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Vending Franchise and Business Opportunities for Sale

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Trends and Facts About Vending Franchises

Vending is always a popular area for prospective franchisees to explore. Not only is it one of the least expensive franchise industry segments relative to several others, it is also considered as a more "passive" investment as vending machine owners don't typically have to be on-site daily in order to make money, which appeals to many people.

And Great Britain is one of the most prolific vending machine industries in the world. According to OMR Global, the “high adoption of the vending machine among people in the country is one of the major factors for the significant market of vending machines in UK.”

Per the most recent available data, Britain has approximately one vending machine for every 55 people. These roughly half million vending machines in the UK vend out over seven billion items each year, bringing in just under $2 billion in revenue annually.

However, those number appear set to change rapidly. For the period spanning until 2026, the UK vending machines market is anticipated to grow at an annual rate of 4.2%.
With all the different vending franchise opportunities available to potential franchisees, the world of vending machines has never been more accessible. The flexible hours and easy-to-run format of many vending businesses may attract individuals to the vending machine franchise market. Find out even more about the franchise industry below.

The Dawn of “Micro Markets” in Vending

The pandemic has caused a truly mixed bag of results for the UK vending industry. Traditional vending business in areas such as offices, schools, and hospitals slowed. However, a number of small businesses introduced vending machines as an alternate selling tool during the pandemic, which led to dramatic growth in the “micro market” area of vending.

According to David Llewellyn, chief executive of the Vending and Automated Retail Association, automated micro markets saw 367% growth in a year period.

Micro markets are a concept that has been made possible by a wide array of advances made in technology over the years. They can be defined as small convenience stores, which are run without staff. Customers pay using a smartphone app or at an unattended till. While they lean more towards traditional retail, they maintain the more “set it and (somewhat) forget it” nature of vending. Similar to traditional vending machines, the owner simply needs to monitor, maintain, and stock the micro market at regular intervals.

The Increasing Variety of Vending

Candy and snacks are the most popular vending machine items. In studies, it has been found that the most commonly bought vending machine items purchased in the UK are crisps, chocolate and other confectionery items. Beverages also maintain a large percentage of market share. On average, more than eight million cups of coffee and two million cups of tea are served from UK vending machines every single day of the year.

However, while candy, snacks and beverages reign supreme, the items dispensed by vending machines has expanded greatly in recent years.

The expansion of wares in UK vending machines isn’t new. There was a definite upmarket surge in years past, as shoe vending machines, novel vending machines and Vodaphone vending machines took the UK by storm.

But now the wide array of vending goods is gaining more attention. For instance, a BBC report commenting on the growing areas of vending points to new examples such as fake eyelashes from a machine (at Lash Loft in Newcastle), perfume (from Russia's Perfumatic), and even prescriptions (Italy’s Pharmaself24).

On the more traditional front: Healthy snacks are a growing area in the vending industry as well. According to the Vending and Automated Retail Association report, sales of healthy snacks sold from vending machines jumped 147% between 2020 and 2021.

Advantages of a Vending Franchise over Independent Operation

People buy into franchises for many different reasons. Suppose you are enthusiastic about owning your own business, but can’t quite come up with a business idea of your own.

Or, maybe, you know exactly what you want to do, but the idea of doing all of the legwork in setting of a business – such as brand development, writing a business plan, learning the rules and regulations of the industry, finding how to supplement your existing skills in the area, figuring out marketing, etc. – makes your head spin.

For either case, franchising may be the best method for making your dreams come true.

When you invest in a franchise, you take on the methods of a business that (1) understands its established target market, and (2) has proven itself profitable and sustainable. These are two of the primary reasons many people find the prospect of a driving franchise very attractive.

Independent companies that go into business without the support of an established partner often struggle to penetrate the market. They often misunderstand what their customers want and how to fulfill that desire. It can take a long time, along with trial and error, for an independent company to get their service offering right.

