The World's Coolest Vending Machines, From Champagne To Live Crabs

Vending machines are so much more than just snack food and sodas. These unique machines dispense things you didn't even know you needed, including practical items like pizza or french fries on demand. You can even get luxury items like caviar and champagne. Today's vending machines have come a long way and stock so much more than just chips, candy, and soda. You can get a healthy meal, ingredients for tonight's dinner, or a celebratory dessert all with the push of a button.


Vending machines date back to the early 20th century. Keedoozle was one of the first to use on-demand grocery services in 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee. The technology of the time couldn't keep up with the demand, however, and many orders ended up incorrect. Even though it didn't survive, the model used for these first machines provided the basis for automatically vended goods today. Advancements in technology today allow perishable goods to be stored in refrigerated compartments. Some are stored frozen and heated on-demand to create fresh pizza, bread, or even mashed potatoes. You can also find items to take home, like pies or salads. Today's technology works for vending machines of the future that give customers access to just about anything.


Get soft serve ice cream

No matter the time of day, you can get soft serve or frozen yogurt in just around 30 seconds at an iCream vending machine. They serve well-known ice cream and frozen yogurt brands, although they are limited to fewer available flavors than what you'd find in most restaurants or stores. The treats are kept frozen inside the machine and dispensed upon order into convenient cups. To get your ice cream, simply select a size and flavor, plus desired toppings. The machine does the rest. It even includes a folded-up spoon underneath the cup.


You can find these machines mostly around Southern California. A reporter for Los Angeles' KTLA5 tried one of the machines at the mall and remarked that the Pinkberry ice cream from the machine tasted just like what you would get from a store, except that it was ready in a fraction of the time. Plus, because the vending machine worked so quickly, there wasn't a line to order as you might expect at an in-person ice cream parlor. You can customize your scoop with toppings to create just the right mix of flavors. And don't worry — daily cleaning ensures that the machines serve delicious ice cream that meets all food safety standards.

Indulge in vending machine caviar

If you're in Los Angeles, you can pick up caviar from a vending machine in one of the city's luxury malls. The Beverly Hills Caviar kiosks sell multiple types of caviar in a variety of sizes and come in insulated packaging to keep the caviar cool and fresh. The machines stock numerous varieties of caviar from different species of fish and parts of the world, including pricey options and more budget-friendly fare. If you want something to go with your caviar, pick up some escargot, truffles, or fancy salts to round out your luxury snack.


Patch reporters shared that the kiosks were located in high-end malls in Los Angeles, California. This vending machine has a pretty niche market and stocks imported caviar, so don't expect to find them popping up at your local convenience store anytime soon. If you're not local to Los Angeles, you can order the same products online and have them shipped directly to your home. If you are in Los Angeles, the kiosks are tied to the online retailer and let you browse what's available before making a trek to the mall to pick it up. You can also order at the vending machine if you're walking by and get a caviar craving.

Pick up mashed potatoes from a vending machine

Once upon a time, you could enjoy some comfort food quickly thanks to mashed potato vending machines in Singapore that used water and instant mashed potato powder. Sadly, it seems these machines were discontinued. They were located at 7-Eleven chains and created instant mashed potatoes on demand. You could add gravy to your order, which was dispensed at the same machine. There was also a barbecue mashed potato option. A single serving was just $1.00 and ready in a fraction of the time of homemade potatoes.


Unfortunately, the mashed potato vending machine didn't have a big following and couldn't hold a candle to the many other interesting convenience foods available. The exact reasons for the decline weren't shared but ABC News reported that the consistency was more liquidy than homemade mashed potatoes, which may have led to less than enthusiastic reviews. The convenience factor just couldn't make up for the lackluster taste and texture. So 7-Eleven said goodbye to the mashed potatoes vending and stuck with their tried-and-true slurpees instead.

Pop some champagne

You never have to go without a glass of bubbly when the occasion calls for celebration thanks to these champagne vending machines. In 2017, Town and Country Magazine reported on the first champagne vending machine's arrival in the United States, which set up shop in a hotel in Las Vegas. A true luxury, these machines draw crowds who want to experience ordering champagne from a vending machine. It doesn't take cash or cards, however. You have to purchase a token at the bar, at which point you'll show your ID. Then take the token to the vending machine and use it to purchase your bottle of bubbly.


