Imagine it’s 1 AM and you really, REALLY want a cupcake. You want a cupcake so badly, you can’t stop thinking about it. But you don’t have the right ingredients to bake any, and your local cupcake shop is most certainly closed. What does a poor soul do?
Some might say the poor soul should just get over it, move on and go to bed. But those people 1. lack imagination, 2. probably aren’t dessert addicts like I am and 3. clearly haven’t heard of a new vending machine that vends freshly baked cupcakes. Yes, you read that right. A cupcake vending machine. Genius! The grocery store near my high school vended acne medicine and some department stores vend iPods, so why shouldn’t we have vending machines that spout out delicious sugary treats? The machine, dubbed the “cupcake ATM,” was developed by Sprinkles, one of the cupcake shops credited with starting the US’ obsession with cupcakes several years back. The machine is actually hooked up to a regular Sprinkles shop in LA, which is essentially a 24/7 operation anyway since its bakers have to bake through the night to keep up with demand. That means that the cupcakes in the machine can be stocked on a regular basis throughout the night- this isn’t like those stale, plastic-wrapped honey buns you find in regular vending machines (which really gross me out, just for the record!).
Strangely, this isn’t the first baked good vending machine I’ve heard of. Last summer a co-worker of mine sent over an article about a baker in France who developed a baguette vending machine. Unlike the Sprinkles machine, his is stocked with nearly-finished baguettes: the machine finishes off the baking process when customers pay for the bread. His inspiration came from the fact that bakeries tend to close on the early side, so people with later schedules are often out of luck getting their daily bread.
The Sprinkles model only works when attached to one of its normal bakeries, so don’t expect to see these “ATMs” popping up all the over place. And the baguette model hasn’t been widely adopted, as of yet. Still, it makes me wonder what sort of vending machine we’ll see next. I, for one, would love to replace all normal snack vending machines with produce vending machines… but don’t expect to see THAT happen anytime soon!