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卖蛋糕的ATM机怎样赚到900万美元

2014-04-03    来源:fortune    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

吃货们深夜也能吃到现烤的纸杯蛋糕了。美国两口子开的一家蛋糕生产商发明了一种专门卖纸杯蛋糕的ATM机,可以随时满足甜食爱好者的需求。他们已经把机器装到了美国6个城市,还在积极进军海外市场。据估算,他们现在一年就能卖出900万美元的纸杯蛋糕。

An ATM that spits out cupcakes instead of cash doesn't necessarily scream "genius business idea." Nevertheless, the quirky invention is now filling a popular demand in the American market: late-night cravings for freshly baked sweets.
一台“ATM机”吐出的是纸杯蛋糕而不是钞票,这未必会让人发出“天才商业点子”的惊叹。不过,这项新奇的发明正在满足美国市场一种很常见的需求,那就是深夜想吃现烤蛋糕的冲动。

In six cities across the country including Chicago, Atlanta, and most recently New York City, sugar addicts can now purchase a cupcake for $4.25 from an automated machine 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The freshly baked goods are handcrafted by the California-based cupcake shop Sprinkles.
现在,美国六座城市的甜食爱好者随时都可以在这样的自动化机器上买到纸杯蛋糕,每个售价4.25美元。这些城市包括芝加哥、亚特兰大和纽约,其中纽约是出现这种机器最晚的城市。这些现烤蛋糕由芝加哥纸杯蛋糕生产商Sprinkles手工制作。

The novel idea came to the company's co-founders Candace and Charles Nelson when Candace was pregnant with their first child. She thought it was ridiculous that she owned cupcake bakeries and couldn't get a freshly baked treat at an odd hour, Charles told Fortune. That craving inspired the company's first cupcake ATM in Beverly Hills, Calif. in 2012.
Sprinkles联合创始人坎迪斯•纳尔逊和查尔斯•纳尔逊夫妇在坎迪斯怀上第一个孩子时有了这个新颖的想法。查尔斯接受本刊采访时表示,坎迪斯觉得作为纸杯蛋糕公司的拥有者,自己却不能在非正常营业时间吃到现烤蛋糕是一件可笑的事。对蛋糕的想念促使这家公司于2012年在贝弗利山安装了第一台“纸杯蛋糕ATM机”。

"When we created the first cupcake-only bakery in 2005, we thought, 'Why can't the cupcake be the star of the show?'," says Charles. "What we saw is that we had customers who were demanding cupcakes 24 hours a day, but it doesn't make sense to have your business open at three or four in the morning ... fast-forward to the cupcake ATM."
查尔斯说:“2005年我们开了第一家只卖纸杯蛋糕的蛋糕店。当时我们的想法是,为什么纸杯蛋糕不能成为主打产品?我们发现,有些消费者随时都可能想吃纸杯蛋糕,但早上三、四点钟就开门营业并不明智……很快我们就想到了‘纸杯蛋糕ATM机’”

Charles, 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. By Fortune's calculations, if all six machines are selling roughly 365,000 cupcakes a 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 earlier this week, customers were lined up around the block to use it.
查尔斯是这个纸杯蛋糕帝国的首席执行官,他不愿透露这些“ATM机”的具体收入。但他说,每台机器每天大约要卖一千个蛋糕。本刊估算,如果全部六台机器一年出售的蛋糕数量约为36.5万个。按每个蛋糕4.25美元计算,这项业务的规模已经超过900万美元。这种机器非常受欢迎,以至于本周早些时候它在曼哈顿首次亮相的时候,等着买蛋糕的队伍都拐过了街角。

"It's really good and fresh. It's exquisite," said 12-year-old Shane Leonard as he chomped into a black and white cupcake from the ATM. Shane's sister Grace heard about the machine because it was trending on Facebook. The duo stood in line with their father and about 40 other cupcake devotees on Thursday afternoon.
12岁的谢恩•伦纳德一边咬着“ATM机”做出的黑白色纸杯蛋糕一边说:“真是又好吃又新鲜,很精致。”这种机器已经成了Facebook上的热门话题,谢恩的姐姐格蕾丝正是通过Facebook听说了它。上周四下午,姐弟俩和爸爸一起在“纸杯蛋糕ATM机”前排队,和他们一起等候的还有大约40位纸杯蛋糕爱好者。

Yet inventing the first cupcake ATM was not as easy as convincing customers to use it. When the Nelsons started designing the machine, they quickly realized nothing existed that could give a fully intact cupcake to a customer, says Charles. The company had to partner with a European firm to develop the technology that could deliver a cupcake without dropping it several feet like a typical vending machine. But once the prototype of the first cupcake ATM went to market in Beverly Hills, the machine couldn't come close to handling the 1,000 transactions it received each day. "The machine was melting down, the parts were actually melting," says Charles. After going through a second development cycle with the product, the ATMs can now adequately withstand growing customer demand and even disperse as many as four cupcakes at a time. The machine can also handle nearly 100 orders an hour thanks to faster customer transaction times.
不过,发明第一台“纸杯蛋糕ATM机”并不像说服消费者使用它那么容易。查尔斯表示,开始着手设计这种机器后,夫妇两人很快意识到,当时没有什么现成的机器能为人们提供完整无缺的纸杯蛋糕。没办法,Sprinkles只好和一家欧洲公司合作开发这项技术,要求是这种机器能把蛋糕递出来,而不是像常见的自动贩卖机那样让商品从几英尺高的地方落下来。然而,第一台在贝弗利山投入运营的原型机远远无法完成每天做一千个蛋糕的任务。查尔斯说:“那台机器都要化了,它的零件真的在融化。”第二次进行设计后,这台机器终于可以满足不断增长的消费需求,甚至是在一次烤四个蛋糕的情况下。由于缩短了消费者等待的时间,它每小时可以做近100个蛋糕。

