Location, location, location. It’s the supposed foundation and motto of so many different businesses, and for good reason; various things in life are attributed to being in the right place at the right time, being able to predict the first part has proven to guarantee less effort in realizing one’s profit potential. This fact proves exceptionally important in the food service industry as a whole, not just the vending machine game.

Vending Machine Location Ideas 

There are plenty of locations that vending machines have simply become a natural fit, for one reason or another. You’ll DEFINITELY want to start looking into these, especially if dealing with the standard style food vending machines.

Shopping Malls

If you want to set up a vending machine and make a quick income, a mall is the perfect place. The phrase “shopping mall” refers to a type of retail area or shopping district wherein one or perhaps more facilities form a complex of stores with connecting walkways, typically indoors. This type of shopping plaza or shopping district is mostly North American in origin.

It’s interesting to note that there are a number of malls that are open to the idea of installing vending machines within their buildings. Make sure you are aware of the types of items that people would most like to purchase from a vending machine prior to moving forward with installing one in a shopping mall. Tickets for a movie, a raffle, or other events may be offered.

You could sell healthy snacks in a vending machine.

Community Centers

Community halls, community centers, and other similar names are open spaces where locals frequently congregate for socializing, participating in group activities, learn about local issues, and other activities. Occasionally, they might be accessible to the entire community or only to a specific niche of the larger community. Youth clubs are an example of a secular community center. Community centers can be of a religious or secular nature.

Given the probability of good foot traffic among the community members, a community center can be a great idea to put up a vending machine. It is advisable to take note of studying your prospective market such as age range, gender, or even religious affiliation in order to put the right products into your vending machine.


One of the best spots is inside a school. When you have vending machines that discharge refrigerated bottles of soda and energy drinks, ice cream, snacks like corn and potato chips, salted and roasted peanuts, pretzels, hot dogs, sausage, nut butter, popcorn, and other similar snacks, and of course materials like jigsaw puzzles, educational CDs and DVDs, learning pads, storybooks, educational video games, etc., this is one of your best locations.

Due to the fact that students use vending machines more than other people, it is simpler to find various vending machines within and outside of educational institutions, particularly in high schools, colleges, and universities.

Car Repair/Dealerships

At vehicle dealerships, the typical customer spends roughly 3.6 hours. In addition, the majority of dealerships include service departments where vehicles can be fixed, a process that can take a few hours or longer. Consequently, not only do their clients look at the vending machine for food, but also their staff. Therefore, these locations may be the highest-grossing ones for your venture.

Movie Theaters

If you want to maximize income from your vending machine venture, movie theaters and theaters are among the best places to install vending machines. One would always notice vending machines selling popcorn, drinks, snacks, ice cream, and sometimes even movie tickets among other things because people go to theaters not just to see movies but also to have amusement. Therefore, if you are thinking of creating a business of vending machines that will sell any of the listed things, you can speak with the administrators of a theater in your community.

Office Break Rooms/Common Areas

During the course of the workday, workers feel hunger and thirst. Vending machines in break rooms at work can be a positive for staff members since it offers them alternative options for a fast snack anytime they feel the urge to do so. There ought to be two vending machines in each of these rooms. There is one that sells food, while the other sells beverages. Secondly, one that is practical for workers who don’t carry their own snacks, drinks, or lunch.


Vending machine installation in hospital lobbies is happening at a remarkable rate, which can only mean one thing: it’s a lucrative business. Hence, you should think about placing your vending machine in hospital halls if you’re looking for some of the top vending machine location ideas. In addition to being a venue that welcomes visitors frequently, it is also one that is well-secured. Please be aware that this kind of setting is perfect for vending machines that sell things like bottled water, energy drinks, ice cream, pretzels, corn chips, and other snacks like salted and roasted nuts.

Hotel/Bank Lobbies

A hotel lobby is yet another excellent and lucrative site to put in a vending machine. If you wish to partner with someone to place a vending machine in your hotel lobby, rest assured, there are several hotels that will do so.

