October-November 2021 - 27

This enterprising operation is looking to bring fresh perspectives
to the industry as it continues to evolve into the 21st century.
Kyle Loughran, Nick Duda, Kevin Koehr and Ben Adams are the
management team leading Legend Food Service
By Nick Montano, Editor
enough space to support four times
the size of the combined businesses.
The additional space was needed.
During its first year, Legend's micro
market sales increased 300%.
his up-and-coming convenience
services company has been busy
buying and building legacy
vending operations - and rolling
up its sleeves to do whatever it takes
to maximize performance at new and
existing accounts of any size.
Operating from dual headquarters
in Connecticut and Maryland, Legend
Food Service is an omnichannel
provider of vending machines, micro
markets, coffee, tea, pantry and water
to workplaces. Its recipe for success
starts with the deployment of the
best unattended retail technology, an
investment in its internal systems and
a steadfast commitment to its people.
In this context, Legend was able to
maintain its service and operational
planning cadence during the lowest
points of the pandemic lockdowns,
then accelerate the deployment of all
its resources to meet the unpredictable
demands through the reopening phase.
Legend arrived on the scene five
years ago by acquiring an established
full-line vending operation, Automated
Services, which had served the
New Haven area since the early 1970s.
Legend, which is headquartered in
neighboring East Haven, officially
rebranded in 2020.
Legend purchased three more
Connecticut operations and is now
taking its brand farther south. In May,
the company announced the acquisitions
of Maryland's Vending Plus in
Linthicum Heights (near Baltimore)
Nick Duda (l.) and Kevin Koehr welcome
the challenges of growing and excelling in
the convenience services industry.
Photos by Margaret Strada for Legend Food Service
and Jel-Cap Vending of Windsor Mill,
and in September it added Prince
Frederick's Varsity Vending and Micro
Markets to its emergent mid-Atlantic
service platform.
" The Legend team saw an opportunity
in the vending space in 2017. We
saw there were a couple of privateequity
backed rollups and some large
independents, but not much in the
middle, " said Legend Food Service
chief executive Kyle Loughran. " We
saw an opportunity to build a network
of strong, local operators and provide
them with the capital and infrastructure
that are typically only available to
the 'big guys.' "
Whether it's technology,
merchandising or price
increases, we aren't afraid to
experiment with something
new to see what works and
what doesn't. "
Kyle Loughran
" Maintaining strong local relationships,
leaning heavily on technology
and giving the business the capital to
grow, the sky would be the limit for
that team, " Loughran added.
For this reason, Legend placed its
newly acquired New Haven operations
on vending management systems and
moved into a new warehouse with
Loughran gives much of the credit to
" great local management, " especially
David Murphy, the company's general
manager in Connecticut. " He's done
an incredible job, " he said.
Looking at the backgrounds of Legend's
young executive team, one might
think they should be working at banks,
tech startups, Fortune 500 companies,
even the Defense Department. " We
are very much non-vending people,
which makes it all the more humbling
when we encounter great people in the
industry, " Loughran said. " We know
we will never be the best managers
of any of our locations. Rather, our
job is to bring in the best minds in
the industry and empower them to
conquer their markets "
Loughran and Nick Duda, who
heads corporate development at Legend,
both come from the private-equity
world, but they realize financial sponsors
cannot outsmart the industry. " It
does not work, " Loughran underscored.
As outsiders, however, they do like
to challenge paradigms.
" Whether it's technology, merchandising
or price increases, we aren't
afraid to experiment with something
new to see what works and what
doesn't, " Loughran said. " It's part of
our thesis that if we can alleviate some
of the operational burdens at our
branches, and leave them well capitalized,
they will have the luxury to try
out more innovative ways to serve customers
and find more efficient ways to
run the business. "
To better assess what works,
Legend Food Service aligned with
unattended retail tech company
Vagabond Vending, which furnished
it with a better understanding of
October/November 2021 * VendingMarketWatch.com 27

October-November 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of October-November 2021

The Long Game
Up And At ‘Em
20 Months In
They Are Legend
Editor’s Note
Industry News
Social Hubs
October-November 2021 - PCOV1
October-November 2021 - PCOV2
October-November 2021 - 1
October-November 2021 - 2
October-November 2021 - 3
October-November 2021 - 4
October-November 2021 - 5
October-November 2021 - Editor’s Note
October-November 2021 - 7
October-November 2021 - Industry News
October-November 2021 - 9
October-November 2021 - The Long Game
October-November 2021 - 11
October-November 2021 - 12
October-November 2021 - 13
October-November 2021 - Up And At ‘Em
October-November 2021 - 15
October-November 2021 - 16
October-November 2021 - 17
October-November 2021 - 18
October-November 2021 - 19
October-November 2021 - 20 Months In
October-November 2021 - 21
October-November 2021 - 22
October-November 2021 - 23
October-November 2021 - 24
October-November 2021 - 25
October-November 2021 - They Are Legend
October-November 2021 - 27
October-November 2021 - 28
October-November 2021 - 29
October-November 2021 - 30
October-November 2021 - 31
October-November 2021 - 32
October-November 2021 - Classifieds
October-November 2021 - Social Hubs
October-November 2021 - 35
October-November 2021 - 36