Pizza Is Now Being Made By Robots?

A New Jersey-based pizzeria is using robot technology to make its pizzas.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Founders of New Jersey-based PizzaHQ have created the most innovative operation on the planet with their robot-made pizza. The company places human chefs alongside complex automated pizza stations at its Totowa eatery. With this hybrid model, the restaurant has eliminated bottlenecks from the traditional pizzeria while enhancing the appeal of the corporate chain. To make that happen, they’ve turned to Seattle-based pizza automation leader Picnic who will become its backbone as the outlet opens more locations.

Picnic’s automated system can reportedly produce 100 robot-made pizzas per hour with a single operator while reducing food waste (due to overtopping or spilling) by 80%. Speaking to PMQ Pizza Media, Cofounder Jason Udrija and his partners believe pairing humans who have pizza-making expertise with super-efficient robots will expand PizzaHQ from a single-unit local pizza joint into a regional powerhouse. “We’ve been dreaming about how automation can help our quest to build the world’s most innovative pizza operation,” he said.

Elaborating on their robot-made pizza endeavor, Udrija said the labor market is tight for everyone, and their employees are critical to PizzaHQ’s success. “By using the Picnic system, we can automate pizza assembly and free up our staff to do important jobs around the kitchen,” he explained. Staffers will also have more time to focus on the customer experience and create the most unique pizza restaurant experience ever. Udrija and co-founder Darryl Dueltgen developed the PizzaHQ concept several years ago after launching the New Jersey-based Pizza Love.

Along with partners Matt Bassil and Matt Thomas, the team faced an inflection point to either expand their current operations or reinvent the restaurant with robot-made pizza. “We were at a place on our path where we knew that we could grow a little by expanding our current brand or we could reinvent the entire pizza industry in ways nobody has seen yet,” Dueltgentold told the publication. Eventually, they decided pizza automation is the future, and began the journey to incorporate the tech into their operations. As such, the company is able to expedite its business in the most imaginative way possible.

Picnic Pizza-making Machine

The PizzaHQ team began serving robot-made pizza in 2021. Picnic’s automation allows the eatery to produce its own recipe while creating a consistent pizza every time. The Picnic Pizza Station assembles the delicious pies by placing sauce, cheese, and other toppings on the dough. The system maximizes pizza production and accuracy of ingredient usage. It also raises profitability and reduces the cost of the pizzas by nearly 50% without sacrificing quality. The process doesn’t devalue the final product. The low price is not because the food is substandard.

To date, PizzaHQ’s Totowa store has already been delivering robot-made pizzas to businesses and schools in the area, making more than 500 pizzas a day with the Picnic station. The eatery plans to open a second location in the third or fourth quarter of 2022, where it will add another Picnic machine and produce an average of 4,000-5,000 pizzas per week. The company also plans to open a new flagship location with additional Picnic stations in 2023.