1983 Hot chip vending machine

The now-defunct Precision Fry Foods Pty Ltd claimed to have invented Australia’s first hot chip machine. It operated in Robe, South Australia, with the brand name Mr French Fry. However, I am informed by a former employee of Streets Ice Cream that there was a hot chip machine in their staff canteen from at least 1980.

The design for the Robe machine was registered in May 1983 and was renewed until 1992. My ex-Streets informant tells me that their machine was looking well-used and loved by 1980, so Precision Fried Foods’ claim was clearly spurious.

Recently, a Chinese company claimed to have the world’s first hot chip vending machine. Their website (now unreachable) described the process as follows:

French fries vending machine is a machine which can automaticly cook the potato chips after customers insert the bill or coin. process is as follows; vending company put the machine on pubic place—-vending company operator load frozen french fries in the machine—-customers insert bill or coins to the machine—-machine despense and weight 150g frozen french fries—-machine—-deliver the 150g to fryer for cooking—after 90 seconds, the hot and fresh is ready in is paper cup—-at same time, one sauce box is depensed by machine—-customers open the door and take the cups with hot french fries and box with sauce and enjoy it.

There is also a Russian-made machine that claims to cook the fries with a blast of hot air, removing the need for constant cleaning. This is evidently a problem with the Chinese machine as the manufacturers point out:

Environmental Sanitation: Cleaning is another important issue, because it is food business, clean including the ground around the machine(this action always ignored by operator. But it is must, because clean environment give people good appetite) within 10 meters, machine case and machine inside. All this must be cleaned like the Mcdonalds and KFC shop inside, if you can not keep this, the sales may decrease 50%

The Belgians (who claim to have invented French Fries back in the 1600s) have also developed a hot chip vending machine that adds a dash of beef fat to the product, a final touch they consider adds the essential flavour to the chips. Their machines were introduced in the UK in 2013.

In December 2014 a Western Australian company announced its intention to roll out hot chip vending machines nationally. The Western Australian scheme was a joint venture between The Hot Chips Company, which spent more than five years developing the vending machines, and WA potato processor Bendotti Exporters. The machines were introduced in Perth in 2016, but the Hot Chips Company was deregistered the following year.

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