RaaS Makes High Volume, Customizable Pizzas a Reality

by Ruth Seeley

Whether it’s a juice bar or a bakery, the food service industry has always been an early adopter of new technology that speeds up the food preparation process. Sometimes the innovations are safety-related (sliding pizzas into very hot ovens), sometimes they’re efficiency-related (chopping faster).

Recently, Seattle-based Picnic™, an innovator of food production technology and Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) solutions, unveiled today the first-of-its-kind intelligent end-to-end automated assembly platform for the food service and hospitality industries. The compact, freestanding system integrates Picnic’s issued U.S. patent and other U.S. and international patent-pending modular, configurable equipment, with its software, cloud and deep learning technology, and is available to customers with no upfront costs. The platform will initially focus on the production of high-volume, customizable pizzas, made with any kind of ingredients, consistently and sequentially, at a rate of up to 180 18” or 300 12” pizzas per hour.

The company also revealed two of its first customers, Centerplate (www.centerplate.com), a leader in live event hospitality for more than 115 million guests each year at more than 200 prominent sports, entertainment and convention venues, and Washington-based restaurant Zaucer Pizza (www.zaucerpizza.com). Centerplate is applying the new technology at T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners.

Picnic will highlight their platform and solutions and showcase the system’s first live public presentation of its pizza production capabilities at the 2019 Smart Kitchen Summit (www.smartkitchensummit.com), the leading food tech event in North America, October 7 and 8, at Seattle’s Bell Harbor International Conference Center. Picnic CEO Clayton Wood will present on the show’s “Reinventing the Restaurant” panel.

Picnic’s platform sets itself apart by its culmination of unrivaled capabilities in production customization and throughput; smart back-end data and cloud analytics; and its ability to continually learn and meet the changing needs of food service operators, protect their brands and elevate customers’ overall experience with food.

“We are defining the new standard for food preparation and offer the only pizza automation platform supporting mass customization,” said Wood. “Picnic enables food service operators to eliminate many current pain points and address evolving consumer tastes.”

Many U.S. and international food service providers and industry experts are recognizing the differentiation of Picnic’s platform.

“We always seek to be on the cutting edge, when it comes to AI, robotics and identifying new technological solutions that enable us to provide a better experience for our fans,” said Adrian Dishington, Senior Vice President, Centerplate. “We are happy to roll out a pilot of the Picnic pizza-making technology in our kitchens, as we look to enhance our quality and speed of service. Technology that enables employees to be more successful will influence the guest experience at ballgames, concerts and all types of events moving forward.”

Picnic’s technology, solutions and business model are designed to make it effortless for operators to take advantage of the company’s offerings and capabilities. The platform only requires a small footprint and the modular, configurable equipment makes it flexible to slip into a wide array of stationary and mobile kitchen formats.

“There’s no need to install oversized industrial robotic arms requiring specially modified environments or retrofitting, and workers can work alongside with no safety concerns,” added Wood.

Picnic will deliver, install and maintain the system, and provide platform and software updates for a monthly fee with no money upfront. The company can also provide custom design software solutions for operators to integrate with existing point-of-sale and ordering systems.

“The assembly system is extremely flexible and painless to set up. It’s safe to work around, takes little space to operate and only minimal training is required,” said Aaron Roberts, Co-CEO of Zaucer Pizza. “Their technology’s secret sauce will make our pizza production process more efficient and business more competitive. Having Picnic’s capabilities in our kitchens makes me confident we can navigate future market dynamics and better manage our resources.”

Pizza industry experts and food innovators agree that Picnic can transform the pizza landscape and help food operators better succeed. “Consistency of product is a food operator’s biggest indicator for re-occurring business,” added Kati Fritz-Jung, former VP of Research, Development and Quality Assurance at Little Caesars. “Picnic’s breakthrough pizza platform will ensure ongoing convenience and consistency of food quality for consumers. Operators will exponentially increase the ability to attract new customers and keep them coming back for more.”

Kurt Dammeier, founder of Sugar Mountain (sugarmtn.net), a national food company that is home to a collection of renowned food brands and restaurants, such as Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, The Butcher’s Table and Mishima Reserve, sees Picnic’s qualities attracting attention and eventually applied across several food segments. “Food service operators are now better equipped to easily offer economical and tailored food to their customers, as well as, improve workflow, scheduling and kitchen conditions for employees,” said Dammeier. “I have witnessed Picnic’s system in action. No other food preparation or automation system compares. I can imagine countless types of dishes being produced and food service operators, across all segments, putting in their rush order to obtain Picnic’s platform. We are happy to see Picnic join the Food Revolution.”

Source: Picnic

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