A micro market is a self-checkout retail food establishment that replaces a bank of vending machines. In a micro market a customer picks up a product from an open rack display, a reach-in refrigerated cooler or freezer, then scans the UPC bar code or an RFID tag for each product at a payment kiosk. The customer pays with a single payment, be it cash, credit card or stored value card.
Another unique feature of the micro market is that it operates without an employee present, just like vending machines. All micro markets are equipped with a 24 hour a day security system monitoring customers as they make their selections and checkout. Micro markets are designed to be in “closed locations.” This refers to a business that has a moderately secured facility for a known group of employees where the micro market can be located in a designated area away from heavy public traffic.
All refrigeration equipment has self-closing doors to help maintain the correct temperatures. In addition all refrigeration equipment is equipped with automatic shut-off controls that prevent the equipment from selling food by locking the door when there is a power or mechanical failure.
The layout of a vending machine installation and a micro market are typically the same. A micro market can go into the exact same space that vending machines occupied and vice versa. In addition, all the vending and micro market equipment is portable and mobile.
In a typical micro market you will find:
Fresh crisp salads and fruit, Deli sandwiches, subs, soups and meal options Premium beverages, sparkling drinks and juice varieties Popular snacks, candies, gum and mints, Low-calorie, low-fat healthy alternatives, as well as breakfast sandwiches, pastries and cereals, ice cream and other frozen treats, some over the counter medicine and sundry items.
How Does It Work
A micro market is serviced on a pre-set schedule by a route driver. The route driver arrives at a location, checks the equipment to be sure it is working correctly, cleans the equipment on a set schedule, check products to be sure they are still “in date” and will be until the next service date, pulls any products that will be “out of date” and then stocks the product shelves and refrigerated and/or freezer units with new product. Through the use of on-line software, the route driver brings only what products are actually needed. The “out of date” products are returned to the warehouse for accountability and proper disposal at the end of day.
Most Micro Markets include the following:
- Shelving, be it wall or free standing for popular snacks, candies, gum, mints, low-calorie, low-fat healthy alternative snacks and sundry items.
- Single or double door glass front reach-in refrigerators and freezers for premium beverages, sparkling drinks and juice varieties.
- Single door glass front reach-in refrigerator or open air cooler for fresh crisp salads and fruit; deli sandwiches, subs, soups and other meal options; breakfast sandwiches, pastries and cereals.
- Single door glass front reach-in freezer for ice cream and other frozen treats.
- Equipment specifications for handling time/temperature control for safety food.
- All glass front reach-in refrigerators and freezers equipped with a health safety switch shall be Listed by the National Automatic Merchandising Association or other third party certifiers.