Why Entrepreneurs Should Consider the Gumball Machine

Since the early 1900’s, the gumball machine has reigned supreme as an ultra-fun and convenient way to enjoy a sweet, chewy treat. Over one hundred years later, the gumball machine is still a great way to create impressive passive income. Read on to discover this easy way to enhance, or start, your vending business.

Antique Gumball Machines

Antique Gumball Machines are highly collectible – bidding on this one pictured exceeding $1000 on eBay.com !

Gumball Machines are Awesome

It starts with just a simple coin and ends with a burst of highly anticipated happiness. Which color will I get? What flavor? I hope I get that one! With the turn of a handle, a prize drops from a glass globe and plunks against a metal door. Exhilaration flashes across your customer as they retrieve their gumball and walk off, happily chewing away the stress of their day.

The scenario is joyful to imagine. It’s even better if you imagine that every time someone gets a happy experience from your gumball dispenser, you get to collect a whole quarter!

Besides acting as great sources of passive income, these simple vending machines are extremely easy to operate. Once you place and stock your machine, it’s a simple matter of keeping it clean, refilling it and collecting your money. Whether you choose gumball machines to enhance your current business or act as a standalone business, the opportunities for expansion are virtually limitless.

People of all ages enjoy a good vending machine, especially since the machines aren’t just limited to actual balls of gum. The choices of candy and trinket fillers are endless for a savvy entrepreneur, and so are the available locations to house your moneymakers.

Candy Dispenser

An assortment of modern gumball machines located in a Dallas storefront. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gumball_machine)

While it takes a great deal of machines to guarantee a substantial income, owning just one serves as wonderful supplemental income. Here are a few common challenges that gumball newbies sometimes face, as well as some helpful tips to overcome them.

  • Machine Maintenance– Some machines are flashy, electrified pieces of treat-dispensing technology. Most are fairly simple gear systems. Either type you choose, it’s important to understand how they work, and have the ability to fix them should the need arise. An abundance of research material is available online from which to learn on your own. Alternatively, you can always find a certified service technician in your area.
  • Choosing Product– The beginning stages of any business venture are often fraught with trial and error. The most common quandary for a gumball machine owner is which filler to choose. Lessen your frustrations by observing these factors:

o   Climate- Excessive heat or freezing cold may damage product.

o   Culture- Some products are better suited for specific groups of people.

o   Price- Ensure that the product you choose has the highest profit margin possible.

  • Few Ways to Market– Other than visibility, there are few ways to successfully market this type of business. One definite strategy is to increase the amount and quality of your vending array to increase traffic.


The challenges of this type of business are few and manageable. If owning a gumball business makes you all bubbly, follow the following steps and get vending!

, do your research. Laws that regulate vending business vary by state and location. Always check with your local government for specific licensing and health permitting. Also, make sure that you have valid tax ids.

, shop for a good machine and good bulk pricing. Try to keep your product cost lower than 20% of what you charge.

, scope out good locations. Approach businesses with a lot of foot traffic. Offer a percentage of your sales in exchange for a cozy spot in their lobby or waiting room.

, purchase, study, understand and set-up your machine.

, place your vending machine at a predetermined location. Machines normally live in highly trafficked areas, so crime is rare. However, if you’re worried about your investment going missing, secure it to a pillar or other permanent structure.

Sixth, continue to keep track of your machines. Refill and clean as necessary, and always test to make sure they are in proper working condition. Also, do not neglect to have an option available for rolling all those coins for a bank deposit.

 “Besides acting as great sources of passive income, gumball machines are extremely easy to operate”

How Many Coins?

That depends on a lot. To simplify it, if each gumball costs you two cents to buy and they each sell for one quarter, then you’ve made $0.23 per gumball. If your machine holds an even 100, you’ve generated $23.00 in revenue. If you pay the host location 15%, you’re rolling up $19.55 in shiny passive income each time you refill. If you already operate a mobile business, such as a food truck, then adding a route of gumball machines is the perfect way to pad your pocket. Purchasing a candy machine – or two, or three, or more –  could start you off on a delicious, new, financial path.

