Options open to International Paper

Options Management is one of the UK’s most innovative vending operators. MD Paul Ure’s mantra is ‘forward, upward, onward’ and the company’s relentless quest is to ‘add value to the offer’.

“Let’s face it,” Paul says, “a lot of our business is centred on the 20-30p vend. It’s in our interests to raise that bar. The number of coffee shop brands that have become household names in the past few years seems to indicate that customers appreciate that quality comes at a price, and that they are prepared to pay more for better coffee.”

According to Paul, ‘better coffee’ refers not only to the taste of the drink, but also to the holistic experience of taking a break amidst the bustle of a busy working day. He is convinced that the latest string to his bow, International Paper’s ‘Wild Card’ range of vending cups, will provide Options Management with the ideal opportunity to ‘sell up’ across the client portfolio.

Paul himself demonstrates his reasoning. “This is our ordinary vending cup,” he says, holding a standard brown plastic 7oz offer. “There’s nothing wrong with it at all,” he says, “it does the job. But compare it with this… International Paper’s SR-8 paper vending cup seems to fit more comfortably in the hand, it’s exceptionally well made, it has a distinctive design that captures the imagination and provides a talking point. You’d swear that coffee tastes better when drunk from one of these cups.

And from an operator’s point of view, that’s perfect.” In other words, without changing a single ingredient, the addition of a quality cup, such as International Paper’s SMR 8 paper vending cup, to the offer could, in itself, justify a price rise. However, there’s more to International Paper’s premium vending cup range than superior feel and performance, as Paul explains: “I used to think of it as just a bit of fun but now I can see that there’s more to it than that,” he says, “but if the concept behind this cup is sold correctly then value can be added to the offer.”

He’s referring to Wild Card’s USP: four different designs with variable prints, and in addition each cup has a representation of a playing card marked on its base. When they’ve enjoyed their drink, customers can turn the cup upside down and see if their ‘card’ matches the ‘joker’ nominated by the operator. “To be honest, it’s cost us little more than a few bags of sweet as prizes,” Paul says. “It is ‘just a bit of fun’ for the customers,” Paul concedes, “but we’re already seeing its impact, at clients such as Fortis Insurance, in terms of sales volume. People like the opportunity of winning something, or getting something for nothing, if you like, and Wild Card fits the bill.”

Wild Card cups are one of several designs that International Paper has in its vending cup range.