06 February 2010
And now you can buy oysters
from a vending machine.
Supplier to the Elysée, Gillardeau has installed a machine
that sells baskets 24h/24.
You can now buy the "Rolls Royce” of oysters from a vending machine! This initiative, unique in France, comes from the "Gillardeau Specials" shop, which has been supplying the Elysée Palace from Francois Mitterrand's time in office. The vending machine is installed in a cabin near the shop at the foot of the Pont d'Oléron, on the mainland side. "The idea came from a joke made by our electrician, when we built our second cabin in June 2009. Witnessing our sales take off, he joked that we should sell 24h/24. We pursued this idea. "It took us a year and a half but we got there",says Thierry Mesnard. "We started with an instant-meals vending machine which already existed, then we adapted our baskets to the right size. We have already made baskets that will hold two dozen, and are currently working on baskets that will hold four dozen. The oysters are fresh every day, and the vending machine is refrigerated at between 5 and 10°C. Obviously this is approved by health authorities and the freshness of the shellfish is guaranteed" he continues. For the consumer, the system is simple to use: it works with a bank card, in the same way as at a petrol pump. They can be bought, therefore, at any time of the day or night, before crossing the Pont d'Oléron. The idea is really to provide an additional service to the customer. This is of course very practical: oysters can be bought outside the normal opening hours of the shop, i.e. after 6pm in winter or 7pm in summer. This also saves time during peak hours, at weekends or during holidays, for example when there are traffic-jams on the access roads to the île d'Oléron or when there are many people in the shop waiting to be served".