Having already made a name for themselves by converting their delivery vehicles to bake pizzas during delivery, Zume Pizza have now taken their disruptive business model a step further by creating robots that make pizza.
Inside the kitchen of Mountain View’s pizzeria, Marta works over time, spreading marinara sauce on uncooked pizza bases. She never complains, takes no breaks, and is yet to take sick leave. Best of all, she works for free.
Marta is one of two robots working at Zume Pizza, a pizzeria delivery that does things a little differently. Currently, Zume only feeds people in Mountain View, California, but the company looks to take a big bite out of the $9.7 billion pizza delivery industry.
Teaming up with AAB Robotics, Zume’s partially-automated kitchen uses robot labour for certain tasks that are prone to human error, such as spreading sauce evenly — while still maintaining a human workforce to shape dough and dress the pizza bases with cheese and toppings.
“We are going to be the Amazon of food,” said Zume’s co-founder and executive chairman, Alex Garden.
Garden, 41, is the former president of Zynga Studios. Prior to that, he was general manager of Microsoft’s Xbox Live. He launched Zume in stealth mode in June 2015, when he began quietly recruiting engineers to build his patented trucks in an unmarked Mountain View garage.
Restaurant veteran, Julia Collins, 37, was brought on board in September 2015 — becoming chief executive officer and co-founder. Collins was previously the vice president and CEO of Harlem Jazz Enterprises, the holding company for Minton’s, a historic Harlem eatery.
Robots also take and process incoming orders by making use of artificial intelligence. “Pizza ordering is incredibly predictable,” Collins told KPIX. “Most of our customers order according to a rather habitual sort of method. So, what we can do is use artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict what orders are going to be available for us to fulfil.”
Zume aims to have 80% of their kitchen automated by this month, and has also been working on shortening their delivery time down to five minutes.
The pizzeria also claims that high levels of automation will lower prices, however this is not the current case with a Zume large pizza costing between $1 and $4 more than a large from Domino’s.
For the time being, Zume’s aim is to win over locals. Adam Martyn, who works at Stanford University, said he treats himself to the Lucky Bueno every two weeks. That’s a spicy pie with roasted garlic, Calabrian chilli and soppressata for $18. “The robots are cool, but I order because it tastes good,” Martyn said.
Image Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez