Vending Operator Of The Year: Georgia's Southern Refreshment Services Innovates To Address New Customer Needs
Dan Hart has established Southern Refreshment Services as a dominant player in the Atlanta market by embracing technology, adding new services and conceiving new approaches. He was honored for his accomplishments and contributions to the industry over the past three decades with this year's Vending Operator of the Year award from the National Automatic Merchandising Association at its 2012 OneShow annual convention in Las Vegas.
Hart has grown the Georgia-based company he founded with the late Alan Plaisted in 1979 from a single account to 42 vending routes and five coffee service routes, serving almost half a million people a day. He says new technologies have been pivotal to keeping his company profitable and competitive in a tough economic environment, and will continue to be vital moving forward.
Dan Hart & Alan Plaisted
Since Alan and I founded our company in 1979 (starting from scratch, knocking on one door at a time, delivering out of the back of a station wagon), we have been fortunate in being able to grow and add additional vehicles, technologies and services throughout the years. Growing from that first account to servicing almost a half a million people a day has been quite a journey.
One our goals from the start was to build a debt-free company so we would not be encumbered by the economy as it changed through the years. As you can well imagine that goal has served us well, especially in today's trying times. We have also been blessed with having great employees that understand what top notch customer service is all about, (they are the true reason for our success)! Our team and their dedication have helped us to be one of the top privately owned refreshment services in the Atlanta area. Our goals are still not to be the biggest, but the best, and that only happens through fulfilling your promises, and most importantly, listening to your customers. Listening has been the seed that allows us to grow and be the company, “Where Service Makes the Difference”.
We have been honored with the ‘Vendor of the Year Award’ by the Georgia Automatic Merchandising Council. Our late President (Alan Plaisted) was President of the Georgia Vending Association along with President of the Southeastern Vending Association, plus he was honored as the Industry Person of the Year, nationwide by NAMA in 2008.
For the 8th year in a row we have been awarded the prestigious ‘Consumer’s Choice Award’.
In 2001 we became a Canteen Franchise when we purchased the local Canteen corporate operation. This was a pivotal acquisition since it provided us a national and global presence; Compass Group, along with tremendous purchasing power. It also allowed us to be a part of a national team of food service experts, providing food service to businesses, hospitals, convention centers and schools.
We appreciate all of the honors along with our food service partners, but it is what we continue to do on daily basis that provides security for our employees and company.
To all of our current customers: we truly thank you for your business and friendship.
To all of you who are considering us to be your refreshment service, we look forward to a long lasting friendship.
Maintain a responsive vending and coffee service, by communicating shared values and concerns with our customers.
Create and maintain environment that attracts and develops the highest quality employees, while providing a caring, and professional management system.
Continue to develop greater financial health, while continuing to provide the best possible service, products and value the industry has to offer.
Update service systems by using the latest technologies in order to maximize our effectiveness, sustainability and quality control.
We are only a phone call away (or e-mail), contact us and let us create a new environment for your break room. We will introduce you to a new level of ‘Service’, which truly makes a difference.
Sales: 770-939-9299 or e-mail: jim.@refreshthesouth.com
Our new 55,000 sq. ft. state of the art facility allows us to park all of our vehicles inside (47 route trucks). This enables us to attract better employees, since they do not have to load or unload their trucks in foul weather.
Our business and customers are our lifeline therefore; every employee must pass a criminal background check, along with a drug test. This helps provide all of our customers with a since of security.
In order to attract the top people we provide 100% of the health insurance for every employee, plus we provide a 401K with matching monies.
We are also a member of NAMA (our national organization) and adhere to all of their rules and ethics statements.
Southern Refreshment Services Creates Positives out of Negatives
Part of our mission and vision is to be innovative thru the use of new technologies.
We start the process by requiring all employees to pass a complete criminal background check along with a drug test.
Accountability starts with knowing where your product came from, to our warehouse to the route truck to the machine and finally to our customers. Our bar coding system enables us to know where the product is at any given moment.
