs and your budget. ⁠ ⁠

Airpot Brewers

Airpot brewers are what we would consider an office coffee staple. These are the little engines that could and they serve multiple purposes in any office.

These machines work best when paired with portion pack coffee. Portion packs are perfectly portioned bags of ground coffee that make the ideal 12 cup pot. ⁠ ⁠

Why portion packs?

  1. They make less of a mess. Because the ground coffee is portioned into perfect sized bags, team members simply open the bag above the filter basket and pour. This typically creates less of a mess than when team members pour or scoop coffee from larger canisters.
  2. They create consistent pots of coffee. Again, because the ground coffee is perfectly portioned for a 12-cup pot of coffee, the end result (as long as employees only use one bag) is always the exact same.

Airpot brewers work great for every day coffee consumption in breakrooms where multiple people start their day at the same time or take similar timed breaks/lunches. Because they brew 12 cups at once and come with carafe displays, it’s common for one member of the team to get coffee started about 10 minutes before the day or break begins. ⁠ ⁠

Airpot brewers are also great to have on hand when the work might be split between office workers and warehouse workers. If you have a larger amount of team members in the warehouse you can provide Starbucks from airpot brewers to accommodate the larger volume and then provide Starbucks inside the office via a bean to cup machine or single cup machine. All team members get the same brand of coffee just delivered in the best way possible to keep up with usage and ensure freshness. ⁠ ⁠

If you have large events or board meetings we also highly recommend keeping an airpot brewer on hand. With displays for carafes you can set up a hospitable coffee station without having to have coffee catered. ⁠

Single Cup Machines

Single cup brewers like Keurig and Flavia have been less popular in recent years due to a perceived negative impact on the environment. Although K-Cups and Flavia pouches can certainly add to the landfill, if a company wants to, they can participate in robust recycling programs offered by both companies. ⁠

Pre-COVID we would not have recommended single cup options as a first solution to your office coffee needs; however, with more and more companies offering hybrid schedules and with fewer people coming to the office every day, single cup coffee brewers may be the best option to keep coffee fresh and to reduce waste (why brew an entire pot of coffee if only two cups are drank?).⁠

If you have less than 20 people in the office every day, this may be the best option for you. ⁠

Single cup brewers are also a great way to offer a variety of roasts (light, medium and dark) as well as flavored coffee. Although tea is available in K-cups we recommend reducing environmental impact and cost by offering tea bags instead of K-cups. ⁠

Not sure if this is a good fit for your office? Take a quick 2 minute quiz to find out which coffee brewer best meets our office’s needs.

Bean to Cup Machines

Bean to cup machines are the Cadillacs of the office coffee world. These are the machines that grind whole coffee beans fresh with each cup. These machines are also notable because of the addition of powder canisters that allow team members to select “fancy” drinks like mochas, cappuccinos, lattes, etc. ⁠

These machines are arguably the most popular in Dallas offices, and for good reason (they make a really good cup of coffee) but there are a few things to be mindful of:⁠

– of all the equipment listed above they do have the highest monthly rental cost and the highest minimum monthly purchase requirement⁠

– because they are grinding whole beans and dealing with powders, they need a daily rinse (this is as simple as pushing a button but you’ll need a dedicated team member to do this on location).⁠

– of all the machines, they are the most high maintenance (but don’t worry, we’ll be there the same day if anything goes wrong). ⁠

Not sure if this is the right type of machine for your office? Take a quick 2 minute quiz  to see which type of machine would be the best fit for your office. ⁠

Are you ready to improve your office coffee service for your Dallas break room? Call us at 972.572.5400 or fill out this form and one of our team members will contact you ASAP.

 

 

 

 

Employee Appreciation Improvements You Can Make This Holiday Season and All Year Long

We’ve officially entered the season of gratitude and gifting. That said, shouldn’t we be thinking of ways to make team members feel valued all year long? With employee resignations at an all time high, the ways we show employee appreciation must improve.

2020 was scary, 2021 was weird, and 2022 isn’t looking much better.

2021 has been marked as the year of the Great Resignation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021. Resignations peaked in April and have remained abnormally high for the last several months, with a record-breaking 10.9 million open jobs at the end of July.

According to the Harvard Business Review, employees between 30 and 45 years old have had the greatest increase in resignation rates, with an average increase of more than 20% between 2020 and 2021. Read more about this here.

