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Mastering Food Vending Machine Business in India

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

3 vending machines with snacks and drinks in them.

Picture this: You have only five minutes in between meetings and suddenly you feel a pang of hunger. The cafeteria queues are deterringly long. Luckily, you spot an automatic vending machine next to the meeting area filled up with glistening bottles of refreshingly cold juices and healthy snacks. You take out your phone to select and pay for your favourite products through a website or app interface, satisfying your hunger, in one cashless, touchless transaction AND most importantly just in time for the meeting.

It’s 2023 and people are always on the go, seeking quick and accessible solutions for their everyday needs and increasingly technology is coming to the aid. This desire for convenience has given rise to food vending machines in India. Vending machines that provide a combination of snacks and beverages make up about 88% of the fast-growing Indian vending machine business. If you are looking to start a food vending machine business in India look no further. As we provide a comprehensive guide, identifying the different types of food vending machines to which food vending machine is suitable for your business startup to the regulatory, operational and marketing considerations to keep in mind.

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Understanding Food Vending Machines

Initially introduced in the 19th century, food vending machines have come a long way. With the rising demand for convenient and accessible food options, the global market for retail vending machines reached an estimated value of USD 51.91 billion in 2021. And this market is projected to grow at a remarkable CAGR of 10.7% from 2022 to 2030, indicating a promising future for food vending machines.

The market for food vending machines in India is particularly experiencing significant growth. The reasons behind this growth are manifold. First, there is an increasing demand for on-the-go food options, including hot meals that can be consumed on the spot. Secondly, the round-the-clock availability of vending machines. Lastly, the penetration of mobile data and digital payment systems in India has paved the way for seamless transactions.

Because of the growing market, there is a vast potential for the food vending machinebusiness startup in India. But it is worth noting that the potential target audience for the food vending machine business in India is broad. Office workers, students, travellers, commuters and anybody else looking for a quick and filling lunch make up the immensely large target market for such a firm. We're here to help you make the most of this market and succeed with your food vending machine business.

Types of Food Vending Machines

There are many different possibilities in the world offood vending business startup India to meet various consumer needs. Let's examine each of these categories in more detail:

Three snack and beverage vending machines
Snacks and beverage vending machine.

Frozen food vending machine:

A relatively new type of vending machine that offers a convenient solution for those seeking quick and delicious frozen food. From delectable pizzas and sandwiches to delightful frozen prawn biryani in a vending machine. With features like temperature monitoring and self-cleaning mechanisms, the freshness and quality of products are maintained. Most frozen food vending machines also heat the food up to a delicious piping hot temperature.

Ice cream vending machine:

Indulging in irresistible ice cream cravings is a weakness we all share. That’s why ice cream vending machines are such a hit! However, the selection available may vary, as some ice creams are expertly prepared and stored just like the Vendekin vending machine for Naturals ice cream.

Snack vending machine:

As the name implies snack vending machines are designed to provide quick snacks on the go. From delicious cookies, chips and candies to granola bars these machines offer a wide variety of treats. Usually, these types of machines are found in offices, hostels, schools, colleges and apartment complexes.

Hot meal vending machine:

Redefining the concept of a hot meal, this food vending machine is perfect for busy professionals, students and travellers. It prepares wholesome and piping-hot meals in minutes. Whether you crave a sandwich, biryani, dosas, idli or a complete hot meal, these machines have got you covered.

Beverage vending machine:

From bottled water and carbonated beverages to tea and coffee these vending machines cater to the diverse refreshing assortment preferences of consumers. These machines can be divided into two types.

  • Hot beverage vending machine - Usually found in offices, hospitals, train stations and colleges, these machines are equipped with heating mechanisms to serve hot tea and coffee. Sometimes these machines also provide customisable options allowing you to adjust the strength and sweetness of the brew according to your preference.

  • Cold beverage vending machine - These vending machines are equipped with cooling systems that serve carbonated beverages, iced tea, soft drinks, fruit juices and even flavoured water.

Customised vending machine:

If you think vending machines are only filled with snacks, chips or sodas then you might be missing something. These arethe type of vending machines that can be customised and tailored to specific products or services. From a simple snack soda vending machine to a T shirt vending machine it can be customised for any product. For example, Vendekin has set up a Paan vending machine for Shaukeen Paan outside their store in Pune. This helps both as a novelty talking point, as well as, a quick service point for customers who are in a hurry. Similarly in the US, there are vending machines exclusively offering women’s flats and even a vending machine for hair extensions. And of course, in Japan you can buy literally ANYTHING from vending machines. Right from hot ramen to edible insects to a shot of restorative oxygen! These examples are just the tip of the iceberg, as the possibilities of vending machines are limitless. Vending machines can offer practically anything you can imagine.

Selecting the Right Vending Machine

Before diving intovending business startups in India, conducting thorough market research and careful planning is crucial. To conduct effective market research consider the following steps:

1) Identify your target audience:

Determine who are your ideal customers based on factors such as age, lifestyle, product references and location. This way you can choose the type of vending machine that can cater to your audience. For example, if the target audience is college-going students, you should focus on cost-efficient and convenient products like snacks, packaged beverages and quick meal options.

2) Assess consumer demand:

Once you have identified your target audience, it is essential to assess demand for the products you are planning to offer. Look at trends in markets, conduct surveys and analyse data to determine whether what you are planning to sell is profitable or not. This will also help you make informed decisions about stocking your products.

3) Selecting a vending machine:

Based on your research and understanding of the target audience, selecting the right vending machine is important. Consider factors such as the capacity of the machine, the number of products you wish to offer and the frequency of refilling as per the demand. Maybe your audience is digitally savvy, in which case, smart vending machines powered by Venedekin that accept contactless and digital payments work best.

