Operations

Think Outside The Box With A Snack Pack

Jim Luff
Posted on August 5, 2016

Riding on a bus once meant you got a single seat for the ticket you bought. Somewhere along the way builders added restrooms. Next came reclining seats, followed by video displays and eventually WiFi. Passengers expect more comfort. When chartering a vehicle from a luxury ground transportation business, the wants rise even higher. That’s why adding snacks to the menu of amenities can add to your net profit.

Airlines Do It
Almost all airlines sell several versions of snack boxes to passengers. If you have ever bought one of these boxes, you know they are about $10 and contain about $5 worth of product. Either way, it’s far better than a free cup of soda and a small bag of peanuts. They generally come in several varieties. The passengers on a long trip are captive, so if you offer snacks, they will likely buy them.

Pre-Order
I recommend you ask clients while taking the reservation if they would like to add on a snack or a sandwich box. You should consider advertising them on your website and refer your clients to the menu, which should display items and prices. Accepting pre-orders will cut down on spoilage and keep your product fresh. If you don’t want to go all out with a sandwich box, you might consider something as simple as a small can of Pringles chips. United Airlines sells them for $4. In a pack of 12, they cost about 65 cents each. This means you net about $40 per case of 12.

Selling The Day of The Trip
While you can sell snack boxes on the day of the trip, storage can be a problem. It is hard to determine if they would be bought, and carrying six boxes in a limo “just in case” might not always work out. If you carry four boxes, someone might feel left out. If the client has too much luggage, you might be forced to throw them away for the space and that’s an immediate loss. Consider providing smaller items such as cheese and crackers, small bags of fruit snacks, or similar items that don’t take as much room to store. If you are in a bus, the snack boxes can easily be held in a storage container in the cargo hold and introduced during a rest stop.

Where Do You Get Them?
Amazon has tons of snack packs in bulk at about $20 each. Amazon’s pre-made snack boxes are filled with product that can be broken down to make up several smaller boxes. You might also find box lunches offered by a local gourmet sandwich shop. A typical lunch box averages about $10 and includes a sandwich, chips, cookie and a beverage. You can easily mark these up to $15. If you have a bus with 40 passengers on a long trip, that adds up to an extra $200 net profit.

Inventory Control
Of course having such products could tempt your chauffeurs and drivers to help themselves to a snack. You must set up a system to control supplies. Have drivers verify the contents of a plastic storage container when they check them out. Create a checklist with the selling price of each item in the box. When the box is turned in, you should do an inventory, add up the cost of any missing products, and bill your driver. There is a pitfall here. If a product is missing and your driver can’t explain why, you cannot charge the driver under federal labor laws.

Smooth Operations provides a broad range of information focused on new ideas and approaches in management, human resources, customer service, marketing, networking and technology. Have something to share or would like covered? You can reach LCT contributing editor and California operator Jim Luff at [email protected]

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Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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