The Secret of a Successful Lunch Truck

In its most basic form, the secret of running a successful lunch truck is locking down a regular route of reliable customers to whom you can serve delicious dishes that won’t undo their diet, drain their debit card, or leave them lethargic for the second half of their day. Sounds simple, but it’s a task easier said than done. Here are a few tips to help you apply this secret to your own successful lunch truck business.

Scope Out Locations for Your Lunch Truck and Network the Right People

It should go without saying that vending lunch trucks should park in a place that is convenient to a large number of people in the middle of the day. A great location is heavily populated, yet fairly isolated from other ready-to-eat food sources, like a suburban office park or outdoor recreation area. A key to gaining a firm grip on a prospective location is to make initial contact with the actual property owners, as opposed to the owners or managers of the surrounding businesses. This ensures you have complete permission to do business on the grounds, which can help with access to restroom facilities for you and any employees. Solidifying yourself with the property owner, or management company, also allows you to approach local businesses, and their hungry employees, as a legitimate and symbiotic business addition to the immediate area.

Stay Cooperative in Competition

Depending on your area, other catering trucks can serve as valuable assets in maintaining your profitability at a specific location. Few people want the same flavors and options day after day, month after month, for years. While you want customers to patronize you regularly, you do not want them to burn out on your products, especially since revamping a menu is often costly and time consuming. Instead, engage another mobile food vendor to take your place on certain days of the week, or for a week out of the month. Set up ‘special events’ that feature a few lunch trucks to drive even heavier hungry traffic to your spot. Cooperating with other business owners in this way opens up more locations for you to operate when they trade you established spots, and your customers don’t fall out of the lunch truck habit.  If you are finding your business to be successful enough, perhaps starting a second business, run by employees, with a different menu will allow you to dominate an area…it’s a thought.

Go Social

A key to any successful modern business is a good web presence. As a mobile food vendor, allowing your customers to know where you’ll operate on any given day is a great way to lock in business. Offer discounted or free items for customers when they join you in social media. Once they have made contact, you can send out messages in the morning or the night before to make sure you sell out at high noon. Allowing customers to post comments and pictures of your truck make the interactions more meaningful and allow you to create a community that surrounds your business and helps it thrive.

Maintain Simplicity with Predictable Variation

Choose locations for your Lunch Truck carefullyKeep a lunch menu on the light side. There’s a lot of junk available on the food market these days. If your truck serves food that won’t send your customers to the hospital or give them an ultra-full and unproductive feeling, make sure you communicate that. Keep options few and easy to remember. Consistency doesn’t necessarily mandate that nothing ever changes. If you make it a habit to offer a new special every week, the change will interest customers and keep them checking back with you on a regular basis.

“A lunch truck might not pay all of your bills with just a few hours of operation per day. Try looking into different ways to maximize a lunch truck business.”

Spread Out and Stay Affordable

A single lunch truck might not pay all of your bills with just a few hours of operation per day. Try looking into different ways to maximize your business. Company picnics and private parties are a great way to generate extra revenue, and you can do these gigs during non-lunch hours. Use social media and printed marketing materials to inform customers of your offers. Try arriving to your spot early and visiting the local businesses yourself to raise awareness of your services. Bring samples or coupons, and never forget your menus. Many offices might happily place large orders with catering trucks and pay for delivery before regular hours. Remind clients exactly where your parking spot is by offering tiny maps on a brochure or on your website. Remember, the best businesses succeed when happy customers tell their friends. So, keep a smile on your face and happily promote your lunch truck.

Pros of a Taco Truck Business and Three Potholes to Avoid

A taco truck is a great choice for a spicy entrepreneur deciding to go into the mobile food cart business. Mexican cuisine is widely enjoyed across all of North America, making it a really easy market to dig into. As a niche, the taco cart world is roomy enough to keep a newbie from growing discouraged, yet established enough to ensure a good chance for traction. Taco carts allow you to offer your customers a familiar, yet slightly exotic, fun food. If you’re dedicated enough to deliver quality product that’s priced to sell with a strong dash of quickness, then a taco truck business might work for you. Read on for some pros of the trade and some potholes to avoid along the way.

