A seafood purveyor on Ile de Re, an island off the west coast of France, created an ingenious vending machine that dispenses fresh oysters 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All of the oysters are sold closed, so some shucking is involved. Shellfish fans can also purchase oysters in advance via text, and if the store is open when the order is placed, customers can request special add-ons like seaweed. Here’s a French TV tour of the machine:
The owner, Tony Berthelot, explains:
People always arrive when the shop door is closed, which is frustrating for customers and for us... So we looked at the systems, we looked at what was being done in agriculture, because there are many distributors in the countryside. We contacted a manufacturer who responded and who fitted a machine for oysters since it is a particular product that is not very restrictive but requires some adjustments.
Customers can buy a dozen oysters for around $8. If Berthelot really wants to make some money, he should consider investing in one of those Champagne vending machines to sit alongside the oyster dispensary.