When the first 3D ink-jet printers appeared, they were typically used for high-tech applications that could justify the cost. Leading-edge medicine was an early adopter to print tissues and parts of organs. Then consumer items such as clothing and mobile phones became a commercial reality.
Now that 3D printers are in almost all middle-class homes around the world, Wolfgang Puck has been declared the first digital chef billionaire.
“My business has become the ultimate franchise opportunity – absolutely unthinkable when we had to open a new restaurant, train staff and advertise to get my brand of food out there.”
“Today, my food is sold from my website and printed molecule-by-molecule in more than 100 million homes. We have taken the Wolfgang Puck Express brand right into the home. I know the quality is perfect because I can control it at a molecular level. That was never the case when we owned a chain of twenty restaurants.”
Customers love the ultimate choice and immediate availability of meals – well at least within the average five-minute printing time.
Puck’s business is essentially a franchise with as many outlets as there are customers – he has taken out all the intermediaries and connected the ‘food designer’ (remember when they used to be called chefs?) to the consumer at home.
He even controls the production of what used to be known as ‘ink cartridges’. This time the cartridges that go into his food printers contain the organic food raw materials and are sold in sexy colored designs heavily inspired by the Nespresso experience of the early 21st Century.
The food business has turned from a service industry right into an information business – from designer straight to consumer. Now it’s all about maximizing the power of intellectual property – ‘IP’ is the secret recipe.