While finding a vending machine at a hotel is difficult, you can’t discount the possibility that it is profitable, especially if the hotel receives frequent patronage. In the lobby of hotels, you can frequently find vending machines that sell things like cigarettes, magazines, periodicals, cosmetics, and beauty care stuff.

Banks, on the other hand, have fast-paced food traffic. Numerous transactions are constantly being made by people. Additionally, the time it takes to complete these transactions varies. Thus, hunger is a response. It’s fortunate that a vending machine is located outside. Banking institutions are hence a good location for your unit. You can make money not just from the clients but also from the bank staff.

Ice Cream Shops

Once people feel the hot/sunny weather, they usually visit an ice cream shop to cool down. Given the erratic weather patterns, thanks to climate change, there have been recorded very hot days more often with some even causing wildfires across the west. As such, an ice cream shop can be considered a high-foot-traffic establishment where you can place your vending machine venture.

two scoops

Two scoops of ice cream.

Since the shop already offers ice cream as its primary product, you may want to consider putting in a refreshments vending machine since most probably an ice cream shop won’t offer many beverages inside their shop. Other than offering bottled pure drinking water, you may also consider offering other refreshments such as carbonated drinks, energy drinks, or other healthy substitutes.


Many vending machines that sell a variety of goods have been placed around airport facilities, which you’ll see if you travel through an airport. This indicates that the ideal vending machine locations for instant profit are airports.

The most common vending machines in airports are those that sell newspapers and magazines, despite the fact that there are other sorts as well. An automated teller machine (ATM) that dispenses newspapers and magazines is known as a newspaper and magazine ATM.


Why install a vending machine at a restaurant, some people may wonder. Well, you never know, some of your workers might be interested in using it. The option of purchasing other beverages for the trip home is also available to customers. Just pay attention to items you put in the dispenser that can conflict with the menu.

However, the same may be stated about an internet café. A good place to install a vending machine is at a cybercafé or internet café. Public Internet connection is offered by a cyber café, often for a cost. It’s interesting to note that a cybercafé facility can accommodate a variety of vending machines, but this kind of setting is most suited for putting machines that dispense publications, magazines, refreshments, desserts, and snack items.

Escape Room Facility

An escape room facility would be another great place for a vending machine that has the potential to make a profit for the business.

An escape room is a type of game that places a team of players in a closed area or room and gives them a set amount of time, generally 60 minutes, to locate clues, solve riddles, and participate in other activities. Vending machines that offer publications, newspapers, sodas, bottled water, energy drinks, desserts, and snacks are perfect for this kind of setting.

Train Station

Train stations have a number of vending machines that sell a variety of goods, as you will see if you pass by one. This confirms that one of the finest choices for vending machine locations is train stations.

Airports include a variety of vending machines, but the most common ones are the ones that sell magazines and daily newspapers. A machine specifically made to dispense newspapers and magazines is known as a newspaper rack or a newspaper and magazine vending machine.

Playgrounds and Parks

In and around your city, there are a number of parks and playgrounds with a small number of vending machines. Consider placing your vending machines near and within parks and playgrounds if you’re searching to find some of the top vending machine location ideas for speedy income. Just make sure the playgrounds and parks are popular places to go, and that the location is secure and suitable for your vending machines.


If you’re looking for a profitable site, a gaming establishment is yet another advantageous place to deploy a vending machine. A casino is a place where specific sorts of gambling activities are conducted, and these establishments are frequently built next to or in conjunction with other tourist attractions including hotels, dining establishments, entertainment venues, retail stores, cruise ships, and so on. When individuals go to casinos, they typically purchase snacks, water, carbonated beverages, and even local papers. This makes a location like that perfect for deploying a vending machine.

Electric Vehicle Charging Station

Another great place to put in a vending machine is a place where electric vehicles can charge. An electric vehicle charging station, also known as an EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment), is a component of the infrastructure that provides electrical power for the recharging of electric vehicles. Other names for these stations include electric recharging points, charging points, charge points, and EVSE. Please take note that this type of place is open to all different kinds of vending machines that offer different items in addition to drinks and snacks.