"Shopping and dining is as entertainment-focused as ever," says Charles. "You are still just buying and eating a cupcake, right? But I've watched customers on our original machine in Beverly Hills sit there and buy 12 cupcakes with 12 different transactions in a row because they wanted to see the robotic arm and the video play to go get it again and again."
查尔斯说:“消遣一直都是购物和餐饮的核心。人们可以简单地去买个纸杯蛋糕吃,对吧?但我见过有人坐在我们放在贝弗利山的那台原型机旁边,连着下了12单,买了12个蛋糕,因为他们想翻来覆去地看那台机器的机械手臂和它播放的视频。”

From a business perspective, the machine allow Sprinkles to basically do the impossible: increase hours of operation without raising costs. It is difficult to get employees to work odd hours during the night as well as dangerous from a security perspective, says Nelson. Now the company can sell cupcakes around the clock through the ATM without paying employees or putting them at risk. What's more, is that Sprinkles can get away with charging $4.25 for cupcakes that come out of the machine as opposed to the $3.75 price seen in stores. In order for the baked goods to be delivered without damage, they had to come in a gift box that the company sells in its stores for an additional 50 cents.
从商业角度讲,这台机器让Sprinkles做到了一件几乎不可能的事,那就是延长营业时间却不增加成本。查尔斯说,让员工在夜间非正常营业时间工作很难,从安全角度考虑也很危险。现在,这家公司可以随时出售纸杯蛋糕,而且不需要支付员工工资,也不需要让他们冒风险。此外,通过这台机器出售的蛋糕每个可以卖到4.25美元,而不是Sprinkles店里的3.75美元。为了避免在制作过程中损坏蛋糕,必须把这台机器做出的蛋糕放在纸盒里,而每个纸盒在店里的售价为0.5美元。

"That's cheap entertainment though," explains Charles. "Since when has 50 cents changed your mind on anything?"
查尔斯解释说:“这只是一种便宜的消遣,人们什么时候会因为0.5美元而改变心意呢?”

The Nelsons did not stumble upon this business boon completely by chance. Both Charles and Candace come from a background in investment banking in San Francisco. Before opening a cupcake bakery out of their home kitchen, the couple worked on initial public offerings with technology companies. Then they moved down to Los Angeles in 2003 with the idea of starting a cupcake-only bakery. At first, Candace and Charles couldn't get anyone to lease them a space because the idea of a bakery that only sold cupcakes was too "kooky," says Charles. Next thing they knew, celebrities like Tyra Banks and Henry Winkler were placing orders, and the business took off from there. The company is even partnering with a Middle Eastern franchise operator to open 34 new locations abroad.
纳尔逊夫妇发现这个为他人提供便利的商业途径并非完全误打误撞。他们都有在旧金山一家投资银行工作的背景。在自家厨房里开纸杯蛋糕店之前,两口子的工作是帮助科技公司上市。2003年,他们带着一个创业点子搬到了洛杉矶,那就是,开一家蛋糕店,而且只做纸杯蛋糕。一开始,坎迪斯和查尔斯找不到愿意租给他们场地的人。查尔斯说,原因是只做纸杯蛋糕这个想法过于古怪。接下来,他们看到的是泰拉•班克斯(美国超级名模——译注)和亨利•温克勒(美国影星——译注)这样的名人给他们下了订单,他们的生意也从此起步。Sprinkles甚至准备和一家中东特许经营商合作,在海外开34家门店。

Charles' next big project is to put the infrastructure in place to support cupcake ATMs in locations that aren't connected to Sprinkle's 15 storefronts. The machines, while hold 760 cupcakes at a time, have to be stocked two to three times a day in order for the product to remain fresh, says Nelson. If executives can figure out how to do that in a cost-effective manner, the ATM model has limitless potential.
查尔斯的下一个重大项目是基础设施建设,目的是为没有和15家Sprinkle临街店铺相连的“纸杯蛋糕ATM机”提供支持。查尔斯说,虽然这些机器每次能装760杯蛋糕,但为了保持新鲜,每天要补一、两次货。如果管理者能找到划算的办法来实施这行工作,这种“ATM机”模式就会具有无限的潜力。

"My wife and I have always focused on innovation," says Nelson. "The challenge of being an innovator is that you are always doing things for the first time. It's more rewarding, but it's harder."
查尔斯指出:“我妻子和我一直都把注意力放在创新上。创新者的挑战在于,你总是在做以前没有的事。它能带来更多收益,但难度更大。”(fortunechina)



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