Please help me with my school project!

Joined Jan 31, 2010
Hi Everyone,

I'm an undergraduate student who is currently working on a semester long project. My project consists of inventing a new product and writing a business plan for it. I'm hoping the cooking community can give me some valuable insight on how to improve my current product idea and push me in the right direction for how to develop a successful plan.

The idea: A new type of toaster that automatically cooks your toast to the perfect crispness every single time by scanning the level of darkness in the toast. It would feature cameras inside of it that allow the user to easily cook toast to their desired crispness by looking through an LCD screen on the outside. The user looks through the camera the first time and saves their cooking setting. From this point on every time that user makes toast they no longer need to sit and watch through the LCD screen but instead the "smart toaster" knows what level of darkness to cook their toast at.

If you have an extra 5 minutes to spare I would appreciate it so much if you could answer these 9 really brief and short questions. Thanks in advance!!

Focus Group Questions

1.) What kind of toaster do you currently own? Any specific features?

2.) How often do you use a toaster throughout the week? Are you satisfied with it?

3.) Do you use a toaster oven? If so, why?

4.) Does it bother you that you have to wait for your toast?

Based on the product idea I proposed earlier...

5.) Would you buy it? Why/why not?

6.) How much would you be willing to pay for a toaster like this?

7.)What features would you look for in a toaster? (Price, design, quality, etc.)

8.) Any ideas about what design or features you imagine this toaster having?

9.) 2 vs 4 slots. Would you be willing to pay more for 4 slots?
Joined Oct 19, 2009
I know its purely a theoretical exercise however just bear in mind that I had to pay about $15 for my last toaster and I felt the sting as I handed the money over (but I realise not everyone is as tight as me!)...

1) The cheapest one I could find and my god- its rubbish- but it works...
2) ...and I must use it at least 5 times a week; sometimes a lot more.
3) Yes... Cheese on toast... mmm
4) Na, its brew time (thats a cup of tea for you yanks)
5) I'm afraid I would see it as over complicating a simple tool for me; and I imagine I would have to pay a significant extra.
6) Not alot I'm afraid.
7) Price, simplicity, style comes third if its affordable.
8) No. Afraid not.
9) I would prefer 4 slots, but they're usually alot extra.
Joined Aug 25, 2009
An LCD screen to look to see how dark the bread is getting ?
But you do realize there is a button marked from 1-6 , other toaster have marked 1-5 which researchers have spent ALOT of money already determining the color of bread you will get according to that number on the dial.
Joined Oct 11, 2006
I'd also ask, what if more than one person uses the toaster? Is this intended to be an individualized product? Like an iToast?

What if a person uses more than one kind of bread? Like my wife prefers white toast and I like wheat?
Joined Oct 18, 2007
For professional use, I don't see much need.
For personal use even less.

I see this being used for personal use only by pampered housewives who have expendable cash and little brains.
So I'll give you my opinion based on professional use.

1.) We have a few, for different venues. A small conveyer which, after determining your settimgs, is a "set it and forget it" type unit, a quality 4 slot and a cheap 4 slot (that will be replaced by another quality one when it eventually breaks, as it is unrepairable).

2.) All morning, everyday

3.) No

4.) No, it's expected.

5.) I don't think so. Unless it's less expensive than what I currently use, is reliable and easily repairable. I think this will have too much technology to meet those requirements.

6.) If you met my requirements, maybe $300- $400. It would basically have to be a better deal than what's already a tried and true product. By better deal I mean base price, ease of obtaining parts & reliability. Base price alone will not get the sale for me.

7.) *see my requirements.

8.) I think it's an unnecessary product, like avocado slicers, digital thermometer bbq forks and egg seperators (just my opinion folks).

9.) If I decided to buy this, then yes, I'd pay a little more for a 4 slot.
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