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Get ‘em while they’re hot
This french fry vending machine cooks the fries with beef fat or vegetable oil and dispenses three sauces in 95 seconds.
Well, it has finally come to this: fresh french fries can now be purchased from a vending machine.
An electronics company based in China called Beyondte has created the world’s first french fry vending machine, according to a press release.
The World's 24 Oddest Vending Machines (Slideshow)
And the best part is that the fries are ready to eat in 95 seconds. They can be cooked using either beef fat or vegetable oil and also dispense three different sauces.
This particular vending machine project has been in the works since 2008, but the concept has been tested (to poor results) since 1992. Beyondte is the first to perfect the machine.
To prove the machine can make fries that can compete with the big guys, it has even been tested in Belgium, where they don’t mess with their frites. Clearly, if it’s a proven success there, it has to be good. The machine is also expected to turn up in Croatia, Iran and Chile; no word when we’ll find it in the U.S., but we’re sure it won’t take too long.
You can witness the vending machine work its magic in this video.
It is about time that something this revolutionary has been created. All we want to know is where and when we can get our hands on one of these machines!
Ⓘ French fry vending machine. A French fry vending machine is a vending machine that dispenses hot French fries, also known as chips. The first known french fry v ..
A French fry vending machine is a vending machine that dispenses hot French fries, also known as chips. The first known french fry vending machine was developed circa 1982 by the defunct Precision Fry Foods Pty Ltd. in Australia. A few companies have developed and manufactured French fry vending machines and prototypes. Furthermore, a prototype machine was also developed at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
1.1. Brands, manufacturers and prototypes Historical
The now defunct Australian company Precision Fry Foods Pty Ltd. designed the first known French fry vending machine, named Mr. French Fry. The company registered the design with the Australian government in January 1982. The machine cooked hot chips within 60 seconds, and operated using three AUD .20 coins. A salt packet was included underneath the cup that the chips were served in.
Another company, Houser Vending Co., Inc., developed a French fry vending machine named Mr. Crispys, which was used in various locations such as college campuses and factories since at least September 1990. The fries were cooked in 365 °F sunflower oil for around 40 seconds, and 500 orders of fries were prepared before the oil was changed. The machine had a feature that automatically turned it off in the event of a malfunction, and it also had a fire extinguisher built into it.
1.2. Brands, manufacturers and prototypes Contemporary
Beyondte Technology, based in Shenzhen Province, China, began development of the Robo French fry machine in 2008, which delivers hot French fries in around 95 seconds. Beyondte Technology was acquired by Breaktime Solutions in Belgium. The machine was developed by Belgian entrepreneurs, and field tested in Brussels, Belgium during the summer of 2012. The machine weighs 750 pounds, and can cook French fries in beef fat or cooking oil. The machine requires manual servicing and cleaning after around 150 orders are prepared. Later developments included installation of a ventilation system that uses three filters to reduce odors emitting from the machine. The New York Post has referred to the Robo French fry machine as the "Rolls Royce of vending machines." In August 2013, an order of French fries from the machine was priced at USD $3.50.
E-Vend Technology, a Russian company, manufactures a French fry vending machine in China and Israel using technology from the United States. The machine uses frozen French fries, and prepares them in around 45 seconds using hot air, rather than cooking oil.
Fotolook, s.r.o., based in Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia markets a French fry vending machine.
After ten years of development, in January 2015 the Hot Chips Company in Perth, Australia released a hot chips vending machine that uses rice bran oil. The company stated plans to produce and market more machines sometime in 2015, and has developed four prototypes that were tested in Adelaide and Perth. The prototypes also supply condiments, including one named "chicken salt," which is chicken-flavored salt popular in Australia.
In September 2015 at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, students and entrepreneurs presented a fully automatic, prototype vending machine that cooks frozen potato strips by deep frying them. The final product is served with mayonnaise, ketchup or curry. The process takes around two minutes from start to finish, in which the product is served in a paper cup. The potato strips are stored in a frozen state inside the machine at −18 °C, and it cooks them in oil at 180 °C. The unit uses a specially-designed dispenser to prevent the potatoes from being crushed or broken. As of September 2015, only the single prototype is available, which is housed at Wageningen University. Orders are placed using a touchscreen, and a fork and salt are provided separately in a box.
