Interview Alexander Herrmann

Vending at star level

Alexander Herrmann in front of his gourmet vending machine
Jürgen Friedrich
Alexander Herrmann in front of his gourmet vending machine

Goose and steaks are now offered by two-star chef Alexander Herrmann from the vending machine. The gourmet vending machine with eight compartments is loaded with changing dishes and is located directly in front of Herrmann's Posthotel in Wirsberg, Franconia. Prices start at 39 euros and are intended for two or four people. Payment at the vending machine is cashless with EC or credit card.

What is your first conclusion about your new gourmet vending machines?
Alexander Herrmann:
The feedback is outstanding. Sometimes passing cars turn around and people get out to take a closer look at the gourmet vending machines. We offer take-away in the restaurant on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and the vending machine is an absolute topic of conversation for the guests. First sales have already taken place, also of course due to the high-end product that is inside. Nevertheless - and this was to be expected - the compartments are not empty every two hours.

How did you get the idea of a gourmet vending machine?
By chance we came across the LockTec company in our neighbourhood and my catering manager Tobias Bätz approached them. That's how the idea came up to put a gourmet vending machine in front of our door.

What is important for the selection of the dishes?
This gourmet vending machine is like a large refrigerator with individual compartments. This means that what you put in it should definitely have a shelf life of 48 hours in order to have a usage effect. Otherwise, there is not much to consider. Everything that can be stored in the refrigerator can be also stored in the gourmet automats.

How do you ensure that the customer is not overwhelmed during the preparation?
On one hand, we have ready-made specialities and dishes in the different departments of the gourmet automats. Accordingly, the customer does not have to do much at all. Moreover, there is a manual in the compartments how to finalize the dishes by simple hand movements. Nothing goes wrong. Unless you have never cooked noodles or fried an egg in your life. Then it gets difficult.

What are the first lessons?
I have the impression that we have thought too small. Actually, we should have designed our gourmet vending machine to be twice as big. We have ten compartments, eight of which are permanently stocked. The other two are filled with the dishes of your choice by pre-booking. The guest then receives a code and can open his individual box with it. And this is put to good use.