Motels are an ideal location for vending machines due to their high visibility and accessibility. Most motels have a lobby area where guests congregate, making it the perfect spot to place a vending machine. Furthermore, since most motel lobbies are open 24/7, they provide increased potential for customers who want snacks or drinks at all hours of the day. This makes them an excellent choice for those looking to increase profits through vending machines sales.

Placing quality machines with a variety of items in key areas of the motel can help draw more business for both the motel and the vending machine owner. Not only will guests appreciate having options available at any time, but motel owners can benefit from additional income from commission fees on sales generated from the machines.

Most hotels and motels use vending machines to better serve guests.

Laundry Rooms and Laundromats

For business owners, a laundry room or laundromat can be an ideal location for vending machines. By stocking popular items such as snacks, beverages, and other convenience items, operators can benefit from the steady stream of customers that frequent these establishments. Even better, because patrons are likely to visit multiple times in a short period of time (to do their laundry), they may be more likely to make additional purchases.

Moreover, most modern laundromats offer amenities such as high-speed washers and dryers and seating areas with TVs where customers can relax while their clothes are washing. This provides an excellent opportunity for operators to showcase their vending machine offerings by strategically placing them throughout the facility where they will be seen by all who enter the shop.


Campgrounds can be a great vending machine location for entrepreneurs. With the growing popularity of outdoor recreation, there are more and more people visiting campgrounds each year. This means that owners of vending machines can capitalize on the influx of customers by setting up their machines in these locations. The best part is that campgrounds tend to have long-term visitors who may use the same vending machine multiple times throughout their stay – so you can benefit from repeat business as well. And if you select a popular campsite that gets visited often by people who love the outdoors and enjoy spending time in nature, then you could be sure of a steady stream of customers throughout the season. This is especially true for campgrounds located near tourist attractions; visitors are likely to need refreshments when exploring these beautiful places.

Car Dealerships

Car dealerships are the perfect spot to set up a vending machine and create a profitable business. After all, they’re already full of customers who are looking for an easy way to buy snacks or drinks while they wait for their vehicle service. Plus, car dealerships usually have high-traffic areas like reception desks and waiting rooms, making it even easier for customers to find your vending machine. With many different types of vending machines available on the market today, you can stock whatever products you think your customers will be interested in — from chips and candy to healthy food options. You can even offer special promotional items or deals that change regularly, such as discounts on certain snack varieties or free product samples.

College Dorms

When it comes to finding profitable vending machine locations, college dorms are a no-brainer. With thousands of students living in close quarters, the demand for snacks and drinks is high. Plus, since dormitories tend to have limited access—being locked or guarded at all times—operating expenses can be kept to a minimum. And with hungry people always on the hunt for something quick and easy to eat or drink, installing a vending machine in college dorms has proven time and again to be an incredibly successful venture. So if you’re looking for somewhere that’ll give your business a big boost, consider putting your machines in college dorms, you’ll surely won’t regret it.

Government Buildings

Government buildings are an ideal spot for vending machines because they tend to be busy places with a large number of people coming and going throughout the day. Government employees, visitors, and contractors come for business or services, creating a pool of potential customers that have a need for food and drinks. This can translate into increased sales for vending machine operators looking to make a profit from their machines. Furthermore, government buildings are generally secure locations with limited access; meaning there is less chance of theft or vandalism compared to other public spaces. This makes them an attractive option to those seeking reliable and safe locations for their vending operations. Ultimately, government buildings offer a great opportunity to generate additional revenue by providing convenient access to snack foods, beverages, and other goods.

Fitness Centers

Fitness centers are also great places to put vending machines. Whether its members looking for a quick snack between sets or customers getting a post-workout energy boost, it’s likely that your vending machine will be popular in these locations. Of course, the type of items you offer should match the environment – think healthy drinks and snacks such as protein bars and sports drinks rather than chips or candy bars. It’s also important to make sure your products fit within any dietary restrictions specific to the gym’s members, if applicable. Providing top-of-the-line machines with modern payment options will ensure that everyone is encouraged to buy from you.

