French fries have become synonymous with American fast food chains, but in western Australia one company is out to change that, delivering hot, fresh fries from a vending machine. Though called “chips” in Australia, the concept is the same, hot fries delivered at the touch of a button upon demand no matter the time of night or day.
Perth business man Peter Malone heads the Hot Chips Company. His revolutionary design relied on vending machine parts that were only recently available. His machine relies on a robotic arm to scoop the chips after they are fried in a 10-litre vat of rice bran oil inside the machine, which has the added benefit of being cholesterol free.
The risk of food poisoning is very low due to the fact that “potatoes are very much an inert product,” according to Malone. The challenge in creating the right size and shape of chip was greater. According to Stephen Bendotti, director of Bendotti Exporters and WA Chips, the final product would need to be “the perfect size and shape so that it doesn’t get lodged in the machine.”
At this point, Malone has two vending machines in use for the public, one at a service station in Adelaide and the other at Ibis Budget airport hotel in Perth. Malone has his eye on expansion with plans to have 5,000 machines in operation by 2017 in service stations throughout Australia. Malone also has plans to eventually expand his business worldwide. He believes marketing would take care of itself. According to Malone, chips are “popular worldwide. We don’t need to go and tell people that a chip is something they should eat.”
No matter the problem, there are vending machine solutions for every issue, including the need for hot fries even if the local drive through is closed.