Having Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. reject a proposal for ATMs in the chain’s more than 600 restaurants because modern technology didn’t fit its general-store motif may have been the best thing that could have happened to Supreme ATM.
That rejection led to the end of the Chippewa Lake, Ohio-based Supreme ATM name and creation of Custom ATM.
Custom ATM CEO Dennis Baker thought he had all of the bases covered four years ago in his proposal to Cracker Barrel, but he realized the chain needed a machine that fit its old-fashioned restaurant theme.
“We went to work on designing an ATM that looked like a barrel,” Baker says.
But that idea was shelved when the proverbial light went on in Baker’s brain as he realized that an ATM that looked like a barrel would only work in a Cracker Barrel restaurant. So, he thought, what if the ATM had wider marketing appeal, such as one shaped like a beverage can with the logo of any one of hundreds of beverage producers?
Out of those thoughts came Custom ATM.
But the actual process of establishing a beverage can concept took a few years, with Baker filing patents, finding proper ATM components to work inside of a beverage-can shaped ATM, and negotiating terms with the MillerCoors LLC legal teams for use of their company graphics on what would become the first Bevcan ATM.
When Custom ATM manufactured its first Miller Lite Bevcans a few months ago, the company placed the machines in a couple of bars, at a beer distributorship and at outdoor festivals, Baker notes.
And the company has its sights set on bigger venues in the coming months.
“We want to target banks that sponsor sports venues and also approach all entertainment venues, amusement parks and race tracks,” Baker says.
Large sports and entertainment venues represent the biggest potential for the Bevcan, but Baker says his company also wants to place units in bars, nightclubs and convenience stores.
The pricing and revenue plan Custom ATM has in place for clients may fuel success for Bevcan and a Bevbot the company is developing to look like a beverage bottle because it provides a steady secondary revenue stream, Baker suggests.
The beverage companies would pay $120 per month or $1,000 annually, to place their name and logo on a Bevcan ATM. Custom ATM clients would receive 75% of that marketing revenue, while Custom ATM would receive 25%, Baker says.
Potential clients, including independent sales organizations, either may lease or purchase the ATMs, Baker notes.
Custom ATM charges $125 per month for four years on a lease, plus the marketing revenue-split arrangement. Banks choosing to purchase a unit would pay about $8,000, “with a few more bells and whistles like cameras and GPS systems,” Baker adds.
Bars, nightclubs and stores would pay $6,000 if purchasing a unit outright. The same marketing revenue split would apply, he notes.
Buyers choose their ATM network and processor, while those leasing may operate through Custom ATM’s various network providers, Baker says. Louisville-based Payment Alliance International handles most of Custom ATM’s payment processing, he adds.
Baker believes the Bevcan has another advantage for clients.
“This machine is made of steel from top to bottom and is extremely durable,” he says.
In addition, the Bevcan is designed with the keypad and monitor on a door panel, making it easy for the Custom ATM technicians to make any future changes because of compliance issues that may come up, such as the recent Americans with Disabilities Act rules for access by the visuallt impared, he adds.
Attempting to establish an additional revenue stream for an ATM owner through a marketing program is a new concept and “not a bad idea,” says David Albertazzi, a senior analyst and ATM expert with Boston-based Aite Group.
“We’ve seen traditional ATMs in different settings, whether freestanding or wall cut or drive-throughs,” Albertazzi says. “So Custom ATM has come up with another way to present an ATM.”
Plus, he says, Custom ATM possibly could place on the ATM the name of the bank or retail outlet involved with offering the Bevcan to consumers.
Perception may be one downside for the Bevcan if potential users have concerns about the security behind an ATM that looks like a beer can, Albertazzi suggests.
“But Miller has a pretty recognizable name,” he adds.