It all started with a moldy peanut back in the 1920s in Chicago. Nathaniel Leverone was waiting for the train when he went over to the coin operated vending machine. The peanut machine dispensed moldy peanuts and the candy machine didn’t even work! Since vending machines were so unreliable and subject to scams, Leverone decided to start the Chicago Automatic Canteen Corporation. Leverone sought out franchise operators and business spread through Chicago.
The name “Canteen” was chosen because at that time “vending machine” didn’t have the greatest reputation. However, Canteen quickly transformed the vending industry through popular high-quality products, reliable brightly colored machines, and service men who were recognized and respected. After WWI, Canteen had become a widely recognized and popular word. Canteen was acquired by Compass Group in 1994 and has continued to lead through innovation, launching new vending technology, expanding its office coffee and refreshment services, and introducing revolutionary concepts like Avenue C.
From 1928 to today, Canteen has emphasized high-quality service, the safety of its associates, and the development of innovative products and services. To learn more about Leverone’s inspiration to create Canteen and the evolution of the company from then until now, check out our visual history!