Pro Tip: Need more help on building a vending machine route? Check out this article at VendingHow.com on the topic. 

What to Look for in a vending machine route

As many different possibilities as these popular spots present, sooner or later the list of local options in these categories will run out, likely getting help from having to cross off spots that either

  • A: don’t fit YOUR specific product/machine
  • B: are already being used by others with no room or desire to add another.

From this point you’ll have to start looking for different, unique, and alternative spots on your own, figuring out new possibilities to expand the business beyond the norm. Then again, if you’re already starting with a unique-product vending machine or other development, this is what you probably will have done (and SHOULD) do from the start.

When it comes to figuring out potential businesses and areas in your local/region/state to look into, there are two main avenues to take into consideration: Places people go to Spend Money, and places people go and are Forced to Wait/Stay around in.


Soda vending machines.

Many of the popular places listed above can be considered a combination of these two, but the former is particularly expressed in the Mall Example. Not to mention quite a few vending machines have proven success when placed outside; much like the various drink machines seen through big cities like New York and throughout Japan. Look into busy Downtown City sidewalks as a first step into possible avenues, making sure to pay attention to their regulations and who specifically owns which pieces of land; of course, it’s imperative to study which streets are walked the most.

Speaking of outdoors, Bus Stops usually offer themselves as another distinctive possibility, falling into the latter ‘forced to wait’ category for customers. Multiple places of business will draw the need for customers to hang around for a certain period of time, so don’t be afraid to look into avenues that have yet to be considered. Why not consider something small for busy hair and beauty salons? Or, instead of a gym, something placed in the instruction area for sports/activity businesses like rock climbing and paintball? Heck, vending machines have found success when placing the right ones in restaurants and supermarkets, of all places, so who knows where else they can go?

Reach for the possibilities unconsidered, and with luck and skill, revolutionizing your business through your own model can launch this vending business to success. At the very least, you’ll have found a good place to start out!

Vending Location Agreements

Once you’ve found some promising locations, you’ll want to go about a few important steps, not to mention taking some other things in mind.

  • Approach the business contact/manager to actually ask about placing the machine (we’ll discuss Pitch in the following chapter)
  • Be prepared to offer a Commission (or percentage of proceeds to offer to a/their charity) along with a written document that outlines the agreement
  • Definitely MAKE SURE to offer percentage over flat fee to safeguard the chance of failed placement
  • Double check to ensure there’s actually adequate space for the MACHINE and PEOPLE in the area
  • Don’t forget to make sure there are electrical outlets to be used for the automated machines! It’s amazing these obvious details one can gloss over
  • Ask your business contact for the space which snacks/drinks/etc people there usually enjoy or have proven successful in the past

Identify Your Buyer For More Location Ideas?

When looking for ideas to launch a new business, identifying who your buyers will be is key. By figuring out who your target customer is, you can figure out what your unique selling points are, and where would be the most attractive locations for potential customers. It can also help you to create marketing strategies that will best reach those customers. Knowing who your target audience is also allows for location strategies that match up with the purchasing habits of desirable clients.

Understand what locations have high foot traffic and schedule times to adjust the product levels in your machine based on the buying patterns of customers there. You may also discover interesting promotional opportunities that will further benefit your profits and increase return customers. The more attention you pay to identifying who is using or visiting the place, the easier it will become to place and manage winning vending machines.

Research and market analysis are also essential to understanding who your buyers are and how to better serve them and meet their needs. So while it may take some extra effort and research, delving into buyer profiles could give you the competitive edge you need to get the ball rolling on your business venture in just the right location.

Should you Consider a Coffee Vending Machine?

When it comes to coffee, having convenient access is always a huge plus. It’s no secret that coffee is one of the most beloved beverages on the planet. From specialty brews to a quick pick-me-up, Americans love their coffee and often need it for a mid-day recharge.

Starting a business based around coffee vending machines can be incredibly rewarding. Not only would you be providing an easily accessible and convenient service to your customers, but they would also benefit from the customization options that many of these machines offer. By investing in quality equipment and keeping your prices competitive, you can ensure that your product stands out in a crowded market. With a little determination and research, starting a coffee vending machine business could prove to be both profitable and enjoyable!