A taco truck business might work for  you.

Everyone Loves Tacos. Everyone.

Everyone loves Tacos. Everyone.

If a fast food titan, like Taco Bell, isn’t proof enough, just take a look around your town or on the menu of your favorite restaurant and notice how Mexican food options are more prevalent today than ever before, no matter where on the continent you live. It’s simple to understand; the cuisine is delicious, even if you don’t care for super-hot foods. Ingredients are uncomplicated to procure at a good price, and the structure of some well-known dishes, specifically tacos, make them portable and easy to eat.

Super Versatile

A creative chef can produce endless permutations of taco fillers, allowing them to tailor their menu to a defined local customer base. This goes further than ensuring you offer chicken instead of beef, or pork instead of seafood depending on the preferences of your clients. Tailoring your menu can even include changing things up for different times of the day, all while remaining true to your taco truck roots. Think savory breakfast burritos or flaky, cream cheese and fruit filled sweet tacos. The Kogi Korean BBQ truck offer a menu that is a fusion of Mexican and Korean flavors…who would have thought?

Little, if Any, Onsite Cooking

Making a taco mostly consists of combining already prepared ingredients. This means that you can do most, if not all, of the cooking in your kitchen beforehand. Onsite, all you have to do is put everything together, heat press or fry if you choose to, and hand the taco over to your paying customer. This makes a business based on a taco menu ideal for one or two man operations. If you forgo frying and heating, you only need to make sure your ingredients maintain proper holding temperatures. This significantly lowers the amount of equipment needed to get a taco truck up and running.

Taco Truck Tacos

Caution; Taco Truck Road is Not Made of Glass

Once you’re up and running, it’s important to remember that not all surfaces are smoothly paved and bump free. Here’s a guide to a few potholes that you might encounter along your way to taco bliss, and some smart ways to avoid them.

Licensing & Permitting

Unfortunately, this part is reportedly the most difficult. Often, regulations regarding mobile food venders vary significantly from one place to another, even within counties and individual municipalities. The process is lengthy and time consuming. However, diligent research and making sure you fill out forms properly combine for a winning recipe when starting your business. A good way to use the down time while waiting for bureaucratic approval is to create a strong and detailed business plan. Make sure to leave a lot of cushion in financing and deadlines.

Underestimating Workload

It is true that a mobile food business is a smaller expense than a full service restaurant. However, a food truck owner has just as big a workload and time investment as his brick and mortar counterparts. Beyond actual time spent serving customers, owners of food vending trucks also spend time preparing food in a distant kitchen, traveling to and in between vending spots, completing office work and marketing tasks, as well as networking to find the next best place to park. The rewards are great, but so are the demands. Make sure you think of every need your business may develop, no matter how far-fetched, to keep a decent perspective on profitability and life balance.

“…think of other service you could offer, like taco truck catering to office parties, and have marketing materials available to pass out as you invite people to partake of your south-of-the-border goodness.”

Limiting Exposure and Revenue Sources

Once you have your truck, your food and your cash register, you are ready for business, right? Well sure, if you want to ensure you have a financially difficult road to travel. Consistently high profits in a taco truck business mean consistently high sales volumes. Typically, business comes in spurts even during large events like fairs and festivals. Use the time you have in the public eye to attract more income. Make sure your truck displays a highly visible and attractive brand. Have a printed list of locations you frequent available for patrons. Also, think of other service you could offer, like taco truck catering to office parties, and have marketing materials available to pass out as you invite people to partake of your south-of-the-border goodness.

Starting a taco truck business is exhilarating, even if it’s also exhausting at times. Once your profits start rolling in, though, the fight to serve the streets is well worth the effort.


