365 Retail Markets has come a long way since our start in 2008. Over the last 15 years, we’ve evolved from just one person creating technology out of his garage to an industry leader servicing millions of people in over 30 countries around the world. Hear directly from the 365 team to learn how our focus on an exceptional customer experience, constant innovation, and developing best-in-class convenience technology has made us the global leader in unattended retail technology.

One Man, a Garage, and an Idea

365 started with one person and an idea: Joe Hessling wanted to provide workplaces with great, convenient food solutions right on site. “I started this business in my garage in probably 2007, 2008 era,” said Joe Hessling, CEO and Founder of 365 Retail Markets. “I was an operator. I was somebody who actually provided food to corporations here in the Detroit area.” One day, Joe’s customers came to him with a problem—they were looking to cut costs, but didn’t want to sacrifice the food and beverage options they had on location.

Joe, being the entrepreneur he was, immediately searched for a solution to their problem. He found a technology partner that would allow him to provide his clients food but with the cost cuts they were asking for. “One of the partners that I brought in was a self checkout company,” said Joe. “About a year to two years into our relationship, they decided they didn’t want to do that anymore. And they called me and said, either you’re going to buy this business from me or we’re going to close up. So I drove a truck down with a truck and picked up everything and brought it to my house.”

After some trial and error, hard work, and a bit of luck, Joe started seeing success with his new self-service checkout technology business, and he began growing the 365 Retail Markets team. In 2012, Ryan McWhirter, 365’s now VP of Product Management, joined the company.

“When I started back in 2012,” said Ryan, “we were in the back of an auto body shop, which was a bit of an upgrade from Joe’s garage, but not much so.” In 2013, they upgraded again to the current 365 Retail Markets headquarters off of Maple Lawn in Troy, MI.

At that time, they were still starting out small with the micro market, self-checkout kiosk concept.. “When I started…maybe 50 kiosks out in the wild,” Ryan explained. “We were just starting to win over some of the big teams in the industry. And our goal back then was to really be the leader in micro market technology.”

Back in those days, 365 had dreams of being the leader in micro market technology. Today, 365 Retail Markets has accomplished that and more. Over the years, 365 has expanded into different markets like dining, vending, warehouse management, smart stores, catering, and more.

Unattended Retail Technology Done Right

365 Retail Markets is a technology provider to foodservice operators and vendors who then, “provide food service to large corporate campuses, educational campuses, and manufacturing facilities,” explains Gale Henderson, Sr. Communications Manager at 365 Retail Markets. We also help, “small organizations that still need to provide some type of food service for their employees or other consumers. So that could also mean hotels or restaurants or catering entities as well.”

In the beginning, 365 focused on customers in the convenience services industry. Since then, we’ve gained a lot of new customers in non-traditional vending operators or micro market companies like the United States Coast Guard. Many of these new customers are, “people who have a need in their workplace to have refreshments and have food service that either operated by themselves or maybe outsource the service to traditional operators,” said Ryan McWhirter. “But we’re seeing a lot more WeWorks and things that are coming to us saying we’ve seen your solutions and we think they’ll work in our environment.”

365’s Unique Value Proposition

Over the years, 365’s core goal has not shifted since Joe created his first self-service machines — we are focused on solving problems for our customers. “What 365 is trying to achieve for the customer is really not just to be a technology provider, but actually to be a solution provider,” Jacob McNulty, Chief Customer Officer at 365 explains. “Our unique value proposition at 365 is showing customers how to progress in this new world of unintended retail and technology food service management.”

Ryan McWhirter furthered this statement, explaining that 365 doesn’t hand off the product and tell its customers good luck. Instead, 365 focuses on the customer fully understanding how our solutions work for you and how every product plays into our Connected Campus™. 

Ryan said, “I think that consultative approach, the fact that we stand behind our products, we have world-class leading support right here in Michigan and all over the country now. That we listen to our customers and help them win deals that they wouldn’t have otherwise won without us. It is a big reason why customers come to 365 and keep coming back to 365.”

Growth Outlook of 365 Retail Markets

We’ve touched on benefits like convenience, safety, and things like inventory management, but those aren’t the only benefits of adding unattended retail to your campus dining offerings. Adding unattended retail can help you reduce expenses and can often be implemented easily to your institution.

In just a decade and a half, 365 has grown to serve millions of users in over 30 countries around the world, but many of the original team members have stayed and grown with the company. “I look around every day,” said Joe Hessling, “and…there are many people here who were in our first office. They’re still here, and they didn’t start off where they were and where they ended up today are in much higher positions, a much different career path.”

“When I joined 365, we had about 70 employees,” said Krishna Vedula, Chief Technology Officer at 365 Retail Markets. “Now we are up to 600 and pushing. So along the way, I’ve seen some of the people that were within technology – a tester or a developer – are now a manager or a director, depending on their capability, their aptitude.” These types of opportunities are all over 365 and anybody who wishes to take on a bigger role is often given that chance.

“I really get to work with a talented group of people in pushing the envelope of what the new world of retail is going to be,” Jacob McNulty said. “We’re literally on the forefront of what retail will look like for years to come. And that’s beyond exciting to me.”

With all this growth 365 Retail Markets keeps innovating and delivering high-value solutions for their customers.

“I have a vision of what I’d like 365 to be,” Joe Hessling explained. “I do believe that the marketplace is growing and that marketplace is becoming primarily self-service and self-service driven and majority of our products have some sort of self-service functionality. I believe that 365 can be the standard globally for self-service.”

Learn More About 365 Retail Markets