Meet the “24-hour meat machine.”
The owner of a butcher shop and restaurant in Rochester, N.Y., told Fox News that his meaty new vending machine is a hit with customers, who can now purchase their steaks and chops with minimal person-to-person contact in a sectioned-off vestibule at the front of his shop.
“The response has been unbelievable,” said Kevin McCann, the owner and head butcher at McCann’s Local Meats. “On Saturday, I was cutting and restocking the machine four or five times.”
McCann can’t take all the credit for the idea. As he tells Fox News, his friend and mentor Josh Applestone, who operates Applestone Meats in the Hudson Valley, has been utilizing refrigerated meat vending machines for years.
“He’s sort of been a bug in my ear, trying to get me to do this,” McCann said. “And with the coronavirus, and [our efforts] to keep people safe, it just seemed like a no-brainer idea to implement at this time, as an added service to what we already do.”
McCann’s new vending machine doesn’t merely help with social distancing protocol, either. The butcher tells Fox News that he hopes his machine — which carries fresh cuts of meat as well as prepared foods — will also provide a much needed service for the local health care community in Rochester.
“With regards to the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of our customers here work in the hospital system,” McCann said. “A lot have crazy schedules, and not much time to do their grocery shopping. I’d like to give them the option to be able to come here, pick up a steak and a couple of different sides… to be able to sort of have a complete, healthy meal without having to resort to fast food.”
McCann planned to debut the concept at McCann’s Local Meats on Monday, June 1. But after stocking the refrigerated vending machine on Friday, as part of a test run, McCann said it only took a few hours for folks to find out about it.
“We didn’t announce to people that it was open. We figured we’d get to it on Monday,” he said. “[On Friday night], I wanted to show my wife, from the shop’s security camera. And I saw customers in there already, who were just sort of figuring it out on their own.”
McCann then spent the rest of the weekend slicing meat and stocking the machine for the influx of customers, all the way through Tuesday, when McCann’s Local Meats officially reopened its meat counter and take-out sections for to-go orders.
“It gave us a poetic opportunity to reemerge from this pandemic,” said McCann, who noted that June 1 was the company’s five-year anniversary. “It brought us back in a way customers would recognize and remember us.”