California-based Zume Pizza has been integrating robots into its production of pies since last year, with four pizza-making robots—Marta, Bruno, Pepe and Giogio—that work hand-in-hand with humans on creating faster production of food.
Now the company has introduced its latest robot, called Doughbot, to create more efficient and consistent dough that turns a dough ball into a pizza crust five times faster than current technology. The Doughbot can make a crust every nine seconds, compared to 45 seconds it takes for manually-tossed pies.
“It is the first machine on our line and allows us to prepare thousands of pizza shells on a daily basis,” Julia Collins, co-CEO and co-founder of Zume Pizza told Electronics360.
Collins says employing robots to work alongside human staff is cost-efficient resulting in the company only needing to spend 14% of its budget on labor compared to 25% for a typical restaurant. The automation of the robots allows Zume to get pizzas to customers in about 5 to 20 minutes depending on demand.
“Eliminating storefronts and delivering pizza directly to customers allows us to reduce our operating expenses and reinvest that economic surplus into higher quality ingredients like Humboldt Fog cheese and organic, dry-farmed tomatoes from farmers we know and trust,” Collins said.
Collins doesn’t have any mixed feelings about a robot perhaps taking a job from a human because it frees up the employees to do other tasks such as create new dough recipes, taste test or make repairs or maintenance to the robots.
“Automation has allowed us to re-tool and reconfigure our workforce so that they can take on exciting jobs in recipe development, quality assurance, customer service, maintenance and even engineering,” she said. “These are jobs that require unique skills and allow our employees improved job stability in today’s new economy.”
While Zume Pizza has no grand plans to fully automate its pizza business, it envisions a continued workspace where robots and humans work together to create food faster and better than other restaurants.