Robots Are Taking Over the Restaurant Industry

Alex Garden, CEO and chairman of Zume, Inc. CREDIT: ZUME PIZZA

The restaurant industry has a new surprise up its sleeve: automation. We’ve seen the industry transform already with the introduction of digital kiosks at McDonald’s. Instead of waiting in line , simply walk over to the kiosk, place your order and pay. In another example, some restaurants are now providing a tablet to guests for placing orders instead of speaking to a server.

Automation is now seen throughout every corner of the kitchen. Flippy the Robot can turn burgers on a grill while a San Francisco robot barista creates up to 120 drinks per hour.

One startup is automating the pizza preparation process to not only reduce repetitive work, but also keep employees safe. Zume Inc. officially revealed its new robot, Vincenzo, back in June to assist in removing pizzas from 800-degree ovens. The company was founded in 2015 and continues to bring ideas to the table. Zume also has robots that can recognize when pizzas are done cooking, evenly spread pizza sauce on dough and move pizzas to racks.

According to Bloomberg, the company has turned the heads of investors with SoftBank in talks to invest up to $750 million in Zume. CEO Alex Garden claims Zume’s Food Delivery Vehicle system can deliver about 120 pizzas per hour. To compare, Domino’s claims to sell two million pizzas per day across 15,100 stores, averaging about 132 pizzas per store each day. Alex Garden believes automation rapidly take over the restaurant industry simply based off the efficiency of robots.

“We’ll really start to see this in the next 12 months,”  Garden said.

Zume is not a franchised pizza company although there are plans to further extend locations in the San Francisco market by the end of the fiscal year. The company is primarily focused on making its proprietary technology available in grocery chains, quick-service operators, convenience stores and other elements of the food service industry.


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