4) Explore potential location:

The location of your food vending machines in India can play a huge role in the success of your business. Find areas with high foot traffic and demand for your products. You can consider places like office buildings, schools, hospitals or transportation hubs that can boost your company's visibility and revenue.

5) Analyse competition:

To stand out in the market, it is crucial to conduct research on existing vending machine presence in the target area. Determine their strengths, weaknesses, pricing policies and product offerings of the current vending operations. This will help you identify market gaps that your vending machine can fill, giving you a competitive edge.

Factors to Consider for Vending Machine Product Selection

To select the right products for your vending machine, consider the following factors.

1) Shelf life and perishability:

Opt for products with a longer shelf life to avoid spoilage and reduce the possibility of unused inventory. If your vending machine lacks temperature control capabilities, it is advisable to avoid perishable food items or those with short expiration dates.

2) Pricing and profitability:

Assess the costs and potential profit margins of the products you choose. Consider factors such as markups, wholesale prices and the selling price that your target audience is willing to pay. Strike a balance between affordability and profitability is the key.

3) Variety and customisation:

To cater to diverse consumer tastes, offer a wide range of products. Think of including options for people with certain dietary needs or preferences, such as vegan or gluten-free snacks.

Legal and Regulatory Considerations for Vending Machines

Compliance with legal and regulatory considerations is crucial before commencing your vending machine business startup in India. Here are some key considerations:

Licence, permits and certifications

  1. FSSAI Licence: Any business involving food, including vending machines, must have a licence from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). This specific licence depends on the size and type of your business. It is essential to consult the local FSSAI office or refer to their website before starting your vending machine business.

  2. Permissions from local municipal corporations: Each location may have specific permits or licences required to run a vending machine business. Contactthe local municipal corporation or the relevant urban local body to obtain information about specific requirements.

Product Labelling

A vending machine business also needs to comply with FSSAI's regulations for product labelling. It is important to ensure your products display accurate information about the ingredients, nutritional content, allergies and the manufacturing/packaging processes.

An illustration of a certificate
Necessary certifications are required for food vending machines

Fire safety certificate

By acquiring a fire safety certificate from the relevant authorities, you may ensure that fire safety standards are being followed. This is crucial if your vending machine business is located in a building or other enclosed area.


Safety of vending machine data is important in the case of smart vending machines as they collect data from the user and from the transaction. This requires checking and complying with local regulations.

While this might seem like too much, with Vendekin-powered vending machines, you have a knowledgeable team by your side guiding you through all the above.

Vending Machine Operations Management

Effectively operating and managing a vending machine business involves several functions, right from managing stocks to keeping the vending machine running in top shape. Here are some of the main ones:

Inventory management

  • Optimising inventory levels: To prevent stockouts or having too much inventory, keep an eye on inventory levels frequently. Utilise an automated restocking notification system and a vending management system like vNetra to keep track of sales and inventory.

  • Minimising waste: Review and adjust product mix regularly to eliminate slow-selling items and focus on popular products. Monitor expiration dates to prevent wastage.

Maintenance and repairs

  • Regular inspections: To keep the vending machine in its best condition, examine vending machines regularly. Inspect electrical connections, refrigeration units (if applicable), coin mechanisms / note validators and QR codes.

  • Prompt repairs: Address any issues of malfunctions promptly. Train your staff or work with technicians to efficiently handle repairs and minimise machine downtime. For Vendekin-powered smart machines, this can be taken care of by our team.

  • Cleanliness and hygiene: Regularly clean and sanitise the vending machines, internally and externally.

Cash collection and security

  • Scheduled cash collection: This is for the cash and coin-operated vending machines. Avoid accumulating cash and reduce the risk of theft by establishing a regular schedule for taking money from the vending machines.

  • Security measures: To prevent theft or vandalism, install security cameras or alarms next to the vending machines. Use machines that have security measures already built in, such as stronger locks or anti-tamper mechanisms.

Marketing and Promotions

After you have selected the right food vending machine and the perfect location for your business, you need to follow a strategic approach to reach and engage your target audience effectively. Consider the following approach:

  1. Build an online presence: Create a user-friendly website for your food vending machine that has your company logo, name and USP that sets you apart from your competitors. Or you can opt for a company that provides white labelled solutions for vending machines.

  2. Utilise social media: Create and share visually appealing content of your business on popular social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. To increase followers and engagement run contests, and giveaways for your audience.

  3. Offer promotional deals: Offer special deals, discounts, or loyalty programmes that bring in customers. For instance, provide a free item after a particular number of purchases or special discounts to loyal consumers.

  4. Collect customer reviews: Customers should be encouraged to leave comments and reviews on your website or social media pages. Share positive comments and recommendations on your social media to increase trust and bring in new clients.

A girl and a feedback concept images around her
Positive customer reviews increase trust

In conclusion

Food vending machines are here to stay, meeting our need for quick and convenient solutions, whether you're a business owner or a customer. You may take advantage of this rewarding business opportunity by becoming more aware of the industry, choosing the appropriate vending machines and collaborating with trustworthy vending solution providers like Vendekin.

How can Vendekin help?

Vendekin means vending in India. Right from sourcing vending machines, to customising them to providing vending machine software with real-time inventory tracking and data analytics tools, to grow your vending machine business. To learn more about how Vendekin can help your business and all your other unattended retail questions, contact us on or give us a call at +91 9555712713.


Can I put a food vending machine anywhere in India?

Technically, a vending machine can be placed anywhere. However, both private and public locations require approval from the relevant authorities.

Is Vending machine business taxable?

What is the USP of hot food vending machines?

How do I pay for hot food vending machines in India?

What are the documents required to get a basic FSSAI licence for the business?


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