Healthy Snack Vending Machine in Klang Valley
Most of the snacks sold in convenience stores tend to contain high levels of sugar, sodium, or fat. I’ve had my fair share of sugar-cut times where the best solution was to not buy anything sweet. After all, out of sight, out of mind.
But Geoffrey (Geoff) and Heywood had a different take on it. While on vacation in Chalong, Phuket, gym goers were impressed with the healthy snack options, from keto coffee to protein smoothies and milkshakes.
Plus, something as simple as a frozen yogurt store would print the nutritional details of every item on their menu for their protein, carbohydrate, and fat levels.
They thought, âThere must be some convenient way to bring these healthy snacks and drinks home. Why did we have to order online, wait weeks and pay ridiculous shipping costs? “
This is how the idea came about to found a vending machine company offering healthy and nutritional snacks, under the name myFITBOX.
Fly with the plane
In 2 days, Geoff and Heywood drafted their marketing plans including the myFITBOX logo on the flight home from Phuket. Then it was about contacting the food brands they liked, talking to gym owners they knew and, of course, the vending companies.
âTo be very honest, we didn’t think too much about it or do our homework when we started the business! In hindsight, it was probably better that way by first seizing the opportunity and then figuring out how to do it later, âGeoff told Vulcan Post of their validation to the market.
myFITBOX first gained traction in January 2020 in a gym, as its team already had ties to the fitness community. With its increasing adoption rate, they started to receive applications from other sectors like shopping malls, international schools and sports complexes.
âFor example, the founder of Oasis International School heard our interview on the radio and wanted to provide functional and healthy snacks to the students at his school,â Geoff recalls. Timing was also added, as the opportunity was in line with the founders’ intention to expand the myFITBOX network beyond the fitness community.
While myFITBOX has variable agreements with the fees required to operate in different premises, the business primarily operates on a profit-sharing basis with the locations.
In addition to providing access to healthy snacks for customers, the profit-sharing model allows locals to generate secondary income to cover the costs of the machine, but we’ll get to that later.
Taste everything to test
Customers can find locally made and globally recognized brands such as Myprotein, Grenade and Barebells at myFITBOX vending machines. The duo noted that their snack-checking process is their favorite part of the job – taste to test everything.
New brands are discovered through their own shopping sprees, customer suggestions or brands that contact them for R&D purposes.
âWhat’s more important for us is to test the products and carefully study the nutritional facts. We deal with the authorized distributors or the manufacturers themselves to make sure that these are genuine products, âthey explained.
If necessary, the team will even send the products for lab testing to confirm that all ingredients and nutritional facts are as listed.
myFITBOX processes its brands through 3 methods: direct purchases, shipments and machine lists.
For direct purchases, the team buys the products wholesale and marks their prices based on their judgment on the appropriate value of the products. While for shipments, suppliers are only paid after the sale of their products.
Brands that go through the auto-listing method are charged a listing fee based on where they are placed in the vending machines. This means that brands can choose how many columns they occupy in the machine and on which row they are placed. This method can attract more revenue if placed strategically, usually at eye level.
An autonomous machine
As mentioned, while vending machines can be a side income for businesses, having one always requires investment. Electricity costs for a vending machine can also vary between RM90 and RM100 per month, as it uses LED lights and a cooling system.
Geoff also noted that vending machines can be costly and operationally cumbersome, taking into account maintenance costs and labor to fix its malfunctions. However, it is grateful to report that the revenues generated by each myFITBOX unit are generally sufficient to cover its maintenance costs over a period of 1 to 2 years.
Although the majority of the machines in myFITBOX are currently offline, the units in the shopping centers are still operational as people are still going to the supermarkets. Meanwhile, the company’s online sales through its website, Grab Mart, Shopee and Lazada are currently helping it weather waves of uncertainty amid OLS.
Maybe just keeping your head above water is an understatement. The team shared that myFITBOX is now profitable thanks to strong growth in online sales and careful management of operational costs.
Under normal circumstances, their 30 vending machines around Klang Valley would generate an average of RM2,000-2,500 per month, excluding online sales.
“We have purchased more machines to deploy as soon as the restrictions are lifted and we are still on track to meet our target of 200 machines by the end of 2023,” said Geoff, who added he would like extend to other Malaysians. states too.
The team’s long-term goal is to also produce a wide range of myFITBOX-specific products. It will best appeal to those around the world who appreciate healthier snack and beverage alternatives.
- You can read more about myFITBOX here.
- You can read more about other Malaysian startups here.
Image Credit Featured: Heywood (left) and Geoffry (right), co-founders of myFITBOX