Atlanta-based Gimme, whose hardware and software solutions transform the way companies service micro markets, vending, and grocery delivery operations, and Tucker-based Southern Refreshment Services, recently acquired by Five Star Food Service, are leveraging new technology to continue a premium level of service on Georgia Tech Campus.
Southern Refreshment Services, now Five Star Food Service, has partnered with vending technology company Gimme since its inception five years ago, and recently implemented Gimme’s solution on the Georgia Tech vending machines. The vending machines at Georgia Tech campus have been serviced by the same organization since 1970. They were originally serviced by Old Fashion Foods, which was then acquired by Southern Refreshment Services, which is now Five Star Food Service.
“It’s an exciting time for both organizations as we look to innovate again on a campus who knows technology so well, with Gimme’s technology we also know well,” said Chris Hart, Regional Manager of Micro Markets for Five Star Food Service. “We were Gimme’s very first customer and are excited to see this company that began at Georgia Tech bring their technology back to campus.”
For years, vending route drivers and operators have been forced to use expensive, cumbersome and outdated technology that fails to serve their needs. And, vending company owners have had to rely on the handheld device to collect data that drives inventory restocking, scheduling, route planning, and cash tracking.
Gimme’s award-winning and patented plug-and-play solution replaces legacy handhelds to deliver valuable data, like purchasing patterns, and provide operators with better cash accountability, inventory tracking, and machine status data. This translates into fewer stock-outs, faster service, and streamlined product planning. The technology also scores each machine in the network based on the suitability of inventory to consumers on location and helps track what’s happening in the field, where the cash and inventory are, all in real time, without end-of-day downloading, synchronizing, or hand-keying.
What does this mean for the students on the Georgia Tech campus? That the vending machines will be sending information to Five Star Food Service so items stay stocked and replenished quicker. It also might determine whether that Snickers bar that student was craving is in the vending machine when they get there.
“I feel we have come full circle,” said Evan Jarecki, Co-Founder and CCO of Gimme and Georgia Tech graduate. “Not only did I graduate from Georgia Tech, but we began Gimme out of Startup Summer, now Create-X at Georgia Tech, in Summer 2014, and built our first prototype on campus. Four years later, here we are integrating our technology onto campus with our partner, Five Star Food Service.”
While both still at Georgia Tech in 2014, Gimme co-founders Evan Jarecki and Cory Hewett learned that there were pains with legacy technology in the vending industry first-hand and designed a solution to address these issues.
“We interviewed hundreds of vending operators, but Southern Refreshment Services was local to Atlanta and the owner, Dan Hart, was much more verbal about these pains,” said Jarecki. “In late 2014, Southern Refreshment Services somewhat “incubated” the first work space for Gimme, allowing the team to work and build their team directly out of its secondary warehouse where they stored vending machines and ran their coffee business. “We worked right alongside the Southern Refreshment Services vending route drivers, to learn their struggles with legacy technology while building our own solution from the ground up,” added Jarecki.
Not only did Southern Refreshment Services become the first Gimme customer, they went above and beyond by presenting on-stage with Gimme as their first customer at the TAG Business Launch competition in 2015. Gimme won first place and $50,000 from this competition. “Southern Refreshments has been one of the strongest and most vocal advocates of the Gimme team, and it’s exciting that they helped us implement our technology at our alma mater, Georgia Tech,” added Jarecki. “We are thrilled to have our technology alongside their service at one of the most prestigious colleges in the country.”
Since opening its doors in 2014, spending a year with customer discovery in 2015, and launching our product for sale in 2016, Gimme Vending has gone from “GT students” to funded startup with a patented solution, brand-name customers, and substantial traction. Since then, Gimme has acquired several large customers, and has expanded its technology to include its own VMS and other new technology that expands their reach into the grocery space. They obtained their first utility patent in early 2016, addressing a primary data challenge faced by the vending industry. The patent covers a communication device for vending machines and the method of using it for bi-directional transmission of data from vending machines and computing devices.
Gimme helps food service and grocery delivery operators automate merchandising and manage their entire product lifecycle. The company’s technology provides real-time management for operators of grocery, convenience, vending machines, micro markets, and office coffee, helping them deliver amazing customer experiences. Gimme’s use of artificial intelligence, computer vision and machine learning technologies impact not only their own products and services, but also how the unattended retail industry operates. The technology provides machine status data to help operators focus on cash accountability and inventory tracking to reduce stockouts, accelerate warehousing and restocking, and streamline product planning. The company’s hardware product, the Gimme Key, is now the #1 wireless DEX adapter for direct store delivery, using Bluetooth Low Energy technology, replacing outdated legacy handhelds previously used in the industry. For more information, visit http://www.vending.ai or connect with Gimme on Twitter.