In Praise of the Vending Machine
Why you should think twice before turning your nose up at the ol&rsquo vending machine.
They’re around every corner in the airport when you need a quick slug of caffeine. They’re in the break room when you’ve forgotten your lunch and spy a package of peanut butter crackers calling your name. They never have a line that’s too long, and never makes you wait for a table. Yes, vending machines are a trusty ally that continue to play an outsized role in how we snack and sip throughout the day. Often overlooked, but always reliable, these friendly food and drink dispensers are constantly there in a pinch𠅊nd it’s time they get the credit they deserve.
The first coin-operated vending machine was created in London during the late 1880s as a means of selling postcards. The concept soon caught on in the United States, where the Thomas Adams Gum Company used the technology to begin selling packets of gum to commuters on train platforms in New York. Since then, vending machines have grown to sell everything from classic goods—like Pringles and Snickers bars—to some downright impressive (and strange) things in our modern era. They’re on street corners in small towns, in hospitals and auto dealerships, and in many cases, public schools. I remember the middle school thrill of getting a Fruitopia from a hallway vending machine, my crumpled-up dollar bill finally accepted by the persnickety machine. (Never would I have imagined then that, years later, I𠆝 be getting a tiny bottle of champagne from a vending machine in London.)
Today, vending machine makers seem determined to prove that literally anything can be created and dispensed via the power of mechanics. China has a vending machine for live crab. There’s a burrito vending machine in Los Angeles, and wildly popular pizza vending machines across Italy. Pecan pies are all the vending machine rage in Cedar Creek, Texas, and there are multiple companies around the world𠅏rom Russia to France—that have created their own version of a French fry vending machine, complete with condiments. What a city or country decides to prioritize by putting in a vending machine is something of a cultural litmus test for what foods they see as being the most deeply engrained in society.
But the place that excels at vending machine wackiness head and shoulders above the rest is Japan. With over five million vending machines nationwide, there’s a little something for everyone when it comes to what they stock. There are uber-popular beer and sake vending machines, and slightly-less-popular mackerel soup vending machines. There are vending machines for apples, and vending machines for crepes. Veering out of food, there are even underwear and necktie vending machines. The Japanese know all too well that the convenience of the vending machine cannot be overstated.
So while in the United States we still largely associate vending machines with cartoon tropes (like Homer Simpson getting his hand stuck while trying to steal candy), it’s time we adopt a Japanese level of reverence. There’s a food holiday for just about everything now, so why not launch National Vending Machine Day? I guarantee everyone would have a story about a time a vending machine—whether old-fashioned or new-fangledme through for them.
Carvana , an Arizona-based tech startup, sells used cars online and through vending machines that stand as tall as office buildings. The machines have primarily been installed in the southern United States but Carvana has recently expanded to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC.
Thanks to a baker named Jean-Louis Hecht, the wand-shaped loaves received the vending machine treatment. Hecht's invention, a 24-hour baguette dispenser that's fed partially cooked dough and completes the baking process to yield fresh, crispy bread, debuted in 2011 during France's August holiday period, a time when many boulangeries close.
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Vending machines go high-tech
Vending machines, which came on the scene in the 1920s to sell candy bars and tobacco products, now dispense everything from freshly brewed coffee to just-cookedand brownedfrench fries.
The technology already exists to make vending machines accept credit cards and perform self-diagnostic tests, although such units arent in use in very many places. Still, the machines are putting out much more satisfactory products, which gives Spokanes roughly 15 vending-machine companies new ways to compete.
There is no comparison, when compared to the foods produced by vending machines just five years ago, says Wes Lindsay, vice president of 68-year-old Alliance Vending Corp., of Spokane. Before, the food tasted like cardboard. Now, it actually tastes like food.
