Fast Food Joints are Turning to Pizza-Making Robots

Artificial intelligence is taking over the pizza-making industry. Robots are making pies more efficiently than humans.

Axios profiled a host of startups turning to robots to make pizza in an effort to offset the shortage of fast food workers and rising minimum wage laws.

Stellar Pizza, founded by a former SpaceX rocket scientist, will open a restaurant in Los Angeles this month with a staff of robotic pizza chefs.

“Nobody in food service has enough workers,” says Clayton Wood, CEO of Picnic Works.

Picnic Pizza Station has assembled a modular that can make up to 100 pizzas an hour under the supervision of just one human staffer.

“While robots are making steady inroads in the restaurant industry overall — flipping burgers, frying chips, brewing coffee — pizza is the place where automation may make its earliest and most transformative mark,” Axios reports.

Early returns suggest the robots are better at making pizza than you reckless teenagers. The operators say AI produces pizza to the exact recipe while staffers go too heavy on the cheese.

“Cheese is the most expensive ingredient on the pizza” and “the most overtopped: topping, says Picnic Works. “Workers typically slapping on 40% too much — wasting money and glopping up the pies.”

Damn them for all that cheese.

At least the robots look cool making the pizzas:

Per Axios: “A robot assembles the pies at PizzaHQ, which uses a machine from Picnic Works. Photo courtesy of PizzaHQ.”

Now, here’s the bad news: robots offer a limited selection of pizza toppings and requests. The report concluded the following:

“[T]opping options are limited when a robot wears the apron. Aside from pepperoni, they “have to be granular, three-eighths inch, crumbled or diced.

“When you look at things like broccoli, it’s tough to put in there,” he said. “If you look at olives — olives are very wet, and it’s hard. It doesn’t work well with the machine.”

Not good.

PizzaHQ co-founder Jason Udrija also worries that consumers will be reluctant to order their pies from a robot.

“One of the speed bumps is really going to be getting people used to pizza made by a robot,” Udrija said. “There’s a lot of pushback on, ‘Hey, that product can’t be good.'”

In New York, this ought to be a non-story. The city’s cardboard style tastes like a robot made them anyway.

But in Chicago, robotic pizza-making should be of concern. A deep dish requires more than cheese, sauce, and a hot oven. Making a high-quality Chicago pizza takes touch and specialization.

Why couldn’t robots interfere with a less important industry at first? Like salad-making or something. 

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply