A Day in the Life of a Cupcake Vending Machine

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Not long ago, in a less civilized era, a person might be left wanting if he had a hankering for a burrito at 3 a.m. But no longer. There’s a burrito vending machine available in Los Angeles, for all your burrito needs. There’s also a salad vending machine in Chicago, for your urgent salad needs. But most ubiquitous of the next-level vending machines are the six so-called cupcake “ATMs” across the country, including a new one in New York City, all operated by the cupcake chain Sprinkles.

“They have ATMs now for iPod and iPhones,” Kristin Cleavinger, assistant manager at the Sprinkles in Beverly Hills, pointed out to us. “So I think definitely the trend of specialty products being sold at ATMs is going be catching on very soon.”

The Beverly Hills Sprinkles was the first of the chain’s locations to have a cupcake ATM installed in March of 2012. Since then, it’s amassed a devoted following, Cleavinger said, many of them photo-snapping tourists and peckish UCLA undergraduates.

The machine has also dispensed a lot of cupcakes. Cleavinger divulged all the numbers fit to print, and some are downright astonishing. Here’s the Beverly Hills Sprinkles’ cupcake ATM, by the numbers:

Average number of ATM cupcakes sold each day: 1,100

Number of years in operation: 2

Number of cupcakes the ATM can hold: 700

Busiest time of day: Between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. (the sister brick-and-mortar store closes at 9 P.M. on weeknights)

Longest wait at peak times: 1 hour

Average number of flavors offered: 14 (such as cinnamon-sugar and dark chocolate)

Number of cupcakes one can purchase at a time: 4 (“Before this ATM that we currently have, we had another ATM where you could only do one purchase at a time,” Cleavinger said. “And people would get in line over and over again to get multiples.”)

Hours per day the ATM is turned on: 24 hours (minus 20 minutes for every re-stock)

Number of times a day the machine is restocked: At least two, but up to four.

Number of cupcakes added in each restock: “Anywhere from 300 to 500 cupcakes,” she said.