The pizza-making robot is a thing of the future that is quickly becoming present-day with the unveiling of a compact pizza-making machine that can churn out hundreds of 12-inch pies.
Picnic, a Seattle-based technology start-up, describes it as the industry’s first-ever “intelligent end-to-end automated assembly platform for foodservice and hospitality industries.” The sleek robot stands out for its reputed ability to work with fresh ingredients as well as its flexibility with recipe tweaking. To keep the pies tasting fresh, the dough prep, sauce making and baking are still left to experienced chefs. The assembly system is designed only to make the physical burden of flattening the dough, distributing the sauce, and arranging the toppings easier on the pizza-makers.
“We are defining the new standard for food preparation and offer the only pizza automation platform supporting mass customization,” says Clayton Wood, Picnic’s CEO. “Picnic enables foodservice operators to eliminate many current pain points and address evolving consumer tastes.”
Once the order comes in, the robot starts assembling the pizza as soon as the dough hits the surface. If it’s off-center, the pizza-making robot can easily adjust it into place. It can even make the dough into other shapes. The self-learning robot also learns from past mistakes to keep both the pizza maker and customer satisfied.
Two companies are already using the pizza-making robot: Centerplate, a company that leads in live event hospitality exhibitions, and Zaucer Pizza, with multiple locations in Redmond, Washington. Centerplate uses the pizza robot at T-Mobile Park, home to the Seattle Mariners, so the fans can enjoy pizza during the games.
“We always seek to be on the cutting edge when it comes to AI, robotics and identifying new technological solutions that enable us to provide a better experience for our fans,” says Adrian Dishington, senior vice president of Centerplate. “Technology that enables employees to be more successful will influence the guest experience at ballgames, concerts and all types of events moving forward.”
Aaron Roberts, the co-CEO of Zaucer Pizza, says the machinery is “extremely flexible and painless” to install and work with, requiring only minimal training. “Their technology’s secret sauce will make our pizza production process more efficient and business more competitive. Having Picnic’s capabilities in our kitchens makes me confident we can navigate future market dynamics and better manage our resources,” Roberts says.
Picnic will deliver, install and maintain the pizza-making robot and provide platform and software updates for a monthly fee with no money upfront. The company can also provide custom design software solutions for operators to integrate with existing point-of-sale and ordering systems.
Pizza industry experts and food innovators note that Picnic can transform the pizza landscape. “Consistency of product is a food operator’s biggest indicator for re-occurring business,” says Kati Fritz-Jung, former vice president of research, development and quality assurance at Little Caesars. “Picnic’s breakthrough pizza platform will ensure ongoing convenience and consistency of food quality for consumers. Operators will exponentially increase the ability to attract new customers and keep them coming back for more.”