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Picture a self-serviced supermarket, designed with custom micro market vending machines, coffee stations, fresh food fridges, and enticing confectionery stands. Micro markets cater to the needs of busy business locations, particularly those with 100 or more staff members, seeking round-the-clock convenience for both their employees and customers. Being made to fit any workspace and location size means they go above and beyond traditional vending machines, canteens, and other catering options, by offering a diverse range of refreshments that can be enjoyed on the go.

Micro markets have truly transformed the concept of snacking and lunch breaks, plus in the UK alone we have even seen a remarkable surge in the popularity of micro markets. A reported 480 micro markets have been installed across the UK, with a considerable 17% increase since 2021, according to Vending International. The upward trend highlights the growing trend for having a convenient shopping experience, onsite.

Thanks to rapid technological advancements in the vending industry, managing and maintaining a micro market has never been easier. With the power of self-service and contactless vending machine payments, you gain the flexibility to effortlessly maintain your micro market vending machines and smart fridges without the need for onsite staff or handling cash payments. It’s a seamless experience designed to enhance accessibility for all.

Read on, for our full guide to micro markets in this blog. We uncover the benefits of having a micro market, its diverse product selections, safeguarding security, and the comparison between micro markets and traditional vending machines.

What is a micro market?

Micro markets are a small scale, self-serviced retail environment that offers a variety of snacks and refreshments. With a fully bespoke market designed to fit your breakroom space, they can also be uniquely designed to meet your branding guidelines and suit the interiors of your office or business location. In today’s dynamic work environment, where collaboration spaces double as relaxation zones, having the right amenities is crucial. Consider enhancing your breakroom with functional micro markets with integrated office coffee machines. They ensure that your team stays energized and focused throughout the day.

Micro markets vs contracted catering

Being able to offer your employees easy access to a good range of hot beverages and food is a critical component of any larger workplace and enterprise business. With hybrid working at its peak, it’s understandable that many employers will be revising their facilities within the workplace for more practical and cost effective solutions.

For some workplaces, particularly those with set working shifts, a contracted catering service may seem like the most appropriate solution for simultaneously catering to a number of people during certain periods of the day such as breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whilst this might be one option, the modern workplace is changing, and not just as a result of remote working coming into play.

A contract caterer is a catering option for your business that provides catering services on site for your employees and site visitors, requiring catering staff and chefs to be available each day on your premises which can often be a costly catering option for businesses. Meanwhile, a canteen micro market is a totally self serviced option allowing your team to select and pay for items themselves using its micro market kiosks at any time of the day, whilst your vending provider attends your site to fulfil its stock 1- 2 times per week depending on the size of the micro market. In comparison, micro market vending is a highly cost-effective option whilst being accessible to your team at all times of the day

The key benefit of having an onsite micro market means your staff and its customers can always have refreshments available. Micro markets can be located in various settings such as hospitals, universities, office buildings, and shared office spaces. Making this the ideal solution for businesses who operate 24/7 and need easy access to a variety of snacks and refreshments.

Micro market breakrooms are easily maintained and managed as they take self-serviced, contactless payments and your vending provider will often support a fully managed solution to restock and maintain your machines onsite.

With mental health and wellbeing in the workplace being at the forefront of most company cultures, a micro market promotes regular breaks, healthy coworking relationships, and addresses the need for convenience and flexibility. Fuel your employees to make nourishing choices by offering a selection of healthy food options available to buy onsite. This fosters a positive work-life balance and enhances productivity within your business whilst fostering a positive social atmosphere. Embrace the convenience, flexibility, and wellbeing benefits of having a micro market to create a more vibrant and motivated workplace culture.


The benefits of installing an office micro market

There are many benefits to introducing a micro market in the workplace, for example it can fuel your team, improve your company culture to boost team morale and promote workplace wellbeing.

The sole purpose of a micro market is to ensure your team are fuelled and re-energised when they need to be and at any time of the day. A micro market can provide refreshments for all mealtimes and breaks, including hot and cold beverages, snacks, hot meals, fresh food such as sandwiches (we’ll take you through its diverse product selections later on). Keeping your team energised and productivity levels at the top of their game.