There are a lot of potential reasons for the increase in resignations. There are also various ways to improve employee engagement by increasing employee appreciation.

A Quick Overview of Ways to Improve Employee Appreciation

One very visible way to improve employee appreciation at your organization is through your Dallas Fort Worth snack and beverage program.

It might sound too simple or a little too on the nose coming from a break room service provider. But what if employee appreciation was simple?

Here are some simple ways to let your team members know you appreciate them:

  1. Improve your coffee offerings. Nothing says we appreciate you quite like a cup of high-quality coffee. And adversely, nothing says we don’t really care about you, quite like a cup of mud.
  2. Offer snacks and beverages for free. This doesn’t have to be as pricey or as overwhelming as you might think. At Ameritex Vending we help companies offer this employee benefit for as little as $300 a week.
  3. Send snacks directly to their homes. With more and more team members working remotely, it’s important they know that out of sight doesn’t equal out of mind.

Offering Better Coffee as a Way to Increase Employee Appreciation

Anytime you are looking to add a new service or improve on an existing one; it’s important to remember that it’s okay to go slow. In other words, if you don’t already offer coffee, we might recommend starting with an airpot brewer. An airpot brewer allows you to brew up to 12 cups of coffee at once and as long as you choose a premium brand, employees will be excited for the offering.

Already have an airpot brewer but want to upgrade? Or maybe you don’t have a coffee service but you don’t want to go slow, you want to offer the best from the very beginning; for your office, we recommend moving forward with a bean to cup machine. These machines grind whole beans, fresh for each cup of coffee made and are a great way to let employees know you care enough about them to give them the very best.

Not sure what coffee system will work best for your office? Take a quick 2-minute quiz here.

 

Offering Snacks and Beverages for Free as a Way to Increase Employee Appreciation

When offering snacks and beverages for free, budget is always the biggest concern. At Ameritex Vending, we’ll work with you to create a program that fits your budget and bigger employee appreciation goals.

To get started we recommended budgeting $2-$7 per employee a day and offering a variety of pre-packaged snacks, beverages and perishable items (think yogurt, string cheese, hard boiled eggs, etc.).

Begin customizing a unique service for your team by filling out our contact form here. 

Sending Snacks Directly to Homes

With the workplace changing it’s important to remember that the way we show appreciation to our employees needs to evolve as well. With hybrid workspaces we want to make sure that employees feel appreciated at the office and at their homes.

Although there are a lot of great snack box services to choose from, our favorite is Oh Goodie! box. With Oh Goodie! box we can match the offerings we provide in your Dallas Fort Worth break room to the boxes that are being send home, making sure all team members have a unified snacking experience regardless of where their desk is.

Ready to Show Your Team Members You Appreciate Them?

If you’re ready to improve your snack, beverage or office coffee services for your Dallas Fort Worth team, reach out to us today by calling 972.572.5200 or by filling out a form here. A member of our dedicated team would love to discuss any of our services and ways we can improve on your current break room offerings.

 

 

 

 

How to Upgrade Your Vending Service in Your Dallas Fort Worth Break Room

With companies returning to the office, or at last with the largest volume of individuals trickling back to the office since the start of the COVID pandemic; it’s time to start thinking about office snacks again.

A lot has changed in the last few years but one thing has remained the same, employees still take perks and benefits into consideration when choosing a job. Now, with the continually evolving workplace, they may be considering those perks and benefits to determine if they want to go back to any office at all.

One of the perks with the highest visibility is snacks. What are you offering your Dallas team members in way of either free snack options, healthy snack options or at least accessible snacks if they don’t want to/have time to leave the office?

If you have been using the same vending machines with the same product for longer than you can remember; it may be time to give your vending service a makeover. Here are some ways you can do that without breaking your budget:

Options for Traditional Vending

Traditional vending in the Dallas Fort Worth Area gets a bad reputation but it’s usually because the “vendors” are using outdated equipment, hand-written labels and product they bought on a clearance at a local big box store. At the very minimum your vending machines should have:

  • professional labels
  • a mix of healthy and traditional snack options
  • multiple forms of payment including: cash, mobile pay and debit/credit card readers

If you don’t have those three things, you have the wrong vendor.

If you have those three things but are craving more variety, ask your vendor for a monthly sales report, detailing what is selling (and what isn’t in your machines). Your Dallas Vending Service should be able to give you a full break down of sales and make suggestions on how to refresh the variety to best cater to your employee’s tastes.

