What you need to know about the meat vending machine

Whether customers remain squeamish about pandemic-era grocery shopping or are simply looking for the ultimate in convenience, McCann's Local Meats, a butcher shop in Rochester, New York, is ready to "meat" their needs round-the-clock with its newly installed "24/7 meat machine" (via Facebook).

According to Fox News, the installation has proven a hit with customers, who can pop by and grab a bevy of carnivorous delights, sans human interaction, via a vending machine that's positioned "in a sectioned-off vestibule" at the shop's front. As owner Kevin McCann told the news outlet, "The response has been unbelievable."

Fans on social media echoed that enthusiasm from its initial unveiling, marveling at the unique meat-dispensing option. On the McCann's Facebook page, commenters called it "a thing of beauty" and "ingenious," with one going so far as to proclaim, "This is proof that there is a god."

Word quickly spread to national news outlets like USA Today, which noted that McCann was looking for a way to serve customers with "minimal contact" due to the pandemic — while being able to increase profits through 24/7 sales. And, he told Fox News, local healthcare workers, who often log erratic hours, can grab the goods when most convenient for them.

The meat vending machine's contents and inspiration

USA Today explains that the machine features revolving shelves stacked nine-high, giving customers a 360-degree look at different meats — think sausage, chicken, bacon, steaks, and burgers — plus a selection of sides, like macaroni salad and soup, at the press of a button. To minimize fuss, cash is a no-go, with only credit cards or Apple Pay allowed as payments.

However, McCann asserts that the inspiration behind his idea came from another operation. The Applestone Meat Company owns two outlets, in Stone Ridge and Hudson, New York, that are vending machine-only, spurred by the desire of owner Joshua Applestone to bring "accessibility and affordability" to the butcher business. After all, the model allows for less overhead by saving costs on employees' salaries, while customers are able to shop anytime. The company even offers a YouTube video explaining how to use its machines.

As Fox News notes, Applestone (successfully meat-vending for years) has been a mentor and friend to McCann, who finally landed his own cut of the serve-yourself market with his new installation. Clearly, a good call: Though he planned to officially launch it on June 1, tipped-off customers jumped the deadline, already swarming the machine days in advance.