AAFES delays plans for vending machines to serve hot meals at Humphreys
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Night-shift workers hungry for a late meal at Camp Humphreys will have to wait a few more months before vending machines are set up with microwavable meals.
Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials had hoped to have the meals available by early October, but the plan hit a snag, said Ron Daugherty, AAFES general manager for the central and southern consolidated exchange.
Officials discovered that vending machines available from South Korean firms lacked the kind of shelving needed for stocking American microwavable products, Daugherty said. So AAFES has ordered machines from the United States.
The meals eventually will include frozen, microwavable items such as burritos, hamburgers, cheeseburgers and frozen dinners, Daugherty said.
Camp Humphreys has about a dozen eating places, but none are open past 10 p.m. So night-shift workers — civilian contractors, military police, medics and others — find it tough to get a meal.
Some 70 to 100 people work night shifts at the post, officials have said.
The new machines may be in place and working within about 60 days, Daugherty said Tuesday.
Plans call for putting one in each of three buildings with night shift workers: buildings 2014, 2015 and 2017, Daugherty said.
Meanwhile, as an interim measure, AAFES has added some “nontraditional” snack items to two regular vending machines, one each in buildings 2014 and 2017, “to add some variety instead of just chips and candy bars,” Daugherty said. The new items include Pop Tarts, microwavable popcorn, beef jerky and breakfast cereals, he said.
And they’ve added a food vending machine to building 2015, which previously had only a beverage machine. That new machine is being stocked with the same types of items as those in the other two buildings, Daugherty said.
Daugherty plans to check whether room eventually could be made in the three buildings for a bank of vending machines that would include one with the microwavable meals.
The move to make the microwavable meals available came after a Camp Humphreys community member brought up the night shift meal problem during a quarterly town hall meeting in August.
In response, AAFES officials considered keeping an AAFES eatery open late, but later dropped the idea, saying they’d concluded there wouldn’t be enough customers to make it profitable.
The vending machines with microwavable meals will be operating on a test basis, they said. Officials will track sales for probably a 90-day period once the machines are installed before deciding whether to keep operating them, Daugherty said.