Parking lots are typically associated with, well parking your car, or maybe doing donuts if you’re feeling rebellious. But parking lots may soon be home to an entirely new phenomenon — pizza robots — if Bancroft Automated Restaurant Services (BARS) has its way.
BARS has developed an all-in-one pizza robot that is larger than a vending machine or kiosk, and meant to be installed in big open areas like parks, sporting events or big parking lots.
The BARS Automated Pizza Kitchen stores 96 pre-topped, par-baked pizzas, each held in a takeout tray in a humidity controlled fridge. When an order is placed either by phone or via on-board touchscreen, the automated system plucks the pizza out of the fridge, runs it under a heater to finish cooking the pizza, and secures a takeout lid on top. From there it is stored in a heated cabinet. When the user enters their pickup code, the machine grabs their pizza from the heater and dispenses it to the user. The whole process takes under three minutes. You can see a video of it in action here.
Speed Bancroft, Founder and CEO of BARS, told me via video chat last week that his pizza kitchen can be integrated with third-party delivery services (so drivers can pick up orders), and can be configured either for walk-up or drive-through customers.
The robot makes 35 twelve-inch pizzas in an hour and requires a human to re-stock and clean the machine once a day. BARS is selling its Automated Pizza Kitchen for $80,000 with a $1,000/month subscription to run it. Though the BARS pizza system is meant to be licensed out to other restaurants, the first implementations will be through BARS’ own Speedy Fresh Pizza brand, with the first installation going in in the Tigerland area of Baton Rouge, Lousiana in about six months.
Pizza is a popular option for automation companies, as a number of players are coming to market in a variety of form factors. There are vending machines like Basil Street (which makes an “Automated Pizza Kitchen” of their own) and Piestro. There are standalone kiosks like PAZZI‘s. And on the larger end is Hyper, which is making fully automated pizza restaurants in a shipping container.
The good news for all these companies is that pizza doesn’t have to be a zero sum game. Pizza is a popular food and there are plenty of places big and small to build these micro-pizzerias. And if you’re going to pick up one from a BARS robot, at least you know there will be plenty of parking.