Paris, August 12—Paris baker Jean-Louis Hecht may have introduced the bakery of tomorrow with his new automated hot baguette vending machine available round-the-clock outside of his boulangerie in the Paris 19th.
According to TIME, 1,600 baguettes were sold in January when the machine was installed and 4,500 were sold in July.
"This is the bakery of tomorrow," Hecht said in the Guardian.
Hecht was living above another bakery he owns in Hombourg-Haut in the Lorraine section of France when he conceived the idea for an automated bread dispenser as a solution to patrons who knocked on his door after regular business hours.
"It is answering a real need. People who work at night or early in the morning can get their fresh bread,” said Hecht. “To me it's a public utility."
The vending machine, which looks similar to an ATM, contains a heating unit and 120 par-baked loaves that bake to a crisp when a euro coin is deposited. After a few minutes, a steaming baguette drops into a slot, ready to go. According to Metro [UK], any loaves not sold within 72 hours are removed from sale.
You can see Hecht, an internal view of the machine with loaves baking and customers buying baguettes in this video from the Associated Press.
Commercial bakeries like the popular La Brea Bakery have supplied many U.S., U.K. and Ireland restaurants, grocers and bakeries with frozen par-baked baguettes and artisan breads for years.
Hecht expects his bread vending machines will become increasingly popular.
"It's like with banks: before, everyone went to a teller; now, everyone uses cash dispensers. It will be the same with bread: today, everyone goes to the bakery; tomorrow, they'll go to the baguette dispenser," he said.
With many neighborhood boulangeries closed for some or all of August, it’s a safe bet that Hecht’s August baguette sales will be hotter than in July.
Boulangerie Mathurin [No website. Note: store sign reads La Boulenge d’Antan]
Tél: 01 4208 7828
20, avenue Mathurin Moreau Paris 19th
Métro: Colonel Fabien