Vending machines are usually associated with long-life and processed packaged foods, to be conveniently purchased at any time. However, an entrepreneurial French baker recently rolled out 24-hour automated baguette dispensers next to his two bakeries in Paris and Hombourg-Haut, which ensure he can sell his baguettes even after his shops have closed.
Jean-Louis Hecht came up with the idea when, living above his boulanger, he was disturbed countless times by people wanting to buy bread after he had closed shop. The bread is partially cooked before being put into the machine — which cost EUR 50,000 — and finished off when a customer orders; delivering a hot, freshly-baked baguette within seconds. Each stick costs EUR 1, and when the machine debuted in January the baker sold 1,600 baguettes, reaching sales of 4,500 in July. Hecht told the Associated Press “This is the bakery of tomorrow. It is answering a real need. People who work at night or early in the morning can get their fresh bread. To me it’s a public utility.” The video below demonstrates how the baguette dispensers work:
Hecht puts himself at a financial advantage to his competitors, who close over public holidays and after business hours. Is there a demand for similar fresh convenient food in your area?