Gimme Teams Up with Five Star Food Services to Enhance Georgia Tech Vending Machines
All that’s between you and your favorite Snickers bar is differential equations. When class ends, you book it to the nearest vending machine — only to find an empty Snickers slot. Your eyes scan the choices — no chocolate at all.
Who hasn’t been tempted to risk sounding like a crazy person, lambasting a vending machine? Enter our company, Gimme Vending, founded by two former Georgia Tech students. Our Atlanta-based company, started five years ago by buddies Cory Hewett and Evan Jarecki, is coming full circle, partnering with Five Star Food Service to streamline the unattended retail process at Georgia Tech — and deliver you the candy you’re coveting.
As part of Tech’s Create-X summer program, Cory and Evan developed technology to make classic vending machines “smart,” ushering a traditional industry into the digital age. The twosome created a support team and an iPad app to help vending operators keep tabs on inventory, schedule delivery routes, and track buying patterns for a particular machine. Before, drivers relied on clunky, outdated, and s-l-o-w technology. Wires, plugs, and outlets, oh my!
Gimme’s technology simplifies restocking and instantly transmits data, including what consumers are craving in a certain location, to headquarters. With Gimme’s mobile app, items get replenished faster. Thus, that elusive Snickers is yours for spare change — or your mobile pay app, if you prefer.
“We feel like we’ve come full circle,” Evan said. “We built our first prototype on campus. Five years later, here we are integrating our technology onto campus with our partner, Five Star Food Service.”
Southern Refreshment Services, which was recently acquired by Five Star Food Service, has partnered with vending technology company Gimme since its inception five years ago and recently began implementing Gimme’s solution on the Georgia Tech vending machines. The company has been servicing the vending machines at Georgia Tech campus since 1970.
There Oughta Be an App for That…
Like most things, Gimme was conceived in fits and starts.
An entrepreneur to the core, Cory was hooked. With 26 machines, he continued his vending business when he went to Babson College in Massachusetts, which boasts a top entrepreneurship program. But Cory left Babson after a year, and eventually he found a way back into Georgia Tech’s electrical engineering program.er. Then a few more.
An entrepreneur to the core, Cory was hooked. With 26 machines, he continued his vending business when he went to Babson College in Massachusetts, which boasts a top entrepreneurship program. But Cory left Babson after a year, and eventually he found a way back into Georgia Tech’s electrical engineering program.
Enter Evan, whom Cory met at Georgia Tech. Both sharing big aspirations, the two tossed around countless business ideas. With his background in vending, Cory knew there had to be a better, more efficient way to manage unattended retail.
“There should be an app for that,” he thought.
Together, he and Evan had the technical background to bring these ideas to fruition. But Gimme was still only a twinkle in two engineering students’ eyes.
From Idea to Prototype—to Success
Cory was honing in on the notion that cumbersome handhelds could be replaced with iPads to service vending machines. Meanwhile, Evan was wrapping up his second summer internship at Gulfstream, his dream company to work for. He was on a path — Evan had been offered a full-time position at Gulfstream — and he was two weeks away from donning his cap and gown at Tech.
That’s when Cory called. He’d applied for Tech’s 2014 Summer Startup program (now Create-X). Cory was assembling a team — and he did his best to convince Evan to serve as co-founder and join him in making an idea a reality.
“If you’re in,” Cory told Evan, “you buy me a beer. If you’re not, I’ll buy you a beer.”
With the Tech program deadline days away, Cory gave Evan 24 hours to decide. Evan made a choice. Cory bought Evan’s beer.
And together, a prototype was born at Tech.
During customer discovery, Evan and Cory interviewed hundreds of vending operators about the aches and pains of unattended retail. One of the most vocal was Chris Hart, with Southern Refreshment Services. Located in Atlanta, the company gave Gimme its first work space — a secondary warehouse — and publicly announced they were Gimme’s first customer at a 2015 TAG Business Launch competition. Gimme won first prize — and the $50,000 that went with it. Just a few months later, Gimme secured a $450,000 seed round investment.
“Since the start, Southern Refreshments has been one of the strongest and most vocal advocates of the Gimme team,” Evan said. “It’s exciting that they will now be taking over service at our alma mater, Georgia Tech, under their new Five Star Food Service brand. We’re thrilled to have launched our technology at one of the most prestigious universities in the country.”
Hart, now Regional Manager of Micro Markets for Five Star Food Services, echoed Evan’s sentiments.
“It’s an exciting time for both teams as we innovate again on a campus that knows technology so well,” Hart said. “We were Gimme’s very first customer, and we’re excited to see this company that began at Georgia Tech back on campus.”
Today, Gimme helps service over hundreds of routes across the country—and nothing but gangbuster growth looms on the horizon.
So there you have it, smart machines for smart students. And you, your Snickers, and a full stomach for your differential equations homework.
What’s next for Gimme?
Expansion in unattended retail -- vending, micro markets and direct-store delivery. Follow us on social media! Also, check out the official press release here: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/gimme-and-five-star-food-service-join-forces-to-boost-innovation-on-georgia-tech-campus-300925733.html