business news in context, analysis with attitude

Following up on the story from earlier this week about vending machines that are more like iPads - designed to appeal to a technologically savvy generation - an MNB user sent in a link to a story on, concerning a French baker who “recently rolled out 24-hour automated baguette dispensers next to his two bakeries in Paris and Hombourg-Haut.”

According to the story, “Jean-Louis Hecht came up with the idea when, living above his boulanger, he was disturbed countless times by people wanting to buy bread after he had closed shop. The bread is partially cooked before being put into the machine — which cost EUR 50,000 — and finished off when a customer orders; delivering a hot, freshly-baked baguette within seconds. Each stick costs EUR 1, and when the machine debuted in January the baker sold 1,600 baguettes, reaching sales of 4,500 in July.”
KC's View:
Beyond the obvious competitive advantage that this machine provides, it also points to something else - that technology can be used to provide superior products, not just lowest common denominator items. It is a lesson that I wish more US food retailers would learn. In a competitive environment, good enough is no longer good enough. At least, IMHO.