The concept of a meat vending machine is not new. Back in 2002, Dan Glier of Glier’s Meats Inc., in Covington, Kentucky, was the sponsor and operator of the Glier’s Goetta Fest held on grounds near his plant just across the river from Cincinnati. The event attracts upwards of 200,000 people each August and pulls in other vendors as well. Glier builds up the inventory for his scrapple-like product for several weeks before the festival and decided to put the home-created vending machine into play for “talk value.” He found that people talked about the Goetta Vending Machine and took lots of photos of it. That image and future conversations keep the company and the product on their minds, he feels.
“That is worth a lot more than a flight of radio spots,” Glier asserts. “Attendees wanted to take some of the product home as well. I found an old soda dispensing machine and converted it to sell 1-lb. packages of our product. Guess you could say we built our own meat vending machine. All the packages were the same size but we had four varieties of flavors. They were the original, a hot version, a low-fat turkey variety and the hottest seller, our bacon Goetta.”
Glier says things worked well for long periods of time, but occasionally a package zig-zagged out of alignment and would not dispense properly. After some adjustments to counter the dispensing problem he eventually opted for a water-bottle style of dispensing unit with a glass front.
“It actually had an arm that would grip the package and take it to a tubular slide where it would drop down for retrieval,” Glier says. “We now load the 1-lb. chubs in clear plastic cylinders that slide down the dispensing tracks just like a soda bottle to improve alignment.”
Glier also uses a graphic hand image that advises customers to “get Goetta.” He also takes the vending machine along when he exhibits at food shows.
At this year’s Goetta Fest, visitors purchased 650 1-lb. rolls of Glier’s product from the machines.
“We sprung for the high-end money changer,” he explains. “It accepts $20 bills and makes change with $5 bills and $1 ‘golden’ presidential coins.”