Images: Kelly Noble
The first oyster vending machine has just opened in Australia taking home in Coffin Bay.
In the picturesque town renowned for its oysters, the vending machine offers a whole new way to enjoy the luxury stars of the sea.
People are welcome to grab a dozen oysters on the go 24/7 and keep kicking on with their day.
The idea is the brainchild of Oyster HQ co-owner Ben Catterall. It’s a concept he has had in mind for a number of years, before finally making it come to life and launching the vending machine on December 19, 2021.
“I had been talking about it for probably three years,” Ben said.
“It was a crazy idea to start with, but then I decided to give it a go.”
Ben owns the restaurant Oyster HQ and Coffin Bay Oyster Farm Tours along with Kim Thomas.
Running the oyster businesses, Ben was interested in a way to make it simple for both them and the consumer to trade.
“We do a lot of takeaway oysters and I thought of the vending machine idea,” Ben said.
“I did some research saw a similar concept in France – the only other oyster vending machine in the world.”
Ben designed the vending machine and contacted about ten vending machine businesses in Australia to see if the idea wasn’t too crazy after all.
He ended up finding luck with a Queensland vending machine business Vend 24. The machine took about a year to get up and running, and in December last year, Oyster Xpress was launched.
The vending machine is located at Oyster HQ on the ramp where people pass it as they come and go from the restaurant.
It’s available for use 24 hours a day and is restocked regularly whenever needed.
The vending machine works through an electronic keyboard. It describes what Oyster HQ and Oyster Farm Tours are all about. When touched, the screen appears with the numbers of each of the lockers in the machine.
People can choose a locker which includes the seafood they’re after, push the number and pay – it then opens automatically.
The vending machine offers a dozen open oysters for $15, and a dozen closed for $12 – but it isn’t just limited to oysters.
Seafood lovers can take their pick from other ocean delights such as prawns and mussels too.
Ben said after a month of operating it’s already been a massive hit.
“It’s far exceeded our expectations,” he said.
“If you’re staying at the caravan park nearby and you’re after some dinner, you can get whatever seafood you like from the machine.
“Everyone is very intrigued by the vending machine, but they all love it and think it’s a great idea.”
Oyster Xpress is located at Oyster HQ, 100 Esplanade, Coffin Bay.