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Pizza baking machine could be perfect for our time

How many people touched your food before it hit your stomach? This question has been of concern to many of us in recent years. In happier times, this led to a move from the yard to the table or from the yard to the fork, trying to minimize the number of steps between the original food producer, ranch, fishery or brewery, and end user. In the less happy times of the coronavirus, when everyone appears to be on a Cliff & # 39; s Notes course to become an experienced epidemiologist, it is important for another reason.

Now it is important to reduce the number of people who have come into contact with our food. Reduce the likelihood of the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-1

9. This is not only the number of people who harvest the food and prepare it for consumption, but also those who come into contact with it while packaging and delivering it to us. Even ordering your favorite take-away pizza once was suddenly a risk that goes far beyond long-term questions about your consumption of cholesterol-increasing saturated fat.

A startup called Basil Street could be an option. Answers. While not specifically designed for the pandemic problem (which company was that?), It still offers customers a way to buy absolutely acceptable take-away pizza without having to get in touch with other people. As long as you are ready to buy your pizza at a robotic machine.

"It is unfortunate that our automated pizza kitchens are not already in use and are being used everywhere," said Deglin, founder and CEO of Basil Street Kenealy, telling Digital Trends. "Because this is actually a way for people to get something hot, quick and tasty – and with a significantly lower risk for food safety than currently in the world."

Introduced in April

Like the delivery of food Robot startup Starship Technologies and burger flipping robot maker Miso Robotics, Basil Street, hopes to disrupt the food market with a new hands-off automation approach to pizza cooking and serving. A $ 10 million round of financing for the pizza vending machine offering was recently completed and is slated to launch in April in the United States for the launch of a multi-city pilot program.

The idea of ​​the Robo sales line of Basil Street machines is this: they are stacked with up to 150 lightning-frozen 10-inch pizzas with a thin crust, which are then cooked within three minutes when a customer selects the one they want. The vending machine doesn't allow users to design their own pizzas, but does offer a choice of two popular toppings, four cheeses and hot peppers, and an ever-changing "Pizza of the Month". Prices range from $ 7 to $ 12.


Orders are placed via a touchscreen and payment is made contactlessly or by credit card, so that no handling of cash is required. Cooking is done using a technique that, according to Kenealy, provides a result that is very similar to that of a pizza oven with a wood oven. The secret of this is that the pizza has direct flat contact with the heat source instead of being held on the side between heating elements like a piece of bread in a toaster, an approach that others have tried.

“You get the crunch and the smell that you get when you have direct contact with the heat source. “Finally, the pizza is placed in a box and handed out to the end customer, while the vending machine passes the necessary information about the reduced inventory to its supplier so that it can be refilled if necessary.

The whole process is wonderfully human-free. "There is really, very little human contact in a fully automated process," said Kenealy. “The pizza is made, frozen, sealed, and then placed in frozen trucks and storage rooms before it gets into the freezer of the automated pizza kitchen. It is only put in the oven when the customer has ordered it. “

The first automated pizza kitchens on Basil Street are housed in only a select few locations (one of which was referred to as a Texas medical center). However, Kenealy suggested that the robotic machines be turned into facilities in factories, dormitories, and airports (do you remember them?) And other places where vending machines with less warm and delicious foods are usually sold.

Is this the case? the moment when food technology shines?

The question is whether such a technology will prevail. In Japan, food vending machines have been a staple for years, albeit with less intelligent vending machines. In the United States and Europe, these have not become such a standard tariff. However, Kenealy believes that this will change.

"There was a time in the United States when nobody or very few people went to an ATM," he said. "There would be a number of people in the bank waiting to deposit their checks or take out money or whatever, and no one would use the ATM that is outside. Most banking today is done, if not over an ATM, then further away. [using mobile apps.] “

  Pizza Box
Getty Images

Kenealy believes that a similar transformation will take place when it comes to the way we take away to prepare food Takeaway pizza from a vending machine will probably never replace your favorite Italian pizza restaurant (assuming they can last the coming months), but it could certainly find a niche in the market, such as ATMs and banking apps

When I was with Kenealy , the extent of COVID-19 induced lockout and effects was not yet fully apparent. But it now seems that this is the moment when such food preparation and delivery services have the opportunity to shine. Regardless of whether it is an office where everyone works from home or tests virtual appointments between doctors and patients, many industries and consumers have to quickly resort to technologies that would have taken much longer to provide and accept.

Is the future of take-away machines? It is not entirely clear. But among all the industries that are currently experiencing problems, the future-oriented food industries have got the ball under control. If the current situation becomes the new normal, this can also be the new wave of automated catering services.

Suddenly a piece of bot-baked pepperoni pizza sounds damn good!

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