Pizza-making robot that can assemble and cook 300 pizzas an hour with minimal human input unveiled at CES
- The automated pizza-making system can churn out 300 12-inch pizzas an hour
- At adds toppings to a pre-made base and cooks the pizza without human input
- A traditional pizzeria can typically only produce about 250 pizzas per day
- Picnic claims the robot could solve a labor problem in the restaurant industry
Not even your local pizza joint is safe from the forward progress of automation.
At CES, a Seattle based Picnic showcased its automated pizza-making system that can swiftly assemble and cook pies with minimal human interaction.
The system, which consists of three compact modular panels that assemble to form a conveyor belt, is capable of taking a pre-made pizza crust, adorning it with toppings, and cooking the pie to pre-specified doneness.
What’s even more compelling than the fact the pizza is made with little to no human input, however, is the speed at which Picnic’s bot operates.
According to CEO Clayton Wood, the bot can churn out an impressive 300 12-inch pizzas every hour when at max capacity.
Seattle based Picnic showcased its automated pizza-making system that can swiftly assemble and cook pie’s with minimal human interaction
HOW DOES IT WORK?
An empty crust is placed on the conveyor belt then a human worker inputs the specifications of the pie – such as size of the pizza and desired toppings.
The crust then goes through the assembly, starting with the sauce, then cheese and toppings and finally, the pie is baked to perfection.
According to him, that rate handily beats a traditional pizzeria which can typically only produce about 250 pizzas per day.
As for quality, Picnic wanted CES attendees to know just exactly how a pizza made by a robot tastes and was serving up pie’s for those perusing the show floor.
While the company decided to make a ‘convention style’ pizza which was typical for what is normally served at CES, Wood said that Picnic is customizable and can change its output depending on customer needs.
That means a restaurant serving Chicago deep dish pizza would be able to use Picnic just as easily as a customer who wanted to make a neapolitan style or New York style pizza.
Like many robots, there’s a question of how, and more importantly, who will be affected by Picnic’s introduction into the restaurant world.
CEO Clayton Wood says the bot can churn out an impressive 300 12-inch pizzas every hour when at max capacity
Not even your local pizza joint is safe from the forward progress of automation
While it’s easy to envision a system like Picnic replacing workers, Wood says Picnic could actually help solve a labor problem in the restaurant industry.
‘In the food service industry there’s a huge labor shortage globally nobody can get enough and when you can’t get enough workers often you’ve got new under-trained workers,’ Wood said.
‘In Pizza it takes some training to get the recipe right and get the proportions right and if you’re a brand and you get the proportions wrong you’re not really making a branded pizza.’
Wood’s claim of a labor shortage is one that has resounded true for many restaurants across the globe and especially in the US where a crackdown on illegal immigrants has sent many workers who have traditionally staffed the kitchens back to their home countries.
The platform will initially focus on the production of high-volume, customizable pizzas, made with any kind of ingredients, consistently and sequentially, at a rate of up to 180 18” or 300 12” pizzas per hour
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for cooks to grow 6 percent over the next 10 years which means restaurants will need more than 1 million cooks.
The labor aspect, Wood says, is only one piece of the puzzle for Picnic and is perhaps not even the most alluring one.
He says the Picnic’s appeal has often times centered one one thing: consistency.
‘Consistency, we actually hear from customers, is a higher value than labor savings,’ Wood said.
The company has already started to dish out pizzas using Picnic at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile park and recently announced a partnership with a local restaurant in Seattle.
Wood says that he expects the company’s bot to be in full production by the end of this year.