Vending Focus / Tuesday / December 5, 2023 / 11:15 AM

Meeting Customer Expectations for Micro Markets, Vending and More

Customer preferences nowadays are more diverse than ever, with calls for gluten-free, sustainability, functionality and more. How can a convenience services operator know what products will meet the needs of a diverse and demanding customer? What resources are available? A panel of experts weighs in on the process.


Jeremy Cauble | Director of Strategic Innovation | Canteen North America
Jeremy Cauble, Director of Strategic Innovation for Canteen North America, has been exploring innovation in unattended retail for 15 years. Through his diversified background in marketing, digital commerce/SEO, field implementation and customer experience, Jeremy has learned how to leverage new technologies to continuously improve the shopping experience for customers in unattended retail.  Quick and easy checkout, interactive shopping tools, channels for consumer engagement and feedback, and operational technologies to ensure the right product in the right place at the right time—all of these and more combined to simplify the overall shopping process and elevate customer satisfaction.
Ray Friedrich | CEO | East Street Business Advisors
Ray Friedrich is a proven entrepreneurial leader with 35 years executive experience in the food and beverage industry. Ray started and grew a food service management company into one of the largest independent operators in Michigan when sold in 2019. Ray is a recognized national industry leader receiving many accolades for creating new and forward-thinking innovations related to the dining and convenience services industry. Ray now works with CEOs and business owners to help their organizations successfully identify, define and execute high-level strategic initiatives designed to meet their long-term goals. Ray is also experienced in executive team building and coaching. He helps to create a team culture of responsibility, collaboration and accountability. Throughout his career, Ray has demonstrated the power of new technologies to significantly transform an organization.
Drew Munro | Co-Founder & CEO | UpMeals
Drew Munro is the co-founder and CEO of UpMeals, a Vancouver food tech start-up on a mission to make healthy food accessible 24/7 through technology solutions, such as customized healthy SmartVending machines powered by proprietary management software. Prior to starting UpMeals, Drew founded an award-winning catering company based in Vancouver. He has 12 years of experience curating corporate event experiences, working with organizations such as Facebook, Ferrari, and Amazon to create memorable food experiences. Drew is passionate about the intersection of wellness and technology, food waste reduction, and sustainability.
Danelle Russell | Senior Director of Brand Marketing | Five Star Food Service

Ryan McWhirter | VP of Product Management | 365 Retail Markets
Ryan McWhirter is the Vice President of Product Management at 365 Retail Markets, located in Troy, MI. A graduate from Michigan State University with a degree in Telecommunications, McWhirter has two decades of experience in the interactive self-service technology field. Having implemented kiosks, digital menu boards, mobile apps and much more across the restaurant, airport and casino industries, McWhirter has been at the forefront of self-service innovation.
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