You can get a mini bottle of champagne and even a flute to use to drink your champagne. It stocks Moët & Chandon champagne mini bottles in tidy rows. Simply select your bottle and watch as an automated arm grabs it and brings it to the dispenser window within seconds. You won't find a large variety of types of champagne in these machines. But the convenience and the novelty make it a fun experience to add to your night out in Sin City. Similar machines are located in high-end hotels in London and Manhattan.

Choose a whole pecan pie

You can take home an entire pecan pie made by Berdoll Pecan Candy and Gift Co. in Cedar Creek or Austin, Texas from a vending machine. You can choose from a whole traditional pecan pie, a chocolate pecan pie, pecan candies, chocolates, or other delicious options. The machine also stocks a few savory options, such as beef jerky. All are popular but the pies get the most enthusiastic response according to the company's testimonials. The machine is restocked nightly to keep up with the high demand. You can find Berdoll products in a number of retailers around Texas but nothing compares to the experience of getting them on-demand any time of the day or night from a vending machine.


A 2018 report from the Houston Chronicle noted that the machine had already been in place for a whopping 12 years! Berdoll Pecan Farm has been in operation making pies and other delicious treats for more than 35 years. They have a retail store and pecan farm where you can find pecans with a variety of special seasonings and coatings, candy, and souvenirs. One of their vending machines is located in front of the store for customers who know exactly what they want and need their pecan pie fix right away.

Find Wagyu beef in a machine

Another luxury pick is the Wagyu beef vending machine in Japan. This machine offers high-quality beef and features different cuts each month so you can always try something new. According to Sora News 24, these special monthly offerings include Wagyu from different regions or farms, each with its own reputation for high-quality beef with a particular flavor. You can choose from steaks, ribs, or other cuts. Some of the machines even have a lucky number generator that lets customers choose a number to potentially win a secret prize cut. These tend to be some of the more expensive cuts and can be a great way to try something new for a budget-friendly cost if you win. But all of the Wagyu beef is high-quality so there really aren't any losers when you opt for the secret prize choice.


Wagyu beef is characterized by its rich flavor and marbling. This means the meat is tender, rich, and delicious. But raising Wagyu beef requires strict testing, diets, and even stress monitoring. Wagyu beef comes from a specific breed of cow that is native to Japan. Increased production costs and exclusive availability mean higher prices for these steaks. The individual cuts of wagyu are some of the most expensive on the market and get rave reviews from those who get to try them. You'll certainly spend more for Wagyu beef than other vending machine snacks but it's well worth the cost if you love a great steak.

Stop by the cupcake ATM

Sprinkles Bakery has Cupcake ATMs in numerous cities in the United States that dispense baked treats anytime day or night. A product of the famous Sprinkles bakery, these vending machines keep boutique cupcakes stocked in a temperature-controlled ATM. To order, just choose your cupcake flavor, swipe your form of payment, and wait a few seconds for the machine to dispense your treat. Each cupcake comes out in an individual gift box with the Sprinkles logo on top.


Sprinkles currently has vending machines in California, Illinois, Nevada, and Texas. There are retail stores in the same states plus Arizona, Washington, D.C., Florida, New York, and Utah. The flavors and availability change based on what the bakery of currently making and shipping. There are some classic flavors like dark chocolate, red velvet, and sprinkles. Limited edition options change seasonally or for special occasions. These can be partnerships like the Casamigos margarita flavor or seasonal options like patriotic stars and sprinkles red velvet. There are even gluten-free, vegan, and sugar-free offerings.

Choose live crabs at the vending machine

One of the most incredible vending machines out there is the live crab ATM in China. You can get live crabs from a vending machine with just the push of a button. The Atlantic reported that these vending machines are especially popular in China where hairy crabs are a delicacy that's rare to find in stores. So if you have a chance to pick up these crustaceans from a vending machine, it's an excuse to spend a little money and enjoy the sweet meat. Unfortunately for international diners who want to cook crab, these vending machines are only found in China. The hairy crabs they stock, also known as Chinese mitten crabs, are only native to certain parts of the country and are considered an invasive species in many other parts of the world.


