Self-Service Trends

3 Ways to Enable Frictionless Services During COVID-19

October 1, 2020 | By Elyssa Steiner

3 Ways to Enable Frictionless Services During COVID-19

COVID-19 has created many challenges across various industries and has accelerated the adoption of contactless  delivery for operators in the vending and food service industry. We talked to three operators, Duncan Smith, President and COO of All Star Services Inc.; Bradlee Whitson, Operations Manager at K&R Vending Services; and Jared Detwiler, VP of Operations at One Source Office Refreshment Services Inc.; about how they have adjusted and became creative, in order to better serve their customers, via fritionless services, during the pandemic. 

1. Enabling Contactless Delivery

Contactless delivery has become the norm in our lives, whether through Amazon, our grocery store, or take out food delivery service like Grub Hub. The demand for frictionless services have grown due to business locations limiting access to outside vendors. Duncan Smith shares how All Star Services, Inc. took the Amazon model and are using it to provide the same kind of delivery services to its customers:

  1. Client places orders either online (using Seed), via email, or phone
  2. All Star Services delivers to the specified address
  3. Their driver takes a picture of the product – showing it was delivered at door
  4. This picture is included with the electronic invoice

“We’ve dropped off anything from a box of K-cups to a pallet of water, all via contactless delivery, and our clients like the fact that we can provide photo proof of the delivery directly on their invoice.” – Duncan Smith, All Star Services Inc.

2. Using Pre-Picks and FaceTime to Service Nursing Homes

At the start of the pandemic, many nursing homes were either eliminating or significantly reducing access to outside vendors, in order to keep patients safe. The challenge was without physical access to the location, vending services could not be offered. The lack of access to on-site vending options during their shifts upset the healthcare workers as well as other essential workers. So, administrators decided to jump in and help service the machines themselves to keep their staff happy while maintaining minimal touchpoints throughout their facility. In working with the administrators, K&R Vending Services decided to create the following process:

  1. Work with the Administrator to determine a drop off time
  2. Print pre-picks which provide the Administrator with exactly what product goes in exactly what row, with the exact quantity
  3. Drop off the product in totes for restocking in machines
  4. Based on machine performance and restock triggers, coordinate next drop-off

The power of FaceTime: By using FaceTime, K&R Vending Services was able to show the Administrators how to: unlock the machine, open the door and shelves, as well as how to use the pick sheet to stock the appropriate product in the right coil.  

“Printing the pre-picks created an easy and intuitive way for us to ensure our clients knew exactly what to stock.”  – Bradlee Whitson, K&R Vending Services

3. Providing Boxed Lunches and Bulk Delivery

One Source Office Refreshment Services’ locations in transportation or distribution centers, were extremely busy and seeking ways to best provide employees with food and beverages safely, while on-site during shifts. As a result, One Source Office Refreshment Services developed a boxed lunch program where clients can create pre-orders for their employees. These boxed lunches include the following options:

  1. Select a salty snack (3 different options available)
  2. Select sandwich options (the key is to ensure they are standard fresh food items you already stock for other locations)
  3. Include a bottle of water
  4. Add-on a delivery fee if client doesn’t hit minimum threshold for order

One Source advertises the service on its website; the menus change daily and clients can place their orders via phone or email.  It has also seen an increase in bulk orders for where it delivers pallets of Gatorade or water each week, to various locations.

“In lieu of a micro market going into one of our locations in the short-term, the client decided to provide boxed lunches for their employees, and we’re delivering 70 lunches each time we service their location.” – Jared Detwiler, One Source Office Refreshment Services Inc.

From using tools like FaceTime, to pivoting from standard products and services, to providing contactless delivery options, operators are getting more and more creative with how they service clients in order to provide them with food and beverage products during COVID-19. By leveraging all of the capabilities of Seed, Duncan, Bradlee, and Jared all have real-time data at their fingertips. This gives them the flexibility to adapt food orders, combine routes to better control operating costs, and ultimately, maximize the technology to better service their customers in a frictionless manner, based on changing consumer demands.


Elyssa Steiner

Chief Marketing Officer

Elyssa has over 10 years in the self-service retail industry and was among the first to be a part of launching the micro market concept into the vending channel. She is passionate about sharing both her knowledge in self-service retail and marketing with industry associations such as NAMA and Frost and Sullivan’s Marketing professionals.

Elyssa Steiner LinkedIn