One vending machine company here, A-1 Vending Services Inc., is introducing a new generation of machinesones that prepare and dispense crispy french fries and others that heat and brown entrees. Its also looking at coffee units that not only brew coffee, but grind the beans moments earlier.
Another Spokane company, All-Snack Vending, is trying to establish its own niche by placing ice cream and frozen food machines in motel lobbies.
Bob Nechanicky, president of Alliance Vending, one of the oldest vending-machine businesses in the Spokane area, estimates that between 6,000 and 7,000 vending machines currently dot the Spokane-Coeur dAlene market, but the number of new machines is growing at a fairly slow clipabout 1.5 percent a year. That compares with a growth rate of about 5 percent just a couple of years ago, Nechanicky says. He says there is no regulatory limit on the number of machines that can be placed here.
The slowdown partly can be attributed to a proliferation of gas station-convenience stores, which take snack sales away from vending machines, and to a slowdown in the number of large employers moving into the Spokane-Coeur dAlene area, Nechanicky says. He explains that most vending machines are installed in buildings where a large number of workers can support them.
A couple of years ago, the Post Falls area and the Liberty Lake area were really growing, Nechanicky says. There were manufacturing companies, software companies, telemarketers, and those types of businesses coming into the area. Now, there arent as many companies that employ a large number of people like those coming in.
Most vending companies buy vending machines, compete to place those machines at certain locations, then pay a commission of the sales that a machine generates to the owner of the premises. Mark Ashley, who owns All-Snack Vending, with his wife, Linda, says that the standard commission within the industry here is 10 percent of a machines gross sales.
Undaunted by the industrys slow growth, A-1 Vending President Patti Miller says her company has been placing a new type of vending machine in some Spokane hospitals and Spokane-area high schoolsboth of which serve a large number of people. The machine, called the Ore-Ida French Fry Vendor, touts a big Ore-Ida logo across the front, and contains a refrigeration unit to keep the raw potatoes cold, a scale to weigh them out, and an oven to cook them. It dispenses 3.5 ounces of french fries for $1. Food companies like Ore-Ida are beginning to package products specifically for vending machines.
A-1 Vending already has installed the french-fry machines at Deaconess and Sacred Heart medical centers, Medical Lake High School, and Mount Spokane High School. Miller says that internal computers allow A-1 Vending to program when the machines can dispense fries. The company programs the machines at high schools so students cant buy french fries during the lunch hour, and the machines thus dont interfere with the schools hot lunch programs.
Meanwhile, A-1 Vending also has exclusive rights to market throughout Eastern Washington a new type of vending machine called Hot Choice machines, which contain frozen food items and an oven that heats them.
Miller says that A-1 Vending began placing those high-tech machines, for which it pays about $13,500 apiece, including the cost of regional exclusivity, at business locations here in April and so far has installed fourone at Deaconess, one at Sacred Heart, and two at manufacturing facilities located at the Spokane Business & Industrial Park.
The company also is working to place two more Hot Choice machines here, Miller says.
The locations A-1 Vending has targeted with those machines have graveyard-shift workers.
That way, an employer is able to offer a hot meal to those workers, Miller says. It also is helpful for workers who have short lunch hours and who dont have food available nearby.
The vending machines store food inside a freezer set at between 0 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Each food item is precooked, frozen, and packaged in a cardboard serving tray thats encircled by a cardboard sleeve.
When a person deposits his or her money into the machine and selects a food item, the packaged item drops from the storage unit and a mechanical arm pushes the cardboard tray from its cardboard sleeve and into an oven. The oven uses hot-air impingement, which browns and crisps the outside of the food, as well as microwave energy, which heats the item thoroughly in a matter of minutes.
An internal computer is programmed with the appropriate cooking times for each item and also monitors the temperature of the freezer and diagnoses problems with the machine.
Once the item is done cooking, the mechanical arm grabs the tray, pulls it from the oven, and puts it back into the cardboard sleeve. The repackaged item then is dropped into a food delivery chute for the customer.