Our new computerized Service Central Dispatch allows us to track all service calls electronically. We combine this system with our Nextel communication network along with our GPS Satellite Tracking system on all of our service vehicles. This enables us to provide instant communication and tracking to the field, thus saving us valuable time and creating greater efficiencies of service…. This means greater response to any problems that may occur.
All vending equipment has state of the art electronic meters tabulating all sales. We take that information and create financial reports detailing each machine’s sales, and the commissions created from that machine. Accountability from the beginning to the end!
Customer Service Manager
A Customer Service Manager will be assigned to your account. They will be responsible for the transition and management of the vending project. Detailed reports will be created and passed on to our supervisors in order to help and support our route managers. They will also be checking with the on-site contact in order to maintain proper communication.
All Services Provided at No Charge to Customer
Merchandising is a very important part of our industry, and we feel that our plan-o-gram system will always enable us to provide the best and most popular items available in the industry at all times and address your own particular needs. We have two ways of managing this system. The first being that we require that 75% of the capacity of each machine must have all of what the industry considers the top selling snack, food and drink items available for purchase everyday.
The remaining 25% of the vendor will be customized to each areas individual preference. We will also have available a complete selection of healthy type snacks and drinks in order to provide a good healthy choice for your employees. The second stage is that our service person is paid on commission, thus he, or she will be motivated to provide the best selling items in order to increase their pay potential.
We will pay refunds directly to the customers. We will provide the appropriate change bank and materials (see sample in this proposal) for this procedure. We also use this as a preventive maintenance tool. We have the customer, write down their name and the machine they lost their money in, along with the amount and reason. It helps us to head off potential problems by monitoring these occurrences. Example: if we have had an abundance of refunds on a particular machine, it suggests that the changer needs to be adjusted or cleaned. The supervisors monitor these reports and help the regular route manager in performing the duties necessary to clean such changers.
Business and Ethical Standards Tool Kit of the National Automatic Vending Association
Dear NAMA Member,
As you know, NAMA has been working hard for the past several years to promote the highest levels of honesty and ethics in our industry. That effort began with the NAMA Code of Ethics and was followed by the NAMA Vending Industry Accounting Best Practices, a document designed to help accounts identify unethical financial practices when auditing vending companies. This work has been at the core of NAMA’s work to improve our industry’s image and raise professionalism by driving business conduct beyond reproach.
Now, however, the time has come to go even further by providing tools that honest operators can use to help them demonstrate that they operate their businesses honestly and ethically. As a result, we have created a Tool Kit that members can use to distinguish their operation from their dishonest competitors. Inside the tool kit you will find a variety of materials you can use to help show accounts how they can identify unethical operators. We’ve also included tools you can use to demonstrate that you operate your company openly, honestly and ethically.
We hope you find these tools helpful, as together we work to stamp out unethical and non-professional business practices. The effort to do so will be no small task but bringing back true competition will benefit our clients, our customers and NAMA members everywhere.
James Brinton, NCE
J.E. Eddie Hicks, NCE
Richard M. Geerdes, NCE
NAMA Chairman of the Board
NAMA Ethics Committee Chair
President & CEO
NAMA Ethics Statement.
Southern Refreshement Services promises to :
- Demonstrate integrity by conducting ourselves fairly, ethically and honestly in all situations and in a manner that complies with local, state and federal laws.
- Use sound accounting practices in financial reporting and comply fully with contracts and agreements.
- Offer only high quality merchandise, food and beverage products and services to the public at all times; and be committed to the highest standards of quality assurance, sanitation and safe handling practices.
- Create and promote service and excellence by maintaining clean equipment, serving a variety of attractively presented, fresh and nutritious products; offering these items in a reliable and convenient manner in serving our diverse customers.
- Respect and deal fairly with employees, customers, clients, suppliers, competitors and other industry members as well as the general community.
- Promote a safe environment for our employees, customers and the public by maintaining safe vehicles, driving practices, equipment and facilities.
- Strive for excellence by developing employees and management through continued education and training and to customers by using appropriate technology to ensure accuracy, quality and successful transactions.
- Active involvement in community activities, participation in industry associations and the governmental process to protect the industry.
For the premium
coffee service in
your break room