College of Western Idaho (CWI) has partnered with a national vending machine operating company, Canteen, to provide a self-service food and vending market for the CWI community. CWI has opened the Canteen micro-market at its Ada County Campus Pintail Center to determine the feasibility of expanding the service to other locations. The market offers a variety of items, including fresh food, to its customers.
The micro-market concept is based on an honor system of payment. Customers can access items out of machines and pay at a kiosk. The kiosk will accept cash, debit and credit cards, and Paypal accounts. There are security cameras in the area to monitor payment.
The test site will be operational for six months and then evaluated for continued use. Success of the program will be determined based on overall use as well as adherence to the honor system. If theft is an issue, Canteen will discontinue the markets. If the program is successful, markets may be expanded to additional CWI campus locations. The number and type of machines can be customized by market location.
Micro-markets are usually found in controlled access areas such as staff lunchrooms or in hotel lobbies. CWI is one of the first higher education institutes to try the concept.