Self-Service Food Market FAQs

Self-Service Food Market (Micromarkets)

The self-service food market concept has  with the rapid growth and success. The questions has become whether self-service food markets are classified as vending, convenience stores, or employee break rooms. The majority of states and localities are treating self-service food markets as retail food establishments.

In Texas, Micro Markets have been branded as Self-Service Food Markets. They are typically unmanned stores that offer fresh foods, snacks, and beverages for purchasing via a self-checkout kiosk. As stated in the definition above, the foods sold may be either prepackaged non- time/temperature control for safety food (TCS) food or time/temperature control for safety food (TCS)food; however, the TCS foods must be stored in specialty equipment that prevents their sale if held in a malfunctioning machine due to a power failure or other condition (similar to a health switch on a vending machine). An example of such a market can be viewed on YouTube (Keyword: Micro Markets) 

A Self-Service Food Market is a self-checkout retail food establishment that replaces a bank of vending machines. In a self-service food market a customer picks up a product from an open rack display, a reach-in refrigerated cooler or freezer, and then scans the UPC bar code or an RFID tag for each product at a payment kiosk. The customer pays with a single payment, be it cash, credit card or stored value card. Another unique feature of the self- market is that it operates without an employee present, just like vending machines. All self-service food market are equipped with a 24 hour a day security system monitoring customers as they make their selections and checkout. Self-Service Food Markets are designed to be in “closed locations. ”This refers to a business that has a moderately secured facility for a known group of employees where the self-service food market can be located in a designated area away from heavy public traffic.

Typically, a self-service food market is serviced on a pre-set schedule by a route driver. The route driver arrives at a location, checks the equipment to be sure it is working correctly, cleans the equipment on a set schedule, check products to be sure they are still “in date” and will be until the next service date, pulls any products that will be “out of date” and then stocks the product shelves and refrigerated and/or freezer units with new product. Through the use of on-line software, the route driver brings only what products are actually needed. The “out of date” products are returned to the warehouse for accountability and proper disposal at the end of day.

Frequently Asked Questions