December 2021 - 40

manufacturers which supply operators.
" All other foodservice industries had
Market Fresh
Year founded: 1978
Founders: Konrad and Richard
Offices: New Castle, DE, and
Bridgeton, NJ
Chief executive: Brad Whitson
President: Bradlee Whitson
Office/warehouse space:
22,000 sq.ft. (13,000 NJ
/9,000 DE)
Refurb center: Bridgeton, NJ
Service area: South Jersey,
Delaware, eastern Maryland,
Philadelphia metro area
No. of employees: 49
No. of vending machines: 1,200
No. of micro markets: 129
No. of vending routes: 16+
(dynamic intersegmental)
Fleet: 30 vehicles
Technology and equipment
providers: Avanti Markets,
Cantaloupe, Crane, Co.,
LightSpeed Automation,
USConnect, Vendors Exchange
some type of telemetry or reporting
system that allowed them to show
manufacturers what consumers were
buying, " he observed. " So, in the past,
any programs we presented to manufacturers
and operators were based on
retail or convenience store data. Thanks
to USConnect and Cantaloupe, we now
can show manufacturers what's selling
in the workplace ... this is what people
are actually eating and drinking when
they're sitting at their desks. "
And it's not just what they're eating,
Kelley pointed out, but USConnect
can provide data on what sizes
they're buying and the times of day
they're buying. " It's just very valuable
to have that information for an industry
that's expanding and changing, " he
said. " We never knew this before; we
were always going off of what people
are buying in other sales channels. "
" I've never had to work harder for
a dollar. Having bought a company
right before the Great Recession of
2008, I thought I knew adversity and
what it was like managing a business
in difficult conditions, " Whitson
told Automatic Merchandiser. " But
When COVID hit, it made managing
through the Great Recession seem like
an entry-level class. "
The K&R president said COVID
Above, Tim Couch is
K&R's customer service
Right, Garry Hill is K&R's
office administrator.
tested every premise of the business
and challenged him to find a new way
to do things. A nursing home client at
the start of the pandemic lockdown, for
example, initially prohibited K&R from
entering the building. A week later,
however, the vending client reached out
for help: " Our employees are getting
incredibly upset because we're not
letting them leave, but there's no
food and drink left in the building
for them. What can you do? "
Whitson recounted.
Amid the panic and confusion
40 Automatic Merchandiser * December 2021
at the pandemic's onset, K&R came up
with the only rational solution. " We
set up a service that involved building
pre-kits, driving them to a location and
dropping them off with a set of vending
machine keys on top of the box, "
Whitson said. " Then we used Facetime
with employees in the building to teach
them in real time how to fill vending
machines. If three years ago I suggested,
'Hey, I've got an idea. I'm going
to take a set of vending keys and hand
them to a customer,' you would laugh
me off the stage. But when COVID
happened, we started doing things we
never dreamed of doing. "
Like all vending operations during
the height of COVID, K&R Market
had to make hard decisions and adjust
on the fly. " Whereas we used to send
out a plan, for the next day, to our
managers, during COVID the joke
was we're going to switch the agenda
for the day to the plan for the next 15
minutes, " Whitson quipped.
" Using a white board, we tracked
accounts that were closing or reopening,
which ones were letting us in,
and which required test results, " he
continued. " We constantly pivoted and
reshaped ourselves "
COVID-19 dominated 2020. In
January that year, the World Health
Organization announced a mysterious
coronavirus-related pneumonia
in Wuhan, China, and news stories
about disease's alarming levels of spread
and infection began to propagate. Just
before the WHO declared COVID-19 a
pandemic on March 11, 2020, Whitson
was attending an annual USConnect
meeting in Florida where fellow operators
were speculating " is this a real
thing, should I be worried? " he said.
Whitson related: " I remember
watching press conferences about
restrictions. The governor of New
Jersey announced it would take two
weeks to flatten the curve ... but a
couple of months later, the business
segments that were once robust all

December 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of December 2021

Editor's Note
Industry News
A True Story
The 2021 Pros to Know Awards
They'll Take it to Go!
Two is Better Than One
K&R Market Fresh
Social Hubs
December 2021 - PCOV1
December 2021 - PCOV2
December 2021 - 1
December 2021 - 2
December 2021 - 3
December 2021 - 4
December 2021 - 5
December 2021 - Editor's Note
December 2021 - 7
December 2021 - Industry News
December 2021 - 9
December 2021 - A True Story
December 2021 - 11
December 2021 - The 2021 Pros to Know Awards
December 2021 - 13
December 2021 - 14
December 2021 - 15
December 2021 - 16
December 2021 - 17
December 2021 - 18
December 2021 - 19
December 2021 - 20
December 2021 - 21
December 2021 - 22
December 2021 - 23
December 2021 - They'll Take it to Go!
December 2021 - 25
December 2021 - 26
December 2021 - 27
December 2021 - 28
December 2021 - 29
December 2021 - Two is Better Than One
December 2021 - 31
December 2021 - 32
December 2021 - 33
December 2021 - 34
December 2021 - 35
December 2021 - K&R Market Fresh
December 2021 - 37
December 2021 - 38
December 2021 - 39
December 2021 - 40
December 2021 - Classifieds
December 2021 - Social Hubs
December 2021 - 43
December 2021 - 44