Give Away Some Snacks

If in addition to a larger variety of product, you also want to offer snacks at a discounted rate there are three main ways to do this:

  1. Traditional Subsidy Programs – in these programs, your Dallas Fort Worth Vending Service lowers the vend price (the visible price to your team members) and bills your company for the difference in vended product each month. In other words if a candy bar typically vends for $1.50 but you want team members to pay $0.50, the price on the machine would read $0.50 and your company would be billed $1.00 for that candy bar at the end of the month
  2. Vending Bucks – these paper coupons act as money in a vending machine. Dallas Fort Worth offices typically purchase these in bulk (maybe $100 at a time) and then Supervisors, Team Leads, etc. have them to hand out at their disposal to employees who have gone above and beyond, met a deadline, exceeded expectations, volunteered for the job no one else wanted, etc.
  3. Mobile App Payment/Stipend – At Ameritex Vending we offer the latest technology from 365 Markets, allowing your team members to use their phone pay via the 365 app but also allowing you to credit their account with a free weekly/monthly stipend to use at their disposal. This device is called a Pico device and the system works like this:
    • You give us the first and last name of each employee you would like to receive a stipend along with their work email
    • Let us know how much you would like to give as a free stiped (i.e. $5/day, $20/month)
    • We set up every team member with an account and load their stipend
    • Team members download the app to access their funds and begin snacking
    • Each week/month you are billed on what was used from the uploaded funds, not what was actually uploaded
2021 Outlook: 365 Retail Market's Pico Platform Offers Convenience Services  Technology for the Future | Vending Market Watch
The 365 Pico device enables team members to purchase product from their phone but it also allows employers to provide a weekly/monthly stipend team members can use on snacks, beverages and fresh food vending machines.

Upgrade to a Micro Market

If you’re ready to say goodbye to traditional vending (aka you’re ready to think outside of the box) but you aren’t ready to fully subsidize (aka give away everything for free) a micro market may be the next best thing. You can learn more about Micro Market services here.

Just like in vending, micro markets are conducive to a subsidy and/or stipend system which could allow you to offer controlled free snacks/beverages to team members. The added benefit is that micro markets offer a wider variety of product.

Because of the larger footprint know that in most cases, for a micro market to be placed, you would need a minimum of 75 full time employees on location and would need to pair a coffee service with the market.

Providing a Customer-First Experience  

We pride ourselves on best-in-class customer service to all of our customers. In fact, we live by the mantra “clean, stocked and working”, which was coined by, Founder Johnny Wallace. This mantra is part of our foundation and it is at the forefront of everything that we do as we continue to grow the business.

For more information about adding an office coffee servicemicro-market, office pantry service, or vending service to your Dallas Fort Worth break room, contact AmeriTex Vending at 972.572.5200 or info@ameritexvending.com. We look forward to working with you!

 

 

 

 

Revisiting Office Snacks and Beverages as Companies Return to the Office “post” COVID19

Before COVID-19 forever changed the landscape of the workplace food and beverage played a large part in employee recruitment, engagement and retention. Now with companies slowly returning to the offices, food and beverage is playing a larger role in human resources than ever before.

Why?

Many people got used to working from home, they still may not feel comfortable returning to the office, they feel like they’ve already proved that they can be productive even while out of sight of their employer. Simply put, many people have gotten used to “the new normal” and they aren’t looking to go back.

Why Team Members Might Want to Return to the Office

For as many people that don’t want to go back to the office full time there is a draw in returning at least in part. Reasons for wanting to return to the office (at least part time) include:

  • Separation from their family/home – although long commutes were tedious, a small commute, for some, brings a nice separation from home and work, creating a natural transition between the two locations
  • Human interaction – not everyone is a fan of water cooler conversations but most people report missing some aspects of human interaction that you can only get at the office (sometimes a Zoom just won’t do)
  • The snacks – If you’re working from home full -time than you have the full-time responsibility of meal prep and making sure your pantry is stocked with snacks. Many people, especially if employed by companies in the tech space, report missing their catered meals and seemingly bottomless snack supply

There’s a lot that you can do as an office manager or owner of a company to create a safer place for human interaction (reposition desks, create a flow for office traffic, put up plexiglass dividers, etc.).

And in the same way that the Feng-Shui of your office is going to need to be rearranged, the way you offer snacks, beverages and meals is also going to need to be reconfigured.

