Business Management

The Best Locations for Your Micro Market

February 16, 2023 | By Cantaloupe, Inc.

The Best Locations for Your Micro Market

So you’ve decided to install a micro market.

You know why a micro market can save you on upfront costs and drive more sales than a bank of vending machines in a single location. But where should you put it?

Micro markets were originally developed as a vending alternative in office and warehouse break rooms. Their layout flexibility, unmanned kiosks for easy checkout and wide variety of snack and meal options provide convenience that keeps more people on-site during the workday, which is why you’ll still see micro markets built primarily in break rooms.

But what if you want to branch out?

Where to find your next micro market location

If you want to diversify the placement of your micro market locations, look for high-visibility, closed-loop environments that have a reliable, round-the-clock customer base. Here are some great options:

  • University campuses. Dining halls aren’t always open 24/7, which gives you an opportunity to cater to hunger cravings wherever students and staff happen to be: libraries, student centres or dorms.
  • Apartment complexes. Help building managers expand their on-site amenities with a micro market that gives residents convenient to-go options as they’re coming or going from the lobby or rec room.
  • Hospitals. Hospital staff and visitors can’t easily leave campus to get meals and the cafeteria has set hours, so there’s a clear opportunity to offer an all-hours micro market with fresh, healthy options.
  • Hotels. The opportunities for easy snack options have moved beyond a vending machine next to the ice dispenser. A micro market placed in a hotel lobby can offer convenient food and beverage options, as well as common toiletries that a traveler may have forgotten in their luggage.
  • Health clubs. Oftentimes customers want a cold water or a healthy snack bar pre- or post-workout. A micro market placed in the gym can be seen as a “healthier” option for food and drink than a vending machine.
  • Office buildings. Don’t limit yourself to a single employer in an office building. Chances are, you can reach out to other employers to expand your footprint into their break rooms. You can also work with building management to place micro markets in public spaces on different floors.

What you need for your micro market location

Wherever you decide to place your next micro market location, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure a return on your investment.

The first thing to know is that you don’t need a large space or massive customer base to run a successful micro market. Many operators are managing profitable markets in locations with as few as 50 customers thanks to the availability of compact, affordable kiosks and flexible layouts that keep upfront costs reasonable.

The second thing to remember is that you don’t necessarily have to stick your micro market in a true closed-loop environment. More and more, operators are expanding the micro market concept into more public-facing locations, like airports and malls. With the right security equipment in place, you can put a micro market almost anywhere.

The last thing you need is fully-integrated micro market software that will help you manage all your locations in one platform — even if you have a mix of vending machines and micro markets. The right software can help you manage inventory, help you schedule routes, and run better reports so you can continue to grow your business.

If you’re ready to get started with your first (or next) micro market, we’ve got everything you need.


Cantaloupe, Inc.

Cantaloupe, Inc. is a digital payments and software services company that provides end-to-end technology solutions for the self-service economy.

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