Atlantic Cities

Sprinkles Cupcakes Explains Its 24-Hour 'Cupcake ATM'

Sprinkles Cupcakes Explains Its 24-Hour 'Cupcake ATM'
Sprinkles Cupcakes

The Beverly Hills location of Sprinkles Cupcakes is opening a 24-hour, cupcake-dispensing "ATM."

What's more, a representative for the company says it plans to deploy similar automatons in every city it's located in – that would be 10 cities, in all.

That means that tourists in Washington, D.C.'s Georgetown neighborhood will soon not only be able to queue around the block for their frosting-slathered treats, but form a second line for the novelty of purchasing a cupcake from a banking machine, as well. It means that Houston, the fattest city in America, could be getting even larger with its round-the-clock access to cupcakes.

Here's the company statement on this startling development:

For Sprinkles addicts on the go, 24-Hour Sprinkles debuts as the world's first cupcake automat! This automatic cupcake machine dispenses freshly baked cupcakes, cupcake mixes, apparel and even cupcakes for Fido! In the heart of Beverly Hills nestled between Sprinkles Cupcakes and the brand new Sprinkles Ice Cream, 24-Hour Sprinkles will be continuously restocked day and night with a variety of freshly baked cupcake flavors.

The questions this concept provokes are many and mind-boggling. How will these cupcakes be "freshly baked" when the store is closed? Will there be a subsequent rise in crime as drooling cakeheads stake out the ATMs for easy marks? What if a doggie cupcake accidentally gets dispensed instead of a human cupcake – will people know the difference?

Candace Nelson, the founder of Sprinkles (and now a judge on "Cupcake Wars"), e-mailed this answer to perhaps the most critical question: WHY?

“I conceived the idea of an automatic cupcake machine after having late-night sugar cravings while pregnant with my second son. Even as Sprinkles’ founder, I couldn’t get my midnight cupcake fix!" Nelson says. "I thought, ‘There has to be a way,’ and so the concept of 24-Hour Sprinkles was born!”

Obviously, that covers some ground but not nearly enough. So Nicole Schwartz, who handles marketing at Sprinkles, folded in these responses to my food-based inquiries. Enjoy, and stock up on your insulin now.

How is this machine going to be able to deliver fresh cupcakes 24 hours a day? Is somebody always manning it?

The machine is attached to our bakery, which is essentially a 24-hour operation. By the time our closers leave at night, it’s 11 p.m. and our bakers arrive in the wee hours of the morning (2 or 3 a.m.!). We’ll constantly be restocking the automat with freshly baked cupcakes so the cupcake you receive will only have been baked a couple hours earlier.

What demographic is Sprinkles hoping to capture with this device? Late-night bar hoppers? People who don’t want to wait in line inside?

We want to target anyone who has a sugar craving, whether it’s midnight and you need your sugar fix or 6 a.m. and you’re on your way to work but need a cupcake for a coworker’s birthday. The automat will also offer doggie cupcakes (health department regulations will unfortunately not allow dogs in our bakery) so you don’t have to tie up Fido while you head inside.

How many flavors of cupcake will be available, and what’s the price?

Cupcakes will cost $4 each and the machine can hold up to 600 at a time. You will be able to purchase cupcakes of the day (we’ll offer approximately eight flavors in the automat). So if it is a Tuesday, you’ll find our most popular Tuesday flavors and so forth.

Are there plans to open other cupcake ATMs in different cities?

Yes, we plan to launch automats in all cities in which we have Sprinkles bakeries (the automats are dependent on our bakeries to receive fresh cupcakes).

When will this ATM be operational?

We are working hard to get it working within the next 2 weeks!

John Metcalfe is a staff writer at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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