On the other hand, franchises tend to enjoy more immediate success because the parent company has done their market research. The franchisor has spent time developing their services and products to meet the standards expected by their customers.

When you invest in a vending franchise, you inherit not only the immediately recognizable branding of the parent company but the tried-and-tested business model focused on a client base who already know and trust their service model. In addition, the franchisor, typically, already has an existing supply chain and vendors that already know what the business needs. You also take on the parent company’s hard-earned reputation—and reputations are hard to build in the marketplace.

It should also be noted that some prospective franchisees are worried about not having the skills needed. Not a problem.

In franchising, your franchise parent company typically provides a training package for you and your employees to ensure that you can maintain their hard-earned reputation. In addition to training, many franchisors offer a range of business support functions, including HR assistance and help in your business and employment regulation compliance.

Further, franchisors tend to set their franchises up in territories they have faith the business will succeed in. After all, their ultimate success is dependent on the success of their franchisees.

The UK is a nation of snackers and tea drinkers - we love our crisps, chocolates, and cakes. But we also love our hot tea, premium coffees, and hot chocolates.

Vending machines offer 24-hour access to snacks and beverages in stations, hotels, and public venues across the nation, serving the ongoing hunger of the UK public.

And this is why the UK vending machine sector brings in £1.54bn and employs over 24,000 people. In fact, there’s one vending machine in the UK for every 55 people—serving over 8 million cups of coffee, 2 million cups of tea, and over 7 billion snacks a year.

And while we can rely on food and beverages to drive custom, the UK is following the global trend by introducing vending machines that offer other on-the-go essentials—offering a wide range of products from shoes and smartphone charging to books and magazines.

Japan leads the vending machine revolution, offering everything from live crabs, cooked pizzas, wine, baguettes, and instant noodles to bike parts, pet food, LEGO, and even caviar.

You'll find vending machines across the nation in:

  • Service stations
  • Public toilets
  • Stations
  • Hotels
  • Schools, colleges, and universities
  • Hospitals
  • Gyms and health clubs
  • Factories and offices
  • Shopping malls and supermarkets
  • Apartment complexes
  • Nursing homes and care facilities

So, if you’re looking for a relative low-maintenance retail opportunity, consider investing in a vending franchise, and help serve the public’s need for speedy purchases.


Many people consider franchising the ideal way to go into business because you start up with the ongoing support of an experienced partner. When you invest in a vending franchise, you’ll enjoy a raft of priceless benefits, including:

  • An instantly recognisable logo and brand identity
  • Immediate curb appeal
  • A fully operational supply chain
  • World-class training

So, if you're considering leaving the rat race and going into business for yourself, you should think seriously about investing in a company that's already up and running. And inherit a track history of profit, sustainability, and growth.

Starting up a new business from the ground is fraught with peril, from penetrating the saturated marketplace to recouping your initial investment. This is because business is often slow for new companies who enter the market alongside established competitors—they have to win round and convince clients to move away from a service they already know and trust and go with something unknown.

This makes investing in a vending franchise a sure way to start your own new business. And alongside the benefits of existing visibility, your vending franchise parent company usually offers excellent training opportunities to ensure that you can maximise your profits and expertise.

But it's not just training on offer; many parent companies provide HR functionality that helps ensure your new business complies with business-, financial-, and employment regulations. And that's certainly worth its weight in gold.

Vending franchises offer:

  • Excellent training that ensures you maximise your prospects
  • Ongoing business support to guide you along the way
  • HR functionality to ensure you comply with business regulations.

Facts About Vending Franchises

Vending franchises provide choices for customers, but—in the past—products available in machines haven't always offered healthy options. The trend for filling vending machines with salty and sugary snacks is undoubtedly on the wane, and devices providing healthier choices are becoming increasingly popular across the UK—especially in health clubs and university campuses.