A recent survey from Staples, discovered that 81% of workers say their office space has an impact on their mental health. By investing in a breakroom for your team, it will allow them to have space to socialise, eat their meals and take regular breaks – and for workplaces that require shift work or longer opening hours – a micro market allows the convenience to choose from a great selection of refreshments and a comfortable environment to relax in, without having to leave the premises.


Convenience & flexibility

Having a micro market onsite offers many convenience and flexibility benefits that enhance the overall employee experience. These compact markets seamlessly combine the best features of vending machines and convenience stores, providing a quick and self-serviced experience for employees.

With a wide variety of snacks, beverages, and fresh food options available, employees can easily find something to suit their taste preferences and dietary needs. Unlike traditional vending machines, micro markets offer a broader selection, including healthier choices, speciality items, and even locally sourced, sustainably conscious products.

They are accessible 24/7, allowing employees to make purchases at any time that suits them, whether it’s during their lunch break, after hours, or even during odd shifts. This flexibility accommodates varying schedules and empowers employees to grab a quick bite or stock up on essentials whenever they need to.

By welcoming the concept of a micro market, businesses demonstrate a heartfelt commitment to their employees’ wellbeing, convenience, and satisfaction. This self-serviced and accessible shopping experience contributes to a nurturing workplace environment, fostering a sense of autonomy and convenience that truly cares for the needs of employees and ultimately will improve employee retention rates.

Diverse product selections

At Vending Sense, we take pride in working alongside some of the nation’s top healthy vending snack brands, including Kind, Propercorn, Huel, Grenade, Nakd, Eat Real, and MoMa, to curate a range of nutritious options for your micro market. In addition to a variety of nutritious snacks, we provide both cold meal options and the convenience of hot meals that can be easily heated up within the micro market’s facilities, ensuring that your employees have satisfying and nourishing choices for any time of the day. By offering these renowned brands, we aim to encourage healthy eating habits in the workplace and support your employees’ wellbeing.

Our partnership with these esteemed brands ensures that your micro market is stocked with a diverse selection of wholesome refreshments. From satisfying protein bars and cold drinks and delectable fruit and nut mixes to nourishing meal replacements and guilt-free popcorn, we strive to provide options that cater to various dietary preferences and restrictions.

Self-serviced payments

Micro markets take convenience to next level, by introducing self-serviced payments making your team’s purchase experience super streamlined. Offering a range of easy and secure payment options to ensure an efficient transaction process without the need for extra staff to manage the micro market onsite.

To simplify payments, we provide automatically topped-up account cards that can be easily linked to your team members’ profiles. With these cards, your employees can make purchases swiftly and effortlessly. In fact, we’ve even integrated a fingerprint payment option, allowing your team to pay with a simple touch. We also understand the importance of mobile convenience, which is why we’ve enabled pay-by-phone functionality for those who prefer using their smartphones.

Our touch screen self-checkout counters are designed for speedy and contactless payments. You can make purchases with a simple tap of your contactless card or phone, providing a fast and hassle-free experience for those on the go.

With our self-serviced payment options, you can enjoy the utmost convenience, efficient transactions, and a streamlined process. Say goodbye to long queues and hello to quick, easy, and secure payments that enhance your micro market experience.

Increased productivity & morale

Micro markets in the workplace are more than just a convenient snack solution—they are a powerful tool for increasing productivity and boosting morale in the workplace. By providing employees with easy access to a variety of refreshments and meal options, micro markets encourage regular breaks, which in turn enhances productivity, reduces the risk of burnout, and minimizes workload-related stress.

According to The Tork Survey, an astounding 78% of workers agree that taking a lunch break away from their desks improves their job performance. Micro markets facilitate this positive behaviour by offering a welcoming space where employees can step away from their workstations and enjoy a well-deserved break. By encouraging employees to prioritize self-care and relaxation during their breaks, micro markets contribute to a happier workforce.

By promoting regular breaks and providing a range of choices, micro markets become catalysts for a more engaged and motivated workforce. When employees feel supported in their well-being, their morale soars, creating a positive work environment that fuels success, job satisfaction and fosters a sense of culture among employees.

