As I mentioned last week, every machine has setting to determine how much candy comes out per pull, those setting will make the difference between running a profitable business and running a charity.
The settings are a very important factor. While you need to be profitable you can lose the good will factor from your customers if they get next to nothing for their money. For repeat customers like employees at the store or company winning back loyalty is hard. So you have to strike a balance. Just like any other product the more you get for your money, or better value, the more people will buy something they already want. So with a higher dispense setting you may increase sales, if you find you have trouble keeping the thing filled every service time you can decrease the amount vended which is the same as increasing your price or rates.
If you find freshness is an issue you might want to dispense more at a time so you can move an item before it is no longer fresh and needs to be thrown out. Trying to sell unfresh candy will only hurt your loyalty in the long run.
As I mentioned in the previous article one way to test your machine is to buy a very small quantity of candy like a few movie theater boxes. Take your selected machine and try various setting. Run a quarter through your machine and see how much is dispensed. First question to ask yourself is, “if I got this much out of a candy machine how would I feel about it?” if it looks too small it might be.
Next consider other close by sources of candy. Maybe you have to compete with a electric snack machine that sells a bag of peanut M & Ms, well think about how many you get in the bag compared to how many your machine dispenses. Which do you think people are more likely to buy.
Once you are done looking at the psychology of the buyer the next step is to look at the profitability of the machine. To do this you will need to weight the candy a single turn dispenses at that setting. Or maybe multiple turns if the digital scale doesn’t work at that low a weight. Then divide 16 ounces (1 lb) by that weight per turn and determine how many quarters per lb you get, divide by 4 and you know how many dollars per pound of that candy you can make. This will help you figure out what price you want to try and buy it at. Also it will show you how much money a single LB of candy will generate.
This number is essential in estimating if that candy will be profitable and thus worth using. Granted you can adjust your setting to find a good balance where maybe you felt you had to give more candy for it to sell but in reality you didn’t. These things you will learn in time, and ultimately you can rinse and repeat on your next machine.
Keep in mind these numbers are estimates, so don’t think too hard on that number that will come in. Yeah it sounds attractive to think about spending 50 and making 110. That does sound good, but don’t over buy on your first machine. There is still a time factor involved. How long will it take for you to move that candy you can’t estimate that until you have been in business for a few months and see how much is purchased on average. You don’t want to tie up your money waiting on your return.
Here is a quick guide on recommended candy settings based off people’s perception of value and a good return.
- Skittles: 11 pieces
- Reese’s Pieces: 11 pieces
- Mike & Ike: 7 Pieces
- Peanuts: 11 pieces
- Cashews: 10 pieces
- Pistachios: 10 pieces
- Gumball: 1 inch diameter
- Plain M&M: 11 pieces
- Peanut M&M: 8 pieces
- Hot Tomales: 7 pieces
- Runts: 10 pieces
- Boston Bake Beans: 11 pieces
- Chiclets: 10 pieces
- Gobstoppers: 6 pieces
- Chewy Sprees: 8 pieces
Next week we will discuss the numbers so have a calculator ready we are going to get serious about tracking and statistics.