With incredible profit margins, vending machines can be an attractive offering.

Vending machines are a fantastic way to make money – simply keep it stocked and empty the cash box regularly. Your automated store stays open 24/7, requires minimal manpower, and has low-overhead costs. Plus, the profits on your products are often glorious. If you can buy a pallet of cola for .25 cents a can and sell each can for $1, that buzzing neon sign and the hum of the refrigerator begin to sound like that jazzy jingle called ‘Money.’

While carbonated beverages and bags of crispy snacks have been break-room fixtures for decades, entrepreneurs are beginning to up the ante on automated sales operations. For example, entrepreneurs at a Dutch university just developed a vending machine that will serve up piping-hot french fries at the push of a button. This news follows on the heels of other recent breakthroughs like fresh burritos in a box, cupcake ATMs, and even a packaged sausage dispenser that recently appeared in front of a family-owned butcher shop down the street from me here in Germany, just in case I need to fire up a few bratwurst at 3am.

Throughout the course of our travels, my wife and I have spent many hours waiting for buses, trains and planes, often staring lustfully at a giant billboard featuring a plate of steaming french fries above a shop that has closed for the day. If only they had a vending machine.

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