Starbucks Leaks Secrets to Coffee Cart Entrepreneurs

In June of this year, a Starbucks Frappuccino coffee truck hits the streets of Los Angeles, CA, and sets the stage for a new revolution in the coffee cart business. During the two-week tour, the colorful truck gives the people of LA even more opportunities to score their caffeinated sugar rush, as if the 100 or so brick and mortar storefronts in the area were not enough. Perhaps there is more to this stunt than meets the eye. Read on to understand the secrets Starbucks spilled with its foray into the mobile coffee business, and then get in on this trend.

A Coffee Cart Works for Starbucks

Attribution given to Starbucks and the Frappuccino truck

Sneaky Starbucks

It seems unlikely that Starbucks has an urgent need to expand its customer base in the LA area. Nevertheless, the Starbucks Frappuccino truck is rolling around and serving customers. A closer look at the operation reveals at least three reasons why this technicolored truck is a smart move for Starbucks.

  • Market Research– The coffee truck only sells Frappuccinos. What’s more is that the truck only sells a select variety of flavors and has plans to debut brand new Frappuccino flavors during its time on the road. This allows customers a fun way to experience new products while Starbucks studies the data.
  • Immersive Social Media– Once a customer samples a new Starbucks creation, they can instantly tell the world of social media all about it. Offering the coffee giant even more insight into their customer base. In addition, interacting with a brand on social media creates a sense of exclusivity, a feeling that modern consumers covet which, when felt, increases the likelihood that they will continue as customers.
  • Nostalgia– The colorful coffee truck is reminiscent of the ice cream man who drives around in the summer to supply neighborhood kids with delicious, frozen memories of happiness. Starbucks is pulling on these heartstrings and creating an experience for its clientele.

The benefits Starbucks may reap with this marketing experiment are probably limitless. The biggest fact that their choice reveals to the modern entrepreneur is that mobile food vending, especially the mobile coffee business, is experiencing strong growth.

While a full-sized, custom-painted, brand-new vehicle is a significant investment for the modern entrepreneur, a mobile coffee business is really a very simple, viable option for people looking to go to work for themselves. Here are a few of the ups and downs of starting a mobile coffee business of your own.

 Advantages of a Coffee Cart

  • Built-In Customer Base- Around 80% of American adults drink coffee. That means that eight out of the ten people you see walking down the street are your potential customers.
  • Low Start-Up Costs- You can design and build your coffee cart yourself, or buy a pre-packaged kit. There are also used coffee carts for sale.  Either way, your initial investment is generally less than $10,000.
  • Simple Operations- Making coffee is easy. The supplies are straightforward, and a business-owning barista can make their recipes as basic or complex as desired.
  • Easy Adjustment- If the location you picked is deserted, move to another. If it’s raining outside, go inside. If your customers like a stronger brew in the morning than in the afternoon, change it. The point is, a coffee cart business gives you extreme flexibility.

And the Disadvantages

  • Not Exempt- Even though a coffee cart is rather small, it still serves food to the public. That means that you must ensure you fully travel the channels to proper licensing and health department permitting.
  • Little Space- People are cranky before they’ve had their coffee, and they tend to be picky about the exact proportions of cream and sugar, or lack thereof. A cart does not lend itself well to a self-serve area, so understand that attention to an individual customer’s preferences is of the utmost importance.
  • High Volume- In order to generate decent income for its owner, a mobile coffee business must do a high volume of sales. Keep in mind that your prices must remain competitive, especially if your business may survive on the spontaneity of a customer’s spending.
A coffee cart can turn up anywhere

A Coffee Cart can go anywhere!

Ready to Roast?

“This is probably not the last time the Starbucks truck will hit the streets, and the coffee cart business is only getting stronger.

Here are a few tips on how to start a coffee stand to get in on this trend now.

  • Scope out locations in your town. Look for heavy foot traffic with predictable rush hours. Make sure to find a few possible spots, all with great visibility.
  • Do your due diligence and look into the process of starting a business in your area. Doing the right thing first saves headaches later.
  • Get your coffee cart, choose your blend and turn on the burners while you smile and man your cash register.


