It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a …. flying pizza?

Customers who order delivery from Pagliacci Pizza will turn their eyes to the skies when the chain, with 25 locations in Seattle and surrounding communities, launches a system of pizza-packing drones next year. Pagliacci says it’s partnering with Zipline, an instant logistics and delivery system, to deliver food—including pizzas, salads, beverages and more—via drone throughout the greater Seattle area in 2024. The drones will operate during peak lunch and dinner delivery hours to complement Pagliacci’s existing team of drivers.

Zipline’s cutting-edge technology is already in use in other countries, including Rwanda, where it has been used to shore up that troubled nation’s healthcare supply chain. Zipline also operates in Arkansas, North Carolina and Utah.

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Each Zipline drone should be able to carry two 13″ pizzas as well as side dishes. Using the drones, Pagliacci hopes to expand its delivery zones, ease pressure on its drivers and reach more customers, all while reducing its carbon footprint.

this photo shows a Zipline drone, a small, white, bus-shaped machine, perched on a sidewalk


Zipline’s Platform 2 Zip drones fly more than 300 feet above the ground and are “nearly silent,” according to a Pagliacci press release. When the drone arrives at its destination, it hovers safely and quietly at that altitude, while its fully autonomous delivery droid is lowered by a tether, steers to the correct location, and drops off its package to areas as small as a patio table or the front steps of a home.

For Pagliacci, a chain that’s committed to becoming carbon-neutral and producing zero waste, drone delivery isn’t just a gimmick to grab attention, according to co-owner Matt Galvin. It’s all part of Pagliacci’s Envision Zero initiative.

“Over a decade ago, we committed to sustainability by taking bold steps to reduce our carbon footprint, including purchasing green power, buying locally, and developing robust composting programs,” he said. “As we work toward carbon neutrality, Zipline’s drones will enable us to scale our deliveries sustainably with up to 97% fewer emissions than cars.”

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Pagliacci also purchased two company-owned electric Chevy Bolt cars and has added more electric bikes for its delivery drivers.

There are still details to be ironed out before drone delivery can begin. The chain is presently working with Zipline to design a special delivery box that will fit in the Zip drone.

this photo shows Keller Rinaudo Cliffton and Keenan Wyrobek, Zipline's cofounders, standing side by side. Wyrobek, on the right, is holding a Zipline drone in his hands

Zipline cofounders Keller Rinaudo Cliffton and Keenan Wyrobek (Zipline)

According to the press release, Zipline, cofounded by Keller Rinaudo Cliffton and Keenan Wyrobek, operates on three continents and has completed more than 600,000 commercial deliveries for the world’s largest healthcare systems, businesses and retailers. In Rwanda, Zipline began offering drone delivery of medical supplies in 2016 and has transported 75% of the blood supply outside the country’s capital city.

Zipline says its drones “undergo more than 500 rigorous safety checks, are monitored in real-time, and are equipped with Zipline’s autonomous Detect and Avoid technology. Zipline has flown more than 40 million autonomous miles without a single major safety incident. The drones are also equipped with a Parachute Landing System that enables Zips to return to the ground gently and safely, if needed.”

“Zipline’s instant delivery solution is faster, more reliable, and better for the environment than traditional ground delivery, which is why so many restaurants are turning to us to provide fast, reliable, green logistics,” said Chris Kenney, vice president of solutions at Zipline and head of the company’s U.S. food operations. “We’re excited to work with Pagliacci to ensure Seattle metro area residents can get their Pagliacci pizza even faster than before.”

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