It all started with baguette dispensers. In 2011, an enterprising baker installed France's first bread vending machines. The baguettes are put into the machine half-baked, and then crisped and steamed to French standards — all for just one euro, any time of the day or night. Now there are hundreds of baguette dispensers all over France, and a Parisian butcher has unveiled the city's first meat machine.
The Rue de Charonne area in eastern Paris has more than a few butcher shops, but traditionally they all close on Sundays. Rather than leave customers hanging, meatless, in potential emergencies, a pair of butchers (Florence and Michel Pouzol, of L'ami Txulette, which specializes in Basque food) installed a machine that dispenses frozen, vacuum-sealed sausages and steak. The machine also carries beef carpaccio, ham from the Basque country, chicken, and eggs, and the prices average around 10 to 20 euros per item, payable by cash or credit card.
The sausage and steak dispenser is not without precedent (it's the fifth in the country) and in fact is part of a growing trend to make fresh food available through the week and around the clock, although it's the first one in Paris. France's first meat machine was installed outside a bar in the French town of Garat about three years ago, and an andouillette dispenser has enjoyed success in the tourist town of Mennetou-sur-Cher.
The L'ami Txulette butchers have high hopes for their sausage and steak vending machine, saying this fills a definite need for their customers.
"We're closed two days: Sundays and Mondays," Florence Pouzol told Associated Press:
So this is to cater for customers over the weekend....
The idea was also to serve people after the shop's closing hours. We close at 8 p.m. but some people leave work very late and find the shop closed when they walk past it.
The French machines followed on the heels of "hundreds" of meat vending machine in Germany, and at least one in the United States. The "Smart Butcher" went live in a Lil Mart in Odenville, Alabama, in 2011.
Last updated: 18 March 2016
Originally published: 18 March 2016