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innovative insights: Professional Extinction

Professional Extinction

March 31, 2008
By David Murphy


Remember all those cartoons, many years ago, with the person walking
around the streets in a sandwich board warning: “REPENT! The end is

Remember all those cartoons, many years ago, with the person walking around the streets in a sandwich board warning: “REPENT! The end is near!”

We all laugh and wonder if there will be end. But, an end does come to everything at one time or another.

In response to many who have asked about my own “literary end,” I have not retired. And, my thoughts today are controversial as always – but my job is to make my readers think. My words are not pessimistic, but a maybe realistic view of what is happening in our profession.


I know everyone doesn’t always agree, but we must sometimes face the reality of the situation. I also believe what I am about to tell you isn’t just confined to North America, but is a universal issue.
There will always be foodservices such as vending, office coffee, and customer service vending. The question will be: To what extent will our services be needed in the foreseeable future?

Hold on to your hats, because whether you want to believe it or not, with the exception of a few of us, collectively we are in for a bumpy ride. Vending, as we know it now, is not coming back. 

Can you now see me at the CAMA show or the NAMA show wearing my sandwich board advertising the end is near?

Of course, it’s not quite that bad, but the good times are over for the majority. Many factors have changed the face of our profession: an aging Canadian population, downsizing/smaller industries, plant closures, and a society that is moving towards healthier lifestyles. Of course, we must also take into account the convenience of fast foods and how modern gas stations have turned into these ultra, multi-functional variety stores.

Not to mention energy prices. With a big hit in the wallet for the average worker, they are forced to cut back spending in almost every form.

Another good example is one of the drive-thru. It’s not uncommon for office coffee companies to experience decreased sales during these franchise cup promotions. Sales decline as more people attempt to win the latest prize being held up for grabs. Other fast food outlets also experience decreased sales in the face of their competitors tactics.

This only goes to prove how we are all affected.

So how do we counter the affects of reality?

Recognizing that things will not be the same is the first step in moving forward. Again, there will always be a few that will be strong in the marketplace. Whatever you decide – getting more competitive, branching out into new and uncharted waters, or just simply keeping what you have – I want to make it very clear, that in my opinion, it is not ever coming back to the way it was. So, strap on the seat-belts because it is going to be rough ride.

“The wise spread their wings and embrace the winds of change.” The Book of Motivation.o

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