The Famous NYC Food Trucks

NYC Food Trucks are Famous Nation Wide

One of the most well-known cities in the country, New York City, is also one of the best known for its food trucks. NYC food trucks are considered to be some of the best in the country and some of the most varied as well. These food trucks are often some of the most profitable, because the areas that they are located in have some of the highest levels of foot traffic of any area throughout the entire country. As a result, New York City food trucks continue to flourish.

If you’re looking to become one of the next NYC food trucks you need to understand some of the basic success factors and important rules. These include rules on allowable NYC food truck locations, what licenses you need in order to operate and what types of food you are going to serve. There are many things that are necessary to understand thoroughly if you are setting out to work anywhere in New York City and if you don’t understand the NYC food trucks rules you could end up with a big fine or worse.

The Top 5 NYC Food Trucks

What you need to know is how to emulate some of those greatest and most successful food trucks and that’s precisely what we are going to tell you here.

The top five in the area are Korilla BBQ, Milk Truck, El Olomega, Calexico and Souvlaki GR. These trucks are touted by several different sources as offering some of the best there is in NYC food trucks and there are several reasons for those rave reviews. Sure you’re looking to open your own food truck but in order to have success you need to make sure you know what’s giving other trucks their success.

Korilla BBQ is not just a typically BBQ truck. It actually serves Korean food, BBQ style. You are able to create your own chosun bowl or you can get tacos made with different types of meat and fried rice. They also have their own barbecue sauce and, what really draws in more of the crowd is the fact that they serve 100% vegetarian meals as well. New options for vegetarians are always a good idea because of the limited choices normally offered to them.

Korilla BBQ. One of the most popular NYC food trucks today

Korilla BBQ. One of the most popular NYC food trucks today


The Milk Truck is a small dairy style truck. From this truck you’ll get something you might not expect from a food truck, grilled cheese. You’ll also get milkshakes and breakfast sandwiches made with eggs and specialty cheeses. What seems to draw people this truck is the difference between it and what’s offered everywhere else. Not in many places can you find specialty breads and cheeses at a food cart, and definitely not a lot that are serving grilled cheese and homemade milkshakes of high quality while you’re on the go.

El Olomega is a seasonal truck but it’s always located in the same spot, next to the Brooklyn Ballfields. This truck serves Salvadorean food and is well known mostly for their pupusas. These are a family recipe that has been made and sold for over 20 years. They contain tortillas with shredded pork, chicken, plantains and zucchini as well as loroco flower (yes we did in fact spell that properly). These pupusas seem to keep people coming back again and again and even seem able to compete with the soccer games going on beside them. The key is to have something different and unique that tastes great and keeps people loyal to you.

Calexico is a California style food truck serving Mexican cuisine. It parks near Flatiron or SoHo typically which makes it easy to find when you want the food (always a good idea) and boasts a smaller cart outside the Barclays Center. They boast a menu of carne asada, ground beef, chipotle pork and other spicy ingredients all rolled into a tortilla for a hearty Mexican meal on the go. This is also one of the few trucks of its kind as Mexican food isn’t as prominent in New York City. It’s always a good idea to be easy to be found by your customers, especially if you want regulars.

“The top five in the area are Korilla BBQ, Milk Truck, El Olomega, Calexico and Souvlaki GR. These trucks are touted by several different sources as offering some of the best there is in NYC food trucks…”

Finally we have Souvlaki GR which actually has become so popular it was able to open a true restaurant as well as the traditional food truck everyone knows and loves. This truck serves pitas with your choice of veggies, spicy dip and meats and has been found on many different streets (as well as the physical location in the Lower East Side). If you’re looking to follow this truck’s success you need to know where to stop and where your best customer base is going to be. Develop a routine that you will be known for and more people will be able to find you when they want your food. NYC food trucks schedules can be found on Twitter by following your favorite trucks or on NYC informational sites such as infofornyc.com.

