The pizza baking robot was a big hit at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month, entrancing the onlookers as the robot made 300 pizza pies in an hour. The developer of the robot, Picnic is a Seattle based startup. It insists that the pizza is only the beginning: “Our system will soon be able to make a wide variety of foods including sandwiches, salads, bowls, and more.”
Robot bartenders are becoming increasingly popular. With rising labor costs and margins falling, the food service industry is surely headed towards automation both behind the counters and in the kitchens.
However, there seems to be some special chemistry between pizza and robots. Domino’s the world’s largest pizza chain flaunts its ‘autonomous delivery vehicle’ that is being tested in Houston. It’s rival, Little Caesar holds a patent of its own ‘apparatus for assembling pizza’ which is basically a pizza making robot.
The world market for freshly baked pizza is nearly $150 billion a year according to a 2019 report. In China alone, the annual sale forecasts it to grow by 21.6% by 2024.
There is a lot of demand for pizza but there exists plenty of competition too. Picnic’s automated pizza baking is definitely fun to watch. One observer wrote that the robot resembles “a white, kitchen-sized iPhone.” It’s easy to see why the device has earned such fawning coverage — and why Picnic has already signed up some big customers.