- Picnic plans to deploy and ramp up production of its robotic Picnic Pizza System later this year.
- Over the past year, the company has been working with its customers to better understand restaurant owners’ needs.
Seattle-based Picnic, an innovator in automated, robotic food assembly, announced today that it has raised $16.3 million in a Series A venture capital financing round. The new round was led by the venture capital group Thursday Ventures, who was joined by other investors including existing investors Creative Ventures, Flying Fish Partners and Vulcan Capital.
Picnic also announced new strategic partnerships with important companies in the foodservice industry: Orion Land Mark (OLM), Ethan Stowell Restaurants, National Service Cooperative and Baseline Hardware Financing.
Picnic plans to use the capital to further expand its team and commercial operations. Over the past year, the company has been working with its customers to better understand what is most important for restaurant owners and other kitchens in stadiums, hospitals, colleges and more. It plans to announce Picnic Pizza System deployments and ramp up production volume later in 2021.
“The new financing and strategic partnerships support Picnic’s vision and will help us launch commercial operations quickly,” said Clayton Wood, CEO of Picnic. “In the past year, we have learned that there is great interest from operators in solutions that alleviate labor shortages and support increased operational efficiencies by digitizing functions like inventory management and identifying marketing benefits from ordering patterns. This financing demonstrates that our investors and the foodservice industry believe in the differentiated value of the Picnic Pizza System and the strong need for automated solutions that help reduce costs, food waste and labor shortages in the kitchen.”
“Picnic is developing technology to solve the challenges faced by every commercial kitchen—labor shortages, quality control and consumer experience,” said Jared Furtado, managing partner of Thursday Ventures. “Picnic’s dynamic automation platform will undoubtedly define the future of the food industry. We are thrilled to work alongside Clayton and his world-class team as they continue to revolutionize the way kitchens will be managed.”
The partnership with OLM, the largest supplier of pizza and pizza components to the convenience store industry around the world, will offer Picnic’s advanced turnkey solution to OLM customers looking to increase pizza production and hygiene standards. As a supplier, OLM has a global foodservice customer network and licenses its branded food concepts to over 2,000 locations throughout the world. OLM works with a wide variety of kitchens including restaurants, pizzerias, convenience stores, military bases, colleges, sports venues and more.
“The Picnic Pizza System enables OLM to increase production while also ensuring high-quality products,” said Keith Kinsey, president and CEO of OLM. “Working with Picnic on an impressive system is an exciting move forward in the growth and development of our manufacturing capabilities and equipment supply options, which opens opportunities for new customers and customer satisfaction.”
Picnic also announced a strategic culinary and chef partnership with Ethan Stowell Restaurants, which will allow Picnic to showcase its differentiated capabilities at local activities like pop-up shops and events in the Seattle area.
Additionally, the company announced two other partnerships. National Service Cooperative, a leader in food service equipment, will assist Picnic’s customer support, service and equipment maintenance for its system, and Baseline Hardware Financing will provide financial support in customer deployments. Picnic anticipates the partnerships will support customer growth and accelerate the implementation of its solution.
The Picnic Pizza System received a new design, interface, safety and food handling enhancements in Q4 2020and continues to experience increasing customer demand as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and labor shortages become more acute.
Founded in 2016, Picnic has assembled an experienced team of food and technology industry veterans to develop and provide specialized intelligent technology and solutions for the foodservice and hospitality industries. Picnic received the National Restaurant Association Show’s “Kitchen Innovations 2021 Award” and was selected as a GeekWire 2021 finalist for “Hardware/Gadget/Robotics of the Year.” It was also included in “The FoodTech 500 2020” by Forward Fooding, selected for the “Foodservice Robotics Pioneer Award” at Spain’s Expo HIP 2020 and named “Best of CES 2020.”