The first modern coin-operated vending machines were postcard dispensers, found exclusively in London during the 1880s. Innovations from thereon focused mostly on dispensing various pre-made goods until the first Photo-Me customer in 1954 experienced the self-service photo booth. For the decades since, Photo-Me’s self-service vending has provided affordable and convenient solutions for millions of yearly customers; expanding into printing kiosks, children's rides, and self-service launderettes. Its rebrand from Photo-Me to ME Group International in 2022 further solidified its place as a global player in automated vending solutions as well as a market leader in photographic and biometric identification.
With more than 43,800 unattended vending units across 20 countries, ME Group’s mission from its inception has been to make life easier. Through decades of Research and Development, ME Group has empowered customers with self-sufficiency through time-saving and cost-efficient vending units. In the UK, these innovations are offered by way of three key brands. Photo-Me booths provide HMPO-verified photographic ID and seasonal fun photos to over 8 million customers a year. Revolution Laundry sees to the everyday laundry needs of Britons in over 650 locations. Amuse.Me, the UK’s leading children’s ride manufacturer, populates the British retail landscape with character rides from IP giants; such as its Minions ride from Illumination Animation.
ME Group, via its Photo-Me consumer brand, is a prominent international figure in the photo booth and integrated biometric identification solutions market; benefitting from an established network of more than 27,800 photobooths across all operating regions. Known as Photomaton in France and Spain, Prontophot in Switzerland, Fotofix in Germany and Photo-Me in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Finland and more, the Photo-Me brand remains one of the most recognisable across Europe.
Having benefited from the ubiquity of its 3,700 photo booth locations in the UK, the iconic illuminated top-sign of the Phillipe Starck designed Starbooths had long promoted themselves. However, for the first time in nearly a decade, Photo-Me, through its refreshed corporate brand ME Group, embarked on active campaigns for its most popular consumer brand. 2022 saw a surge in promotional activity for the iconic British retail-space staple, bringing its innovative proposition to light in the modern era. Responding to the post-covid holiday rush, the campaign proved successful in giving clarity on the Photo-Me booth’s capabilities. Namely, its Digital Passport ID service; which allows users to have their passport photo taken, digitally and securely transferred to the UK Passport office, and their passport application process expedited.
Internationally, the ME Group company culture is centred on adaptability, boldness, instantaneity and solidarity, with an emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility. At ME Group UK, home to the Photo-Me brand, there is an immense sense of pride in the innovative beginnings of the company. Founded on inventions, starting with our very first photo booth, ME Group UK uphold that same legacy by providing a singular service. For over 60 years, the team in the UK have endured industry changes to come out stronger than ever; dedicated to Making Easy work of everyday challenges through simplified self-service.