One hundred years from now, Jean-Louis Hecht probably won’t be remembered as a great French thinker. Up against the likes of Descartes, Voltaire, and Rousseau, the cards are already stacked against him. But the man could be a certified genius.
The crafty baker from northeast France has done something that generations of Frenchmen before him had only dreamed of: he invented a 24-hour fresh baguette dispenser.
The French culinary staple has become synonymous with dining in France over the centuries, but you might be hard-pressed to find one after dark or during holidays.
Americans hopping on flights to Paris this month may spend quite a bit of time just locating an open bakery. Many of the 33,000 in France close for summer holiday during the popular French vacation month.
Enter Jean-Louis Hecht. Before closing shop each evening, his 24-hour baguette dispenser is pre-loaded with partially-cooked loaves that finish cooking when paid for, ensuring a piping hot baguette is delivered to the hungry masses no matter the hour. As you might expect, the 1 euro (about $1.42) baguettes have been selling like hotcakes. Jean-Louis estimates that if sales continue at their current pace, the machine will have paid for itself within a year.