Featured / Social / Community / 16th February 2023
Meat vending machines extend trading hours
Vending machines could solve the challenges of limited trading hours and staff shortages in country towns.
Countries like Japan are known for all the weird and wonderful things that are available 24/7 from vending machines, rather than a staffed shop front.
But it seems rural and remote towns in NSW could follow the trend, which fits conveniently with the country lifestyle.
Owners of Black Stump Butchery in Coolah, Sue and John Duggan, are trialling a meat-vending machine.
Mrs Duggan said, theoretically, vending machines are suited to the trading hours of smaller country towns.
“We don’t open on a weekend like a lot of small businesses,” she said.
“This way we are able to provide the community with 24-hour access to our products.
“Plus, there are shift workers and farm workers who aren’t necessarily in town during opening hours anyway.
“The main thing is the convenience for everyone. It gives people the opportunity to get our products even outside of trading hours.”
Mrs Duggan said while operating the vending machine was trial and error, it looked as though it was there to stay.
“We’re still working out what sells well and what vends well with the vending mechanism,” she said.
“We have been surprised at the talk it has created, but it makes perfect sense in today’s world.
“Butchers from all over the place have come to check it out and they’ve all said it’s a brilliant idea.”
Wally Dafter, from Dafter’s Quality Meats, said he could see how the idea could work in Coonabarabran, but said it came with obvious limitations.
He added that he wasn’t worried about the traditional shopfront being overtaken by the concept.
“I think it could work here and it’s something we could look into in the future,” he said.
“But there’s going to be obvious limitations with it.
“There’s only so much you could offer in a vending machine. You probably couldn’t offer big legs of lamb for example.
“And lots of customers come in and want their steaks cut to a certain thickness. Services like that you’re not going to get from a vending machine.”
Anthony Harris, from Krystie’s Quality Meats, said he hadn’t looked into the idea, but didn’t discount the positive aspects of a meat-vending machine.
“It’s something I will look into,” he said.
“We open Saturdays and if we had a vending machine, we probably wouldn’t have to, so it’s something we could definitely consider.”
PHOTO: Black Stump Butchery owner, Sue Duggan, pictured with the meat vending machine currently on trial in Coolah.