Like most baked goods, a freshly baked baguette will taste at least a million times better than one that has been sitting on the shelf all day. There are times, however, when getting fresh bread is not really practical… or should I say hasn’t been practical because French baker Jean-Louis Hecht looked at that little problem and saw automated opportunity. Hecht now has an automated baguette machine sitting out the front of his bakery and business is booming.
An adventurous baker didn’t see that change as a threat to his business but rather an opportunity. He thought hard about ways to preserve the quality of the bread while dispensing them at customers’ convenience. The result? His baguette dispenser has sold 1,600 baguettes the opening month in January, and 4,500 in July.
Jean-Louise Hecht, owner of multiple bakeries in Paris and Hombourg-Haut in northeastern France, first got the idea for baguette vending machine as he dealt with customers who would chase him down at his apartment above the shop for fresh baguettes after hours. With many trials and errors, Hecht built a machine that turns precooked bread into steaming baguettes.
The customers seem satisfied, business is doing well – I say this is good example of a pure win… at least until bakers get replaced by robots.