Local bakery chain Yannick (亞尼克), which operates 17 stores nationwide, last summer spent about NT$55 million (US$1.75 million at the current exchange rate) setting up 54 vending machines at several Taipei Mass Rapid Transit stations to offer Swiss rolls to commuters in the hope that they would make the cakes more popular.

They did not. Sales have yet to reach the 30 rolls per day targeted by the company.

Average sales were about 12 to 18 rolls per day, Yannick marketing and planning department manager Judy Chen (陳鈺雯) told a media gathering in Taipei on Tuesday.

“We sold about 700 rolls during weekdays through the Yannick To Go Machines in recent months, and about 1,000 rolls on Saturdays and Sundays,” Chen said.

Sales reached 1,000 to 1,500 rolls per day during holidays or festivals, she said.

However, the figures are still lower than the company’s goal and it might take more time for it to recoup its investment.

The figures were disappointing, as “most people are still unfamiliar with the automatic machines,” Yannick chairman Yannick Wu (吳宗恩) said.

To raise consumers’ awareness of the machines, the company plans to step up promotional activities, seek cooperation with opinion leaders and collaborate with other companies, Wu said.

The company hopes promotions through online channels will boost monthly sales by about 20 percent, Wu said.

The company also plans to increase the frequency of food tastings from once a week to twice a week, change menus on the machines every six weeks and relocate some machines to better serve customers, he said.

Yannick is not seeking new spots for the machines, but it has been developing a second-generation machine, which would have an improved user interface and third-party payment methods, Wu added.