Willie Wonka would be proud. Nestled among the tall granite buildings is a small glass boxed cubicle full of smiling people and cupcakes. And even when the doors are locked, there is a pink ATM outside open 24/7, dispensing cupcakes. Sprinkles Cupcakes.
Last Saturday, the Sprinkles Cupcakes opened its first ATM in Chicago. I wanted to see how it was doing. That was my excuse.
I spoke with General Manager Maura Weber: “The first ATM opened in Beverly Hills, CA. It holds 500 cupcakes. The one in Chicago holds 400. The cupcakes are baked fresh throughout the day like our regular bakery and we fill the ATM throughout the day depending upon what flavors sell. One of our main goals at sprinkles is to have a fresh product. And even though we have an ATM now, in order to keep up with the freshness, filling the ATM , like it is behind the scenes here at Sprinkles, is basically a 24 hour process.
You have to have someone here at 10 O’clock, 11 O’clock, 12 O’clock at night prepping and baking and frosting. Now we have the ATM open 24 hours, but it’s just a reflection of how our behind the scenes is 24 hours.
So far at the ATM, about 1000 cupcakes a day are sold. It’s been hugely popular. Red Velvet is our number one seller. That one’s definitely going pretty quick. And S’mores are seasonal so those are definitely selling out on a regular basis.We have doggie cupcakes. If someone is taking their dog for a walk and they just want to grab one, they don’t have to worry about having to come into the store. We also offer our gluten free and our vegan cupcakes.”
In addition to the line down the block waiting at the door, the ATM is getting a lot of action. Businessmen wait in line, make their selection and hurry away with their boxed cupcake. Others more casually dressed, perhaps with more time on their hands, sit outside on the bench nearby.
Reaction from the three young women sitting on the bench was certainly positive: “I think it’s awesome. And I’ve been here before, so I always keep coming back for my favorite. I usually come in the afternoon for a snack. My favorite? Red Velvet!”
“This is the Black & White. It’s really good, really delicious.”
“My favorite is the strawberry. It’s got fruit in it. They’re all natural, actually, so they’re good for you.”
People are also taking photos. A lot of people are taking photos. Why?
“Well, it’s just fun. It’s a cupcake ATM, how much more fun can it be? We heard about Sprinkles, and then we came over last night, but there was such a long line that we thought we’d try the machine and we just loved it. It was so much fun to see where the cupcake is coming from and everything.”
Maura explains how the idea for the cupcake ATM came about. “When our founder, Candice Nelson was pregnant with her second child, she was having all of these late night sugar cravings and thinking, how is it that I am the founder of Sprinkles, and I can’t even get a cupcake at midnight?”
I ask Maura if there is a hidden camera or another way that they can track when people come to the ATM most often. Not yet. I would like to return after midnight and see who is there.
For those of us who sometimes dream of cupcakes, we can wake up, at any time of the day or night and make a visit to the 24/7 Sprinkles Cupcake ATM. What are the flavors of the day? There’s an app for that.
For more information about the cupcakes and to download the app: http://www.sprinkles.com/i-love-sprinkles/ilovesprinkles.com/
For information about how it all began: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprinkles_Cupcakes