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Cool Offices: Canteen Vending quadruples its space, shows off its tech

Cool Office

Published February 26, 2019
By Carrigan Miller  – Staff writer, Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

Canteen Vending was bursting at the seems in its Twin Cities office.

“We were at capacity the day we moved in,” Sam Steffen said. Steffen is Canteen’s district general manager. He describes an office with only one conference room, which was usually packed with employees who didn’t have a permanent space.

Total office space was a tiny 3,000 square feet. And its warehouse, where vending machines are repaired and shipped out, wasn’t much better. Delivery trucks had to park on the street when they weren’t out dropping off machines.

A change was needed, but finding a space wasn’t easy. Canteen required both warehouse space and an office that was nice enough to attract and retain talent. It settled on a building in Southeast Minneapolis which had sat unused for years.

“To the design team, the outdated building had exponential potential to function effectively for the company,” said Derek Lillo, a project manager at BDH + Young. BDH + Young was the architecture firm hired for the project; Sever Construction Co. served as the general contractor.

While the building already had an office, it was torn down in favor of a new, 12,000-square-foot space. The rest of the 135,000-square-foot building became warehouse space. Canteen had doubled in size, in terms of both revenue and employees, but it quadrupled its physical size with the move.

The warehouse is automated, which makes deliveries more efficient, while the extra room gives employees space to park their trucks when they’re not in use.

A new Innovation Lounge gives Canteen an area to display its technology to existing and potential customers.

However, it’s not just the lounge that features Canteen’s latest technology. The cafeteria is outfitted with Canteen vending machines, as well as an Avenue C micro-market. The micromarket, which is subsidized for employees, looks like a convenience store and has a self-checkout. In addition to sodas and snacks, the market offers items like a sriracha chicken salad wrap and a grilled chicken Caesar salad. Steffen’s current favorite is the caprese salad, though his picks aren’t always so healthy.

“The guilty pleasure is still a Snickers bar,” he said.

The point of the cafeteria isn’t to show off Canteen’s products; it’s to create a sense of unity in the company.

“I wanted to make it a place where people were going to engage with each other,” Steffen said. “We just wanted to give back to the employees.”

  • Business: Vending machine company
  • District general manager: Sam Steffen
  • Employees in the office: About 110
  • Address: 700 24th Ave. SE, Minneapolis
  • Office opened: November 2018
  • Size: 135,000 square feet
  • Floors: 1
  • General contractor: Sever Construction Co.
  • Architect: BDH + Young
  • Brokers: Cushman & Wakefield

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