We meet the team behind R+R Hub, a new business but has been a few years in the planning after their sister company Cema Vending spotted an opportunity to provide an innovative approach to traditional workplace refreshment options. Their micro markets are designed as high quality, well-thought-out breakout areas, that provide a variety of refreshments. They believe that this addition to a business area can boost morale, mental well-being and productivity levels.

How did you get started? 

Cema Vending is the leading vending machine company in the East Midlands, supplying businesses with high quality vending machines in Nottingham, Derby and the surrounding areas.

They’ve been leading their market for many years but they spotted the chance to think a little differently with the concept we call ‘Micro Markets’ – they are essentially hubs which you can build a better breakout area around.

Picture the boring old office canteen; a bit dated, little choice, needs to be staffed by personnel, not always open, certainly not 24/7 7 days a week and let’s be honest, not always the healthiest or most inspiring environment or choice for employees! Well, we are the opposite of all of that.


In fact, we are part of the employee wellbeing and organisational culture equation. If we can help create a more inspiring space for staff to take a break, the productivity, morale and even the attraction and retention of employees can be positively impacted. Even the brand can benefit from a boost when you factor in the design options and on-screen messaging capabilities we have.


It is so much more than offering the occasional snack or treat when someone feels a bit peckish!


Have you seen an increase in business and from what areas?


It is still very early days for the business so it is hard to compare but we have certainly seen a massive surge in enquiries ever since Covid. Part of this is due to the safety factors that our cashless and human-free hubs provide and also the need and opportunity to reconfigure office space as teams change the way they work. In addition, the numbers of personnel required in the building at any one time is a different question now, with more flexible and remote working being a huge factor.


How do you see the market changing in 2021?


The market has seen huge disruption and with that comes innovation, often slightly more swiftly than is usual or than was originally conceived on business plans.


Take the typical work canteen, as businesses head into the new year and the new financial year after that, this is often the time that decisions are made on products, services, human resources and updating the environment in terms of the aesthetic.


Now though, with the uncertainty around staffing numbers, those decisions can be more complex. This uncertainty, this need to be more flexible with the space, is driving a surge in enquiries for our “canteen alternative” and you can imagine why.


Offices will increasingly become central hubs and gathering points as a significant percentage of employees will continue to work from home, from either a safety point of view or from their own work/life balance perspective, which has been brought into sharp relief by the events of 2020.


They will likely come to the office 2 or 3 times a week as a rule and more for the human contact, interaction and organisational culture factor.


Office consolidation will continue as staff numbers on site reduces due to the flexible working approach. In turn, this will see a further boom in the WeWork model of office provision and we expect to see a reduction in ‘non-essential staff’ and business outgoings such as the high cost of running a canteen, where options are available to change the model.


Meanwhile, those companies with the larger and more traditional office spaces will be looking for ways to pull staff in, so great breakout spaces with fantastic refreshments will be a great benefit, with employee wellbeing high on the menu.


What about the impact of WFH?

Businesses need to become far more flexible, both as suppliers and consumers. We dovetail nicely with this ‘new normal’ as we can offer daily deliveries and tweak them as needed depending on demand for when employers know that more people will be going into the office.

In addition, we can also offer workplace refreshments to be sent to home workers and in contrast, create little Incentives to bring them into the office such as meal deals which helps to foster a stronger workplace culture which is always a challenge when working totally remotely.

What is a misconception around employee wellbeing?

Probably that wellbeing is not just about physical health, mental health is a huge factor and simply taking a break away from your desk can really help people there.

There also seems to be a perception that improving wellbeing requires significant financial investment when it doesn’t.

A proper focus on employee wellbeing should be holistic, not quick fixes here and there.

The successful companies of the future will have this ingrained in their culture.