It’s far from the cigar-chomping, beer-guzzling robot Bender of the popular animated TV show “Futurama” pounding out dough for mass-produced pizzas, but it is a robotic pizza-making technology that Seattle startup Picnic has rolled out in real life.
And the company has just landed the first two customers for its innovative robotic pizza-making platform, which is powered by deep-learning technology and capable of producing customizable pizzas at the rate of up to 180 to 300 pies per hour, depending on size.
Stamford, Connecticut-based Centerplate, a provider of food-service and hospitality services at more than 200 sports, entertainment and convention venues, is among the first big users to sign on to pilot Picnic’s robotic pizza-making technology ― at T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners. In addition, Redmond-based Zaucer Pizza will put Picnic’s technology to use in making its pies.
“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 at Centerplate. “We are happy to roll out a pilot of the Picnic pizza-making technology in our kitchens, as we look to enhance our quality and speed of service.”
Picnic is doing what it can to make its robotic pizza platform accessible, even to small businesses like Zaucer. Picnic’s chief executive officer, Clayton Wood, stresses that the platform is modular and occupies a small footprint, “with no need to install oversized industrial robotic arms” and “workers can work alongside with no safety concerns.” In addition, Picnic will deliver, install and maintain the system for a monthly fee and no money down.
“The assembly system is extremely flexible and painless to set up. It’s safe to work around, takes little space to operate and only minimal training is required,” says Aaron Roberts, co-CEO of Zaucer Pizza. “Their technology’s secret sauce will make our pizza production process more efficient and business more competitive.”
Or, as Bender the robot, now seemingly displaced by Picnic’s platform, has been quoted saying: “This is the worst kind of discrimination there is: the kind against me!”
Picnic, launched in 2016, is focused on developing specialized, intelligent technology and solutions for the food-service and hospitality industries