Are pizza vending machines going mainstream? The arrival of the Pizza ATM to the Ohio State University campus feels like a breakthrough, and the school’s PR team is spreading the news.
“We are always looking for innovative and new ways to provide services to our students here at Ohio State,” said Abby Hertzfeld, associate director of operations for OSU’s Office of Student Life Dining Services in a press release and promotional video issued by the university. She noted that the vending machine “actually works just like an ATM machine.”
Well, minus the cash, of course.
The machine is available to student meal-plan holders from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and to the general public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pizzas for the vending machine are premade in a nearby kitchen. They are then transferred to the Pizza ATM, where they’re stored in a refrigeration unit. Once an order is placed, the pizza is moved to the internal oven and baked for about three to four minutes.
The 10-inch pizzas come in cheese and pepperoni varieties and cost $8. The machine can hold up to 70 pies.
“We’ve sold approximately 400 pizzas in our first week,” Hertzfeld said.
“It’s about a perfect size if you’re trying to get it on the go. So if you don’t have too much time, you can get it, and you can just go to class,” said Isaac Cox, a second-year zoology major. “It’s not too big of a pizza. You can really just walk around with it, and it’s always nice and hot.”
Although the machine serves pizzas only during limited hours for now, the plan is to make it available around the clock and add more selections.
“Students love to eat at all times of the day, and even at breakfast they can eat pizza. They love pizza,” Hertzfeld said. “We’re starting out right now with our pilot program with limited hours, but we’re going to continue to extend hours throughout this semester, with our ultimate goal of there being 24-hour access for our students when we get to fall semester of 2019.”
The first Pizza ATM in the U.S. was installed at Xavier University in August 2016, with a second one arriving a year later at Case Western University in Cleveland.