Zuply’s dispensing systems are catching on enormously in Belgium. This is mainly thanks to importer Hanot Vending, which sells, rents and leases the smart vending machines. ‘We have already supplied almost a hundred of them,’ says Jonas Hanot. ‘Especially in the food market, this is a real growth market. After West and East Flanders, unmanned outlets are now also on the rise in Antwerp and Limburg. With Covid-19, things are moving even faster, as people prefer contactless shopping for safety reasons.’

Hanot Vending, based in Oelegem (near Antwerp), is a family-owned company offering total solutions for unmanned food sales and dispensing. ‘We have everything for smart vending. Not just the vending machines, but also payment systems and telemetry.’

Jonas runs the company together with Jeroen and their father Wilfried. Innovation is a key driver for them. ‘We also recognize that at Innovend. For example, the way you can manage stock and sales online.’

LockBlox solutions

The partnership with Innovend came about in late 2018, when Hanot Vending received a request from a customer for a locker system where customers could also collect orders. ‘Zuply provided an answer to that with their LockBlox solutions. When you place an order online, the products are prepared in a locker. With a code, you can pick them up at a self-selected time and take them out of the right locker. Soon, via a website or app, you can also see what stock levels are in the unmanned shop and reserve specific items.’

Total concept

The unmanned outlets are a great success in Belgium. Jonas knows why: ‘It’s the combination of impulse sales and the possibility of ordering. With the Zuply solutions, you can do both. It starts with a touchscreen, and you can connect various lockers to that, payment and ordering systems and so compile a total concept.’

Hanot thus helps food companies offering their own products, but also entrepreneurs who use it to facilitate other companies. They rent their outlets to several suppliers and thus present a wider range of products.

Butchers and caterers

Jonas gives an example of both target groups. ‘We see that vending machines are sought after by butchers and caterers. They choose them because a standard shop requires a relatively large number of staff. Wage costs are a real bottleneck for small and medium-sized businesses in Belgium An unmanned shop not only ensures a higher return by saving on that, but the customer service increases as well because customers can go there seven days a week, even outside normal opening hours.’

In Zwevegem, the owners of a bistro (De Waterkant) and a patisserie (Tartine Gourmande) joined forces. With Foodlocker, they introduced a new concept in March 2021. Compiled by Zuply, the vending shop offers a wide range of bread, patisserie, toppings, fish and meat as well as ready-made freshly prepared dishes. ‘With several courses: soup, main course and dessert. So a complete meal.’

Vending store with local products

In Tielt, the owners of a sauna complex – closed by corona measures – have set up a new company: Gilltumn Vending Store. In February 2021 an unmanned point of sale of  Hanot Vending and Zuply was put into place on their car park, in the form of  a customized container unit, where local producers and traders can sell their fresh local products. It has been a great success. The initiators already have plans to roll out their vending concept to neighbouring municipalities.

‘Every time, you have to deal with specific wishes and circumstances,’ Jonas explains. ‘We respond to that. Together with the people from Innovend. They respond very well to the feedback they get from the market. We translate customers’ questions to Innovend and they then develop adaptations or completely new solutions. They are always easy to reach and respond quickly. It feels like we are one team, one family.’

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