Miller says the vending machine can hold up to five of the 15 different food items available, which include french fries, hamburgers, personal-sized pizzas, grilled-cheese sandwiches, chicken strips, and breakfast sandwiches. The items cost customers between $1 and $2 apiece.
Miller recently saw a demonstration of another new machine, which sells coffee and pastries, and she currently is looking for the perfect spot to place one. That machine, which contains its own coffee grinder and specialized brewing system, would allow a customer to select a type of gourmet coffee bean, a flavoring, and the type of coffee beverage he or she preferred, as well as a pastry.
Ashley, co-owner and the only employee at All-Snack Vending, says his 10-year-old company has found the perfect spot to place ice cream and frozen food vending machinesmotel lobbies here.
Frozen food and ice cream machines are becoming the rage of the age so to speak, Ashley claims.
All-Snack Vendings machines offer frozen entrees, such as Red Baron personal-sized pizzas, Hot Pockets, and chimichangas. Unlike with the Hot Choice vending machine, though, the entrees must be heated in a separate microwave.
Although other vending companies are placing frozen food machines in industrial areas and hospitals, Ashley claims that motels are the perfect spot for them because many motels already have microwaves available to their guests.
Most motels anymore have continental breakfasts and provide microwaves so that guests can heat up their breakfast buns, Ashley says. Now, their guests also can grab lunch or dinner at the motel by heating a frozen entre in the microwave the motel provides, he explains.
Ashley says that finding the right location for a certain type of machine is the key to the vending machine business.
Convenience also is a big factorfor both vending machine owners and the operators of the machines.
Within the next five years or so, A-1 Vendings Miller says she wouldnt be surprised to see vending machine companies here gathering data about their machines remotely, rather than having to travel to each machine location.
Payroll is one of our largest expenses, says Miller of her six-employee operation here. So, if we were able to remotely evaluate which machines needed to be refilled, we could shorten the amount of time it takes to restock the machines and reduce labor costs.
All-Snack Vendings Ashley says he expects vending machines in Spokane to begin accepting credit cards and debit cards in the near future.
The electronics within the vending machines already are capable of doing such things. I just dont know of any machines that actually do that yet, Ashley says. To accomplish the acceptance of credit or debit cards, machines would have to be connected to a dedicated phone line, he says.
I dont know of too many places that would run a dedicated line just to a vending machine, says Ashley, adding, But eventually it will come to that.
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You'll Never Guess How The Internet Made A McDonald's French Fry Vending Machine
Just when we thought LEGO mania might be over, a new vending machine made entirely of the plastic building blocks has bowled us over. And that's because it dispenses McDonald's French fries, a.k.a. one of our greatest weaknesses.
Built for a video by YouTube channel Astonishing Studios, the plainly named French Fry machine dispenses the so-called "world famous fries" and a to-go packet of Heinz ketchup for just a buck. Insert four quarters and your kiddie-size spuds (like the ones in a Happy Meal) and condiment will pop out instantly.
This is a product born from both American ingenuity and salty cravings. And even though we're pretty sure those fries aren't fresh-from-the-fryer hot like we like 'em, watching them spit out of an entirely LEGO-made machine gives us so much satisfaction. Watch it in action for yourself:
What Vending Machines Need Is A Good French Fry
DETROIT - Since the coin-operated dispenser was patented in 1886, there is little that entrepreneurs haven't figured out how to sell from a machine.
Automobiles, investment advice, water skis come to mind. But there is one that really rankles the vendors: the french fry.
The hot oil needed to cook french fries causes so many maintenance problems that the machine-vended fry has been a commercial flop. Duane Neibel, who teaches vending-machine repair in Tampa, Fla., explains that the intense heat cooks not just the fries but the machine itself.
Now, potato people from Boise, Idaho, are conducting field tests on a vending machine that purports to do french fries without the oil - and thus without the problems that always frightened off the nation's vendors.