The machines keep them dormant until you are ready to cook and eat them. The system's cold settings trigger a response in the crabs that make them go dormant. They are also secured with small ties and kept in sealed containers. Each crab is sold individually from the machine, most of which are located near the subway. All you have to do if you're craving some crab for dinner is pick some on your way home and steam them with some ginger and sugar water, then enjoy a delicious dish.

Eat fresh pizza

You can enjoy fresh pizza made from scratch with these vending machines. These machines make dough, spread customized toppings, and bake it in a high-temperature oven for around three minutes while you watch. The freshly mixed dough is a combination of water, flour, and other ingredients. Everything from the sauce to the toppings to the cheese is put on each pizza individually after it's ordered. These pizzas are Italian-style and have traditional tomato sauce and toppings.


What makes this vending machine truly unique is that it doesn't just reheat frozen pizzas or dispense shelf-stable snacks. The dough is made fresh for each order and the toppings are customizable. When the pizza is prepared, it gets cooked before your eyes so you can be sure that it is fresh. There are observation windows in the machine so that you watch as the dough is mixed and the pizza is baked. When it's ready, the pizza comes out in a convenient box.

Enjoy French baguettes

In France, you can get a fresh baguette from a vending machine. You don't need to worry about the boulangerie, the store that sells baked goods like baguettes, being closed or running out of this staple food thanks to the 24/7 machines that bake baguettes. Because many stores in France close for lunch, it can be hard to find fresh bread for your own meal. This is why many of the baguette vending machines are close to boulangeries, even right outside. This allows customers to get their bread even when the store isn't staffed.


The bread comes out hot and just like what you would get from inside the store. There aren't as many options and most stick to baguettes only rather than stocking additional pastries or baked goods. You will get a genuine baguette, a staple in French cuisine, from these machines. France has strict laws about the ingredients allowed and the maximum length of a true baguette. They must also be made fresh and not frozen to be considered a baguette.

Snack on French fries

Get piping hot fries whenever you want with a french fry vending machine. There are numerous models, including those that promise crispy fries in less than a minute. You have to pay electronically first, choose your extras, and press the start button. Then it's just over 30 seconds until you have piping hot fries in hand. There is a countdown timer on the front of the machine so you know exactly how much time is left to go. Just don't forget the salt and ketchup add-ons! These are selected at the beginning of the order process before you start the cooking process.


The fries are precut in the machine but fried on demand. This keeps them crisp instead of soggy. They also come out hot all the way through. The fries are dispensed in a to-go cup that keeps them portable and provides a layer of protection from the oil and heat. The ketchup and salt toppings, if selected, go right on top of the fries in the cup. Unfortunately, there isn't an option to get ketchup after you place your order. Salt is also an add-on and doesn't come standard on your fries. This does allow customers to better control their sodium intake, however.

Make a salad with vending machine greens

Vending machines aren't just for convenience food. A salad vending machine in Japan stocks premade salads with greens, grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein plus a variety of dressings for healthy, on-the-go options. Appropriately named Salad Stand, this vending machine is refrigerated to keep the greens crisp and delicious. Toppings, including nuts, grains, and proteins are packaged on top of each bowl along with dressings. The salads are much more visually appealing than standard vending machine fare and include edible flowers, packaged dressings, and a variety of colorful, healthy ingredients in each bowl.


Even the exterior of the vending machine was designed to appeal to health-conscious customers who want to connect with nature while still enjoying the convenience of a vending machine meal. According to Japan Today, the machine has green and blue colors inspired by grass, sky, and nature scenes. Inside the machine, a variety of fresh salads are prepackaged. Once you make your selection, they are pushed onto an elevator and funneled to a window where you can pick them up. To reduce food waste, Salad Stand machines have artificial intelligence sensors that keep track of how often people stop at the machines, what they purchase, and which salads are the most popular. This helps them only make and restock what is needed.