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Vending Machine Bakes Fresh French Baguettes In San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- A new vending machine in San Francisco's Castro District may look like an ATM but the bread it dispenses isn't green -- it's golden brown. And warm. And crusty.

Le Bread Xpress serves fresh-baked baguettes on demand, all day long.

Company founder Benoit Herve says the Bay Area is a natural choice for his first U.S. location.

"San Francisco is very 'foodies' and it's also technology savvy," Herve said.

The machine is loaded with partially-baked loaves that are finished in the machine's built-in oven, a few at a time.

"It's a French recipe from a French baker," Herve claims.

A screen display tells the customer how many loaves are ready for purchase.

It's plenty convenient but what about the taste? We took one to Le Marais Bakery owner Patrick Ascaso to find out. He wasn't impressed.

"... Almost no life, no crumb. The dough was too quickly put in the freezer," Ascaso opined. "Whole Foods will sell better than this," he concluded, although he did admire the ingenuity.

There's more ingenuity where that came from. A growing number of restaurants are turning to tech to bring your food to you. In fact, a fully-automated hamburger restaurant is set to open soon in San Francisco.

Andreesha Oson is a bread-lover who had no objections to Le Bread Xpress.

"It's delicious, it's fast," she said.

And, at $4.25 per loaf, it could make a lot of dough.

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