Understandably, this latest effort has caused a stir in the vending fraternity, otherwise preoccupied of late with the inadequacies of the dollar bill, the anti-smoking frenzy, the demise of the American factory and other continental shifts in American life.
Beyond the fry, new technology is having its way with the vending business. Next spring, a special credit card from Verifone of Redwood City, Calif., will make it possible to buy things from vending machines without money.
And with electronics, the vending machine is counting coins, alerting owners to problems, and more. The microprocessor makes it easier to raise prices, for example. Or it can give a discount on a Coke to someone who buys potato chips from an adjacent machine that is electronically linked. Or it will charge lower prices to the night shift at a factory.
Says Neibel: ``That's as exciting as these french-fry machines.''
It's about time the vendors had some good news, they figure, as they stare into the teeth of a recession. Layoffs are starting to cut into their revenues from factories and office buildings, the workplaces that vendors rely on for more than half their business.
``Business is slow right now,'' says Don Phelps, the owner of Food Systems Inc. in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., which has up to 40 machines at a single site. When
Alert vendors during the 1980s deciphered a unique message in the nation's shift from a manufacturing toward a service economy. One upshot: the advent of the white-collar vending machine. Designed to make money from the smaller number of customers in an office environment, it has food, snacks, and hot and cold drinks all in one.
Once the soul of the vending industry, the cigarette machine is being run over by the health movement and a regulatory outbreak that has seen one municipality after another restrict or ban it.
By the tens of thousands, the familiar 200-pound steel cigarette machines are being melted down and turned into I-beams, reinforcing rods and so forth.
People like David Baum, though, president of Mechanical Servants Inc. in Chicago, are rescuing cigarette machines from the scrap heap and dressing them up to peddle popcorn, perfume, aspirin, fingernail clippers, sanitary napkins and other sundries, all boxed to fit the cigarette-package-sized slots in each dispenser.
In the past decade, though fast-food joints have become a big competitor, vendors managed a 9 percent average annual increase in dollar sales - chiefly by jacking up prices, judging from data in the trade-publication Vending Times.
Tim Sanford, editor, says that there aren't a lot of economies of scale in the vending business. So despite the presence of such longtime major corporate players as Canteen Co., small and mid-sized independent local operations - often family run - still control 70 percent of the business.
Typical is Tom Koosis, a one-time math teacher in Detroit who bought a few gumball machines as a sideline 21 years ago and now has 110 people working for him at HAV Vending and Food Services Inc.
Fiercely independent by nature, the vendors are an anonymous bunch not given to rumination, says editor Sanford. Information about the industry is scarce, and marketing decisions are strictly seat-of-the-pants.
``I'm always getting calls from young women who want to know which products sell best from the slot in the upper left-hand corner of a snack machine,'' Sanford says. ``I tell them nobody studies that kind of thing.''
Perhaps for lack of such forethought, the fanciest ideas may have passed many vendors by. Automatic-teller machines, for example, are owned and operated by banks. Today, vendors are nervously watching the inflation index. They hate inflation more than anything. Rising prices require customers to carry around so many coins that many find it easier to buy their products elsewhere.
``If you're selling cigarettes at $2.50, it takes 10 quarters,'' says vendor Phelps. ``You dig?''
The devices on vending machines that accept dollar bills are not a satisfactory answer to vendors, who complain that the retrofit gadgets are unreliable at $500 a pop.
That is why vendors have joined with the blind and other unlikely allies to push federal legislation that would abolish the dollar bill - which blind people can't identify by touch - and replace it with a dollar coin.
But back to the french-fry machine.
Ore-Ida, a synergistic subsidiary of ketchup-maker Heinz, cooks the fries with hot air in what is basically a convection-oven approach. Stone and others report that the fries are very good.
Ore-Ida has solicited bids from several vending-machine manufacturers and hopes to have 50 or 100 french-fry machines in field tests by next spring. Meanwhile, it will work on what is described as a slight smoke and odor problem. Ore-Ida will decide in a year whether to enter full-scale production.