Coffee vending machines are an affordable alternative to visiting a coffee shop.

And with the ability for you to customize it with your own branding and product mix, the coffee vending machine has quickly become one of the most popular food service solutions around. All in all, if you’re looking for convenience and efficiency when it comes to coffee, investing in a coffee vending machine could be an incredibly smart choice.

Do you need employees to operate a vending machine business?

Starting a vending machine business is a great way to create passive income. You won’t need employees at first since it is a fairly hands-off kind of business; machines will be collecting cash, taking orders, and delivering snacks — all while you sleep. However, as your route grows and you are responsible for not just one or two machines but several throughout the city, it may be beneficial to have an employee who is responsible for maintenance and ensuring the machine stay stocked.

Having a dedicated individual who can take care of things such as restocking supplies and responding to customer service inquiries can make all the difference when it comes to running a successful vending machine business

That said, having employees would mean sharing a portion of the profits with them. So if you begin with only a few machines and can manage them yourself in the beginning then that is likely the most ideal situation for many smaller businesses.

Picking the Machine for the Place (or Vice Versa)

Once you gather an idea on what locations in your area you’d like to do business in, it’s time to make specific choices. Whether you’re in operation of a veritable smorgasbord of different machine offerings, or just focus on the one, it becomes doubly important that you don’t place them in the WRONG location. Much like how you wouldn’t want to put a vending machine filled with candy and junk food in a weight loss clinic or gym, you subsequently wouldn’t want a super-healthy fruit machine at an amusement park (unless it was subsequently covered in chocolate).


Soda machines.

Whether it’s a coffee machine in a pizza shop, a frozen lunch station in a mall or some other place without an available microwave, an iphone/electronic machine in a café, or simply any machine set in a place that already sells the same product, there are certain options for placement that just don’t make any feasible sense. Will they make some sales throughout their lives there? Most possibly at one way or another, but the effort and costs of placement and product simply becomes a waste of time when one could have put the same machine in a completely different location that could have generated a notably higher sales percentage.

There’s little real trick to this, one should be able to use a very common sense logic to their decisions. We’ve already figured out that a high amount of traffic is going through the area, all we need is to consider the demographics; what kind of people are coming in most often or, more importantly, what is it that they would WANT or NEED in that location?

Is this an office break room where customers would look for a quick bag of chips or a lunch to heat up in the microwave? Or is it a full mall/shop where people are already getting their main food needs, but may be curtailed with the easy satisfaction of some candy or novelty toy for only a couple quarters? If a snack machine is placed in a Gym, fill it with products like granola bars, nuts, fruit, and other things someone working out looks to snack on instead of empty calories; subsequently, sports drink/flavored water machines would get a better reception.

It’s things like that. Just keep some of these various things in mind, and your problems of ‘location, location, location’ will just breeze away.

About the Vending Machine Consumer 

Very few people are going to travel far and outside to a remote location for a meal if they can find an amicable substitute notably closer. As a vending machine owner/operator, it is YOUR job to BE that substitute, to satisfy those cravings and needs in the there-and-then, for if anything that is THE main selling point.

People MAY travel to go to certain restaurants, after forming attachments through their various positive points, but no one will care or search out a specific snack or soda vending machine beyond total extreme circumstances (like the one-of-a-kind, special machines that make totally different food; but we’ll assume this on the everyday machine standards).

There ARE Vending Machine Location Services available, great to use for those short on time, having real issues on one’s own, or simply looking to perform mass-installments fast. Taken some time, thought, and reconnaissance of your area, however, there should be no reason why you can’t simply do the deed yourself. Not only will it save on an unneeded cost, but getting further involved with WHERE the machines are, what’s working where, and simply developing those networks with the business contacts at each location can only help make the operation a solid success in the long run.

This is part of a series of posts on the topic of starting a vending machine empire. Check out part one of our series about choosing the right type of vending machine here. 

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