Micro market vs vending machines

So, what is the difference between a micro market and a vending machine? The differences between leasing a vending machine and opting for a micro market solution is that a vending machine is a standalone unit designed to offer convenient access to snacks and beverages, primarily catering to smaller businesses and breakrooms. On the other hand, a micro market provides a company branded, supermarket-style setup that operates round the clock and accommodates a diverse range of machines. This expanded offering allows for greater catering options on-site and serves as a more manageable alternative to in-house catering services.

Vending machines are a great solution, whether you’re looking for an office vending machine to provide an easy and efficient way to offer smaller teams of under 100 employees refreshments on the go or looking to improve the experience of the smaller communal areas of your business.

Micro markets cover a wider range of refreshments for teams that need more substantial meal options and a greater selection of food and drinks. We recommend businesses with over 100 employees are best suited for a micro market solution, especially if their facilities are open for long periods of time or are running 24 hours a day.

Ensuring security in micro markets

With all investments, there are logical risks that go into running a micro market that you will need to take into account and implement preventions where necessary.

The main risk to consider with a micro market is to ensure that your location has the necessary security measures it needs. To reduce the risk of theft we always ensure that your market is being fitted in a secure location such as an office building, hospital, university, or a manufacturing facility as these locations tend to utilise security cameras, have building management and are in a location that is not open to the public on a large scale.

There are also a few marketing materials that are useful to implement in the build process of your micro market. Such as signage to indicate where the self-checkout station is located, which will in turn help customers to understand they need to pay for their items.

Here at Vending Sense, we utilise an intelligent telemetry system called Nayax to monitor your sales within the micro market as well as inventory levels. Our team of experts that attend your site to restock and maintain your micro market will also keep a close eye to understand if there are any issues to address.

Keeping a close eye on gaps within your sales and inventory levels can also help you to decide whether you need to increase your pricing to fill any profit barriers. Research from Nayax suggest that you can experience around 2-4% theft, depending on their location type so we recommend increasing your prices to sustain a healthy profit.

Tailor-made micro market vending solutions

Here at Vending Sense, we offer the entire solution for businesses seeking a customised micro market that seamlessly blends into their office or workplace environment. With our expertise and attention to detail, we can tailor-make a micro market that not only meets your specific needs but also proudly showcases your brand. Whether you have a small area or a larger breakroom space to fill, our micro markets are designed to fit any area.

What sets Vending Sense apart is our commitment to constantly improve the micro market experience. We understand that preferences change over time, and that’s why we offer the flexibility to switch up the products supply in your micro market regularly. Our dedicated Vending Sense team leverages intelligent telemetry to analyse purchase trends and recommend changes to optimize the overall experience. By replacing products that may not be selling as well with new and exciting options, we ensure that your micro market stays fresh, enticing, and aligned with the evolving tastes and preferences of your employees.

At Vending Sense, we are also passionate about working in conjunction with Natasha’s Law. Only providing products that strictly meet transparent food labelling on prepackaged foods to meet high safety standards, giving you and your team peace of mind knowing everything is in full compliance.

Choosing us as your partner, you can rest assured that your micro market will not only provide a wide range of healthy choices but also evolve to meet the needs of your employees. Together, we can create a workplace environment that motivates and empowers your team to make nutritious choices and embrace a healthier lifestyle.

Get in touch with our friendly team of experts to find out more about our micro market services.

You can read about our remarkable case study with The London Fire Brigade here. We collaborated closely with them to create a one-of-a-kind micro market that was 95% plastic-free and sustainable, resulting in astonishing savings of over £1,000,000 across five years in catering costs. What’s even more impressive is, we accomplished this new addition within a mere two-month timeframe. It’s clear that our micro markets are not only efficient but also have a positive impact on your bottom line.

How do you start a micro market? At Vending Sense, we go beyond being mere providers – we become your partners in creating the perfect micro market experience. From design and construction to full management and maintenance, we take care of every aspect, ensuring a hassle-free and seamless implementation. With us, you can rest assured that your micro market will be expertly handled with utmost care and attention.


So, why wait? Don’t miss out on the opportunity to revolutionize your workplace with a tailored micro market vending service that offers convenience, sustainability, and substantial savings. To embark on this exciting journey with Vending Sense, simply reach out to our dedicated team by filling out the enquiry form here. Let’s create an extraordinary micro market experience together.