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January 15, 2024

What Is a Micro Market? (And Why You Need One)

The demand for easy access to nutritious, high-quality food is increasing. But there's a challenge: staffing shortages across industries are leaving business leaders struggling to meet this demand without burning out their current workforce.

The solution lies within micro markets, a self-service option offering fresh food 24/7, no cashiers required. This innovative technology satisfies the growing demand for convenient, nutritious options and alleviates staffing pressures, providing organizations with a cost-effective way to deliver a higher level of service around the clock.

What is a micro market?

A micro market is an unattended retail space where customers can purchase food and beverages. Instead of interacting with a staff member, customers use a self-checkout kiosk to pay for their selections.


Micro markets vary in size and scope, from a shelf offering snacks to complete in-store spaces — think an elevated convenience store — allowing businesses to implement a solution tailor-made to their needs.

Micro markets open the door to offering fresh foods, such as sandwiches, salads, fruits, and vegetables, alongside the snacks and drinks commonly associated with vending machines, meeting the growing demand for 24/7 access to nutritious food.

Why should you consider a micro market?

Because micro markets are not a one-size-fits-all concept, they can be used by different sizes of companies in multiple industries, such as education, hospitality, and healthcare. Experts predict continued growth for micro markets, with Automatic Merchandiser State of the Industry reporting an 18% increase last year in the U.S., bringing the total of active micro market locations to more than 30,000 nationwide.

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Micro markets allow businesses to meet and even exceed service expectations through these benefits:

Wider Variety of Goods

Micro markets offer a wider variety of goods than vending machines, including fresh, cold, and frozen items as well as toiletries and other staples.

Increased Satisfaction

Greater access to fresh foods, along with an easy and frictionless checkout, can lead to increased customer and employee satisfaction. 24/7 access makes this a great option for night shift employees, campus study halls and dorms, and travelers with early departure times.

Fully Customizable

Many micro market suppliers offer a variety of product levels that can be pieced together as desired, allowing their customers to create the micro market to fit their needs.
  • Byte Technology and Cantaloupe are two leading providers of micro market components, integrating leading technology with solution packages adaptable to any customer’s requirements.

Easy to Install

Micro markets can be installed almost anywhere if you have an electrical outlet and Wi-Fi access.


Micro market initial investments can cost $14,000 less than investing in a vending machine. With no employees required at point-of-sale, facilities can tap into a new revenue stream without increasing the staff’s workload.

Staffing shortages are not going away soon, so meeting your customers’ needs demands creative solutions. Integrating micro markets into your business allows you to expand your offerings, satisfying employees and customers while lowering costs.

HHS has grown from one partner to over 750 primarily through reference and word-of-mouth by consistently providing excellent service and innovative solutions to our customers. Our latest solution is TESS, a suite of cutting-edge technology tools to empower facility support service teams.


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