The Souvlaki GR food truck also has a Restaurant

The Souvlaki GR food truck also has a Restaurant


The novice mobile food vendor has the opportunity to gain a huge competitive edge by studying the details of the most popular NYC food trucks. Patronize as many popular food trucks as you can and study their success secrets – even ask them questions about why they think so many people love them, if you dare! And make sure you attend the NYC Food Trucks Festival, now in its second year.

Easier Profits From a Hot Dog Cart Business

One of the most popular and best-recognised types of food trucks is the hot dog cart. These carts are pretty much present in just about any city depending on the size, but even small towns and cities will probably have a food cart out and about during special events or occasions. If you’re looking to just start by dipping your toe in the water of running a food truck then this option might be something you want to try out for yourself. Food trucks come in all different types after all and some will do better than others with specific kinds of specialty food – but who doesn’t love a good hot dog?

hot dog cart in the old days

The Hot Dog Cart is a Well Recognized Fixture in Some Places – and Has Been for a Very Long Time!

Reduce Your Risk With a Hot Dog Cart

The hot dog cart business is one that you can easily check out for yourself. You may start just by chatting to a few vendors to ask how they got started and how business is going for them.  By starting out with this type of food vending business you actually decrease your costs and decrease the amount of risk involved, because like we said, who doesn’t love a good hot dog? You don’t have to worry about choosing the right cuisine for the right crowd.  That means you shouldn’t have to worry too much about whether or not people will like your food and you will be likely get the business that you need wherever you go. Instead, you just have to worry about where to put your cart so that you get the most business possible.


Modern Hot Dog Cart

A Modern Purpose Built Hot Dog Cart

As well as simplifying the choice of cuisine being served from hot dog carts and grills, we mentioned cost and there’s a good reason for that.

A hot dog cart is typically not the same as a full size mobile food truck. In most cases a food truck will be much larger and will have fairly serious cooking equipment of some kind. They will generally also produce more than just one kind of food or will produce several options for that type of food, with the possible side-effect that you’ll be likely to have more wastage than if you served a narrow selection of foods on your menu.

On the other hand a hot dog cart is generally a smaller cart that can simply be pushed around by the owner. You don’t need a big truck because you’re selling a small product. You’re selling the one kind of product, so don’t need a wide variety of basic ingredients so this makes life simpler, keeps running costs down and wastage to a minimum.

Because you’re only selling one product you’ll also have less money invested in inventory. Purchasing large quantities of hot dogs and condiments doesn’t have to be expensive at all and you’ll be able to start making a profit much faster by not having to recoup all those costs that most mobile food vendors incur. There is still going to be a bit of a risk – there’s risk in any business – but it’s going to be far less of one than most other types of this business.

So think about it long and hard and figure out what’s going to work best for you : low entry cost and running costs?  or the whole kit and kaboodle?

So as you’ll have worked out for yourself, a smaller cart will cost you far less money than purchasing a large food truck. And a used hot dog stand will be just fine to start with. You’ll also have less money involved in start-up costs and permits because you don’t actually need to ‘park’ in any one specific place. Don’t get us wrong of course, you do still need to get a permit, but you don’t need to get one that allows you to park for extended periods of time, unless you want to set up a permanent area. You can actually walk up and down the street or through a park even to sell your wares.

“Who Doesn’t Love a Good Hot Dog?”

If you’re looking to give mobile vending a try but aren’t entirely sure, then this is possibly the best option to try it out without having to spend a fortune and then attempt to recoup the money when you decide you don’t like it, can’t make it work, or decide to do something else. You and your family may be eating hot dogs for a year if you can’t get the business rocking, but at least you won’t be out a fortune on a food truck and equipment! You’ll just be out the price of the cart and you’ll have food for your family for a while. After all, hot dogs never get boring right?  (We’re kidding, of course!)

A food truck can be a fun way to earn an income and a this type of entry level hot dog cart can be even more so. Just because you have the freedom to move around so much more and you have the ability to meet more people, the hot dog cart business can sometimes be even better than operating a large mobile food truck. The opportunities are endless and who knows, you may end up with other products in your hot dog cart and you may end up with some excellent regular customers – it’s a great way to get started in your own business.