Indeed, the healthy snacks market is growing exponentially, forecast to exceed £72bn by 2025. The CAGR from 2020 to 2025 is predicted to hit 5.8% in the healthy snacks space; in comparison with traditional confectionery products, which have a projected CAGR of 1% within the same timescale.

But vending machines aren’t just for individual units placed in high-traffic areas, such as stations and hospitals. There’s a growing drive to build entire retail businesses from vending machines—Amazon Go, for example, has been trialling the UK’s first unattended shopping experience, with vending machines at the heart of the convenient retail aesthetic.

And it wasn't that long ago that vending machines demanded that hungry or thirsty customers required cash to grab a snack on the go. And that was a little restrictive for many. Thankfully, reliance on cash has significantly waned in post-pandemic Britain, allowing customers to access their favourite treats via contactless payment methods.

And as the planet heaves under the weight of our constant consumption, vending franchises are innovating, introducing “reverse vending” machines that help consumers recycle their packaging and post-consumer waste—appearing in Co-Ops across the UK.

Smart machines are the latest trend in vending franchises, offering the same kind of jovial greeting and personalisation we’ve come to expect from our local shopkeepers. Using smartphone indicators, smart vending machines can recognise individual customers to help them make their purchase decision—knowing their preferred languages, pronouns, and first-choice products.

The vending franchise market is undoubtedly a space for true innovation—so if you're looking for a new way to earn your living, consider the exciting world of vending machines.

Franchising vs. Independent

Starting up in business is a challenge for any business owner, but when you go it alone, you face many obstacles that potentially block entry to the marketplace. This is why investing in a vending franchise really could help you break through the noise of your existing competition.

All new businesses require startup collateral—helping them with the costs of setting up the infrastructure of their business while establishing a supply chain and reaching out to potential customers. And that collateral often comes from banks or moneylenders.

And this is where franchising puts you one step ahead because banks and moneylenders tend to favour the franchise model.

Think about it:

A franchise business is already operational, with a history of turnover, profit, sustainability, and growth. You inherit all of that when you invest in a vending franchise.

Compare that with an independent business owner seeking funding without a franchise partner's backing. Indies struggle to demonstrate the viability of their business because they have no track record. And when they do achieve their startup funds, they often suffer higher interest rates because the perceived risk of a return is higher.

However, vending franchises offer:

  • An existing customer base who recognises and trusts the brand
  • An operational supply chain
  • Evidence of market viability

So, don’t delay. Check out our excellent vending franchises and get on the path to self-employment today.

Starting a Vending Machine Business in the UK

If you're seeking a business opportunity that's both lucrative and enjoyable, we recommend looking into the possibility of starting a vending machine business. When you buy into an existing vending franchise business, you’re providing convenient products that people already use and enjoy, giving you the advantage of instant name recognition.

When you start a vending machine franchise business, you pay a fee to use the brand name, vending machine, products, and marketing of an existing company. You’ll have to purchase products from your supplier to keep your vending machine full and ready for customers. This means monitoring the machine often, collecting money, and refilling the product.

How to Start a Vending Machine Business in the UK

If you are interested in pursuing the vending machines industry as a business venture, your first step is to conduct thorough research beforehand. Look at some products and companies that may do well in your target area. You could, for instance, focus on soda, candy, or chips, which are primary vending services that usually succeed. But you might also think in terms of healthier foods and drinks, sandwiches, or non-food beauty or hygiene products. Any of these can be marvelously successful if you think carefully about what your potential customer base wants and needs.

When you’ve settled on a product line, you must find ideal locations and determine the types of vending machines you want to use. Also, think in terms of finances at this point, including startup costs for your vending franchise business. You’ll have to pay a fee just to buy into a company, rent machines, and stock your first round of products. To fund your franchise, you may have to take out a small business loan. Just be sure you fully understand the terms and responsibilities before signing any papers.

Vending Franchises

When you’re ready to begin the process, contact us at Franchise Direct to learn all about your vending machine franchise opportunities. You’ll be making a profit almost before you know it.

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