GEM Vending based in Nottingham, is celebrating 50 years of local service to the East Midlands in 2018.
The vending industry has seen many changes since the company was first registered in 1968 in both the style of the machines and the quality of the coffee and other products dispensed.
Back in the 1970s with no computerised systems GEM had 15 field operators servicing 300 machines daily to produce instant coffee and tea drinks in small cups – a far cry from the large paper cups vended today.
GEM Vending’s current owner, Steven Gallagher, joined the company in February 1972 as operations manager and gained a thorough understanding of every aspect of the business before a management buyout in 1993. Today six of his original employees still work at GEM bringing with them over 160 years of combined experience.
The 1980s and 1990s saw much development in the industry and the company started manufacturing its own machines called the Diamond range. Much of this technology still forms the basis of modern machines today. The Diamond 8 series won an international award in 1995 for design and innovation.
Following the management buyout the GEM team focused on operating and servicing machines in the field, investing in the best machines in the British manufacturing industry. Many of which, due to their reliability and innovation, remain strong partners for GEM Vending today.
Moving to a new head office in 1999 gave GEM Vending the opportunity to grow further and successfully take over four smaller local companies integrating them into their existing operation, creating and securing more local jobs in the area.
Then 2011 saw the introduction of an innovative approach to healthier choices within vending. QR codes placed on 1,500 machines in the East Midlands gives communities and workforces free nutritional information on every product with making a purchase.
“It’s all about education, offering our customers free information to allow them to make informed choices. Do you know how many calories are in a cappuccino?” asks Nicola Hill, sales and marketing director at GEM Vending.
Vending today is facing many external challenges, many driven by central government; from introduction of new currency, health and wellbeing, through to the huge debate on recycling and our environment.
“Being members of the AVA gives us a strong united platform and a voice to ensure we at GEM Vending are well represented. Our innovative management team is already moving the company into cashless vending with mobile and card transactions. We proudly put our quality alongside any high street coffee shop,” says Steven Gallagher, chair and owner of GEM Vending.