Who would have thought that the world’s most delicious, mouth-watering, savory, scrumptious cupcakes would be sold in vending machines?
Believe it or not, the war for consumers with a taste for gourmet cupcakes is being fought out in vending machines, and the winners are consumers who no longer have to put up with prepackaged products from several months ago, but now can enjoy freshly-baked delicacies delivered every morning to the automated machine.
The trend started a few years ago with a 24-hour cupcake-dispensing machine at Sprinkles, the Beverly Hills-based Holy Grail of cupcakery.
Charles Nelson, the cupcake empire’s CEO, wouldn’t go into specifics about the revenue earned from Sprinkles’ cupcake machines, but said each ATM serves about 1,000 cupcakes per day. Calculations made by Fortune Magazine report that if all six of the company’s machines are selling roughly 365,000 cupcakes a year for $4.25 each, Nelson has more than a $9 million business on his hands. The machine is so popular that when it debuted in Manhattan, customers were lined up around the block to use it.
More recent entries to the vending cupcake war include ChattyCupcakes, who introduced Pittsburgh’s first Automated Cupcake Machine, located at the Galleria Mall in Mt. Lebanon, PA.
MagexUSA, an Alps Innovations Group company, built the machine, and unlike other cupcake competitors, this vending machine is ChattyCupcakes only storefront.
“We realized we needed a way to get our cakes from the oven to our customers in an efficient and convenient way,” Ellan Toothman, Co-Founder of ChattyCupcakes said. “After meeting with several engineers in an effort to build our dream machine, we found a company that knew exactly what we needed. It was a joy to work with them and we appreciate their exceptional knowledge and extraordinary workmanship.”
On a recent morning, a steady stream of customers stood in line for their turn at the refrigerated machine, located just inside The Galleria’s front entrance near Starbucks on the ground level.
A young girl, who was supposed to be in school, her mom confessed a tad sheepishly – studied the inventory of gourmet offerings that included lemon chiffon, salted caramel almond, red velvet and double chocolate before settling on vanilla. Her eyes grew wide as she fed the dollar bills into the machine and watched the motorized tray spring to life. It moved up, up, up past row after row of little pink boxes, stopping at the vanilla selection and oh-so-gently retrieving one, then carefully lowering its payload to the dispenser below.
The little girl grinned as she claimed her prize, thoroughly inspecting its contents. The delicate buttercream was still picture perfect after its carefully orchestrated trip through the machine.
Ahhh… now where can we get one of these machines for our office?