A close observation of Silicon Valley’s approach to pizza, clear shows developers who are obsessed with the market, always trying to bring in effectiveness. One startup by the name Zume in Mountain view CA has designed a robotic pizza-making operation with the aim of boosting efficiency. The process itself is not fully automated but close.
Humans prep the dough and use a machine to flatten it out. On a conveyor belt, one robot spits out sauce while another spreads it in a perfect circle. More humans put on cheese and topping before a final robotic arm loads the uncooked slab into a metal tray. The most interesting concept is that the pizzas are not cooked on-site. A Zume driver heats them on ovens built into the delivery trucks. This happens while the drive is en route to the first delivery.
The co-founder and executive chairperson of Zume, Alex Garden has big ambitions for the company. He notes that they are going to be the Amazon of food. Garden believes in robots; he imagines a scenario of Dominos without the labor component, and he believes this would be very profitable. He further notes that someday soon if all goes well with Zume, computer science graduate everywhere will think of profit every time they grab a slice.
People familiar with Zume’s fundraising have noted that Google Venture, Byers and Kleiner Perkins Caufield are considering Series A bids. Yahoo Inc. founders Jerry Yang alongside his crew of investors from AME Cloud Ventures were seen touting the pizzeria last May. Gardener said that he did not want to talk about fundraising though he indicated the venture community is validating their idea.
Different pizza making and delivery companies have been trying to automate their operations. Last month Pizza Hut Asia in collaboration with MasterCard and Softbank developed a robotic cashier, named Pepper that utilizes artificial intelligence to interact with customers. Pepper is set to be deployed in selected outlets across Asia by the end of the year. In April Domino’s Australia started testing autonomous delivery vehicle named Dru. The four-wheeled machine, which resembles a photocopier on wheels can make a delivery up to 6 miles according to a company spokeswoman.
Zume’s dream is a perfect reflection of a modern Silicon Valley’s ambition. It has a dash of the on-demand economy, a sprinkle of automation and a thick layer of pizza-based disruption. Zume’s operations also look well equipped to bring down operational cost, resulting in increased profits. The company is currently feeding people in Mountain View, California and awaits certification from Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health in order to make deliveries in other areas.
Featured Image credit:bloomberg