When Snack-in-the-Box was launched in 1991 its ‘honesty’ box concept helped the brand to become a success, nearly 20 years on and this principle continues to see its franchise owners’ businesses thrive. With the ‘honesty’ box there is no personal contact with a vendor at the time of purchase or a mechanical vending process in place. Customers are relied upon to leave the correct change in return for the snacks on offer.
Matthew O’Neil, Sales Director of Snack-in-the-Box (pictured), said: “Many people ask me whether customers really do put the money in the box. They seem genuinely surprised that an honesty system works in this day and age. But it is important for them to understand that, in building a business that has been successful for the best part of two decades, we introduced a number of systems and controls that reduce theft from our franchise owners.
“Most customers are decent, and they are honest enough to leave the exact amount in a fair exchange for the snacks they take away. In reality, newsagents and food retailers suffer far greater losses from shoplifting than our franchise owners, and we have a number of ex-newsagents and shop owners within our network who can testify to that! We also have franchise owners that are well into their third term; people that have been successfully trading for more than 12 years. And why would anyone want to stay in business for that long if that business didn’t work?”
Snack-in-the-Box franchise owners deliver boxes packed full of well-known snacks to medium sized businesses of less than 20 employees. They return a week later with a freshly packed box and take away that week’s cash takings. There are no contracts, no security cameras, and no cashier to ensure the correct money is left.
O’Neil added: “This is a very simple cash business that relies on trust. The businesses we deliver to love our service because we keep their employees on site, and they prefer that than seeing their employees wander off for mid-morning and afternoon snacks. Those same employees love our service because we make it convenient for them to buy the best chocolate, confectionary and crisps. And because they love the service we provide, they want it to work. In the smaller work place if someone abuses the system generally everyone knows who it is. So the collective honesty of the group often prevails. They tend to govern any ‘would be’ light fingered abusers as the rest of the staff don’t want to lose the service. Yes, put this Box on a factory shop floor and it would be financial suicidal, you would be lucky to get your box back, let alone any chocolate or cash! But in the smaller work place it really works. Put simply, we are vending from a self service Box.”
Published: 13 October 2010
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