Technology Helps Third Generation Independent In Louisiana Change With The Times

Third GenterationBrennan’s Vending Service, a four-route operation based in Bogalusa, La. serving the greater Northshore area, has found technology an important investment in recent years. The company, which began in 1950 as a Tom’s Foods distributor, has changed with the times. In recent years, the company has deployed cashless technology, vending management software, pre-kitting, guaranteed product delivery, pick-to-light warehouse management and most recently, micro markets.

The company continues to expand, demonstrating that small, independent operators can use state-of-the-art vending technology to remain competitive.

“If we don’t do it, someone else will. You’ve got to keep up with the times,” said James Brennan, a sales and service rep and a third generation employee of the company founded by his grandfather, Bernie Brennan, Sr.

In the last two years, the company has deployed Three Square Market micro markets in a pair of distribution centers.
“It gives our customers more options,” Brennan said of the micro markets, “They’ve taken to it well. They love all the options.” The customers also like having the ability to create an account and pay using a market account.

About half of the customers are paying without cash, be it credit card, debit card or market account.

Fingerprint Scanner Gains Use

Many of the customers are using the fingerprint scan option with the micro market. Customers can scan their fingerprints and associate their fingerprints to their market account. The fingerprint scan makes paying by market account fast and easy.

Customers also have the option of associating an email, PIN number or mobile app to their market account if they wish. Cash is still important, however, to many of the older customers, Brennan noted.

The company used the micro markets to replace vending banks, and found the market improved sales and return on labor. Where the vending machines are serviced daily, the micro markets are serviced three or four times a week.

The company uses a dedicated vehicle to service the micro markets. The products are pre-kitted in the same warehouse as the vend products.

There is different software for managing the micro markets and the vending routes. The company uses the Three Square Market software for the micro markets and Cantaloupe vending software for the vending machines.

Brennan hopes that at some point in time, they will be able to use the Cantaloupe software to manage the micro markets. The Cantaloupe software has made it easy for the route drivers to service their machines.

VMS Software Simplifies Drivers’ Tasks

“All they (the route drivers) do is come in and pick up their totes, and they head out for the day,” Brennan said.
The totes are pre-kitted in the warehouse before the drivers arrive in the morning.

“Every tote is labeled with what machines, so when they get there, they look on their handheld to see what drinks they need and they just have to go in the facility one time and they’ re done, ” Brennan said.

The company introduced the Cantaloupe vending management system seven years ago. The drivers are now using smart phones to service the vending machines.

The company is also using the Cantaloupe cashless reader on many of its machines.

Brennan’s Vending Service offers coffee service to those accounts that request it. The coffee service products are delivered on the existing routes.

Bernie Brennan, Sr .’s son, Bernie Brennan, Jr. is the current CEO.,

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