According the AARP.org, the CDC recommends replacing coffee pots and bulk snacks with individually packaged items but what do you do if you have sustainability goals that you want to preserve while also offering a robust coffee and snack program? There are a few options that might allow you to preserve both your desire to keep employees safe and preserve the planet.

What does the CDC say about coffee and snacks at the office?
The CDC recommends removing airpot coffee from office offerings

CDC recommends replacing airpot coffee offerings at offices

Office Coffee

Right now, it’s hard to argue in favor of traditional airpot coffee. Not only is it difficult to reduce the touch points (everyone pushes the same handle on the pot to pour the coffee) but with limited people in the office it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to make a full pot of coffee for a team of 5, where only 2 of those people might actually make a cup. Instead, as teams return to the office, we are recommending either bean to cup machines or single cup options.

Both options allow team members to order their coffee from apps on their phone, meaning the only thing they touch are their own phone and the cup they are going to drink from.

Both options also ensure that team members who are drinking coffee get a fresh cup, made specifically for them when they want it (not a cold up of coffee made 6 hours earlier when eager Becky arrived to the office at 5am).

Single Cup Options

Single Cup Options like the Flavia C600 offer safe ways to provide office coffee to team members as they return to the office.

Here are some of our favorite single cup options:

Yes, we know that single cup gets a bad rap for sustainability issues but both of the machines we are about to show you have a robust recycling program attached to them and both of these units allow team members to order their coffee via their phone.

 

Read more about Keurig’s touchless app here. 

Read more about Keurig’s recycling program here.

The Flavia app allows team members to select their coffee from an app on their phone. Once their selection is made a QR code is generated, they simply scan the QR code at the machine and wait for their coffee to brew.

Read more about Flavia’s recycling program here.

Bean to Cup Machines

Bean to Cup Coffee Machines
Dallas is looking for safe ways to give coffee to employees. Bean to cup machines offer freshly brewed coffee per cup and with mobile app options, employees can select their coffee from their phones, limiting touch points.

We love our bean to cup machines. They make great coffee, are the most sustainable office coffee option and look beautiful on the counter.

That said there are a few things you should know about them:

  • they work best when they are being used frequently (just like a car, we don’t want them to sit too long before use).
  • these machines are meant for offices of 50+ full time employees (that means if you are working hybrid shifts “post” COVID19, you would still need a minimum of 50 people in the office per day)
  • each machine comes with a monthly rental and monthly minimum purchase requirements

You can learn more about these beautiful machines here. 

Let’s Talk Snacks and Drinks

At AmeriTex we are still figuring out the best way to navigate the world of individually packaged snacks and sustainability. Unfortunately the technology just isn’t quite where we need it to be yet in order to offer a full menu of sustainably packaged snacks. For now, we are recommending that bulk offerings are suspended; this is for a couple of reasons:

  1. We are trying to limit touch points as much as possible. All current bulk options require a shared touch point at some point in the transaction.
  2. With limited people in the office, you run the risk of having bulk items expire/go stale before consumption, adding to food waste.

The good news? Although there are not a lot of sustainable options for single use snacks at this time, there are a lot of options for sustainably packaged single serve beverages.

Ways to Create a Sustainable Beverage Program:

  1. When possible switch from single serve options to “bulk” options. The best example of this at this time (in our opinion) is the Bevi unit. Swap out your canned sparkling water and your bottled still water and replace it with this water filtration system. The Bevi offers plain sparkling and still water as well as flavored sparkling and still water. And just like the coffee machines suggested above it also has an app where team members can select their beverage directly from their phone.
  2. Eliminate plastic as often as possible. Many iced teams (previously available in plastic bottles) are now offered in aluminum cans, bottled waters are not in cardboard and aluminum packaging. As continued concern arises around plastic (both for human health and the sustainability of the planet) many bottlers are choosing (or being forced) to change their packaging based on consumer demand.

What Next?

As you navigate returning to the office and are faced with making some hard decisions around snacks and beverages in the office “post” COVID19, we’d love to help you make the decision that is best for your office.

If you have questions about any of the equipment listed above, about our offerings or how we can help you offer safe and sustainable snacks, beverages and coffee (yes, coffee is a beverage but it’s so lovely it gets it’s own category) in your Dallas Fort Worth office you can reach us at 972.572.5200 or info@ameritexvending.com