Vending machines: The bakery of tomorrow!
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Imagine this. You're stumbling your way home after a skin-full at the pub, or club – whatever your scene. You need something with carbohydrates to soak up the alcohol that’s making you see double. A takeaway is slightly appealing, but only in a greasy, stale, familiar sort of way. Then suddenly you come across a strange type of vending machine in the wall advertising ‘fresh bread’. You put 90p in and out comes a freshly baked baguette, still hot from the oven! This dream is very much a reality. Jean-Louis Hecht has installed Paris's first 24-hour automated baguette dispenser. The machine stores partially cooked loaves, which are then finished off in the machine when a customer arrives. The idea stemmed from his experience of living over his bakery, complaining that he was never left alone when customers would knock on his door after hours asking for bread. The first dispenser was placed in Hombourg-Haut outside his bakery and provides a 24 hour service so Jean-Louis can get some peace after work. He now has a second machine in Paris and plans to expand across Europe. In July he sold almost 4,500 of the loaves and expects to exceed that in August when many bakeries throughout France shut up shop for the holiday period. Marc Nexhip of the Paris bakers' union said; "I'm not convinced that good taste can be maintained over time. Maybe for 15 minutes, but not for several hours." Hecht is not discouraged however and said; "It's like with banks: before, everyone went to a teller; now, everyone uses cash dispensers.” He believes the vending machines to be the ‘bakery of tomorrow’.