The Classroom Business Series: Vending Cart

Several years ago, my building principal came to me with the idea of creating a classroom business.  The teacher’s lounge had a vending machine with soda, costing the school more money than it could make.  Cue the Vending Cart! 


Setting Up

After all the logistics are figured out between you and your administrators, the next step is setting up your vending cart.  Decide if you are going to sell soda and snacks or only soda.  It is helpful to send out a survey to staff to get an idea of what kind of soda and/or snacks your building prefers.

Make a list of all the items you will need to get started.  

Here is a list to reference:

  • Clipboard
  • Money jar
  • Recipe boxes (keep punch cards and staff favorites)
  • Refrigerator for soda
  • Storage drawers for snack items
  • Money box
  • Visuals (label outside storage drawers and fridge, visual scripts for deliveries, etc.)
  • Caddy carrier
  • Hanging pockets for order forms

Share the Process

Once everything is ready, find time to explain the process to your building staff.  Explain how staff can purchase soda and snacks from the Vending Cart.  This is also a great time to pass out staff favorite forms to keep on file.  


Opportunities for Learning and Skill Generalization

Creating a business within my classroom opened the door to various real-world learning opportunities. 

  • Students can graph the sales of sodas and snacks each day (extend the activity by asking questions about what sold the most for the day or which one had the least amount of sales)
  • Community-Based Instruction – our class went to the grocery store each week to purchase soda and snacks to keep the vending cart stocked
  • Stocking soda and snack items daily
  • Counting money
  • Social opportunities when making deliveries
  • Building independence and learning to navigate the school building when checking for delivery orders
  • Communication opportunities

AND so much more!



  1. Thanks a mil Ashley. I know it’s going to be a hit with my class. So many positives and so many learning opportunities in this one exercise.

    • Thanks for reading 🙂

    • Absolutely! Thank you!

  2. Sorry-forgot to ask. Is this done to make a profit -to teach the concept of profit-or are items sold at cost?

    • Yes, to make a profit!

  3. I have to sell candy bars for at least 1.50 to make a profit. Please share where you buy the stock!

    • We buy through Amazon and have had to increase our prices to make a profit.


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