Picnic Works, a Seattle-based maker of food-making robots, today announced a new partnership with ContekPro, a manufacturer of modular kitchens. Under the newly announced partnership, the two companies will deliver custom-built, pre-fabricated kitchens to quick service operators, hotel chains, or anyone else who wants a pizza robot restaurant in a box.
For those unfamiliar with Picnic’s newest partner, ContekPro builds modular kitchens for food service companies, including quick-serve restaurants, ghost kitchens, and resorts. The Portland-based company was founded in 2017 as a modular construction company and pivoted in 2019 to focus exclusively on modular kitchens after it found over half of its orders were for modular kitchens.
The deal marks the second partnership for Picnic over the last few months with a fellow Northwest startup. In August, the company announced an agreement with Minnow to offer its Pizza Station with the fellow Northwest startup’s pickup pods. The company has also been announcing a string of new trials with operators big and small for its pizza robot this year.
The combined solution from Picnic and ContekPro offers something of an answer to one of Picnic’s competitors, Hyper-Robotics, an Israel-based startup that builds shipping container food robots. Last year Hyper announced it had made a shipping container-based robot restaurant for Pizza Hut Israel (Hyper’s founder happens to be the master franchise owner for all of Pizza Hut Israel).
Whether it’s for a QSR building a small footprint drive-thru or a ghost kitchen operator expanding into new markets, modular kitchens make a lot of sense in many scenarios. For example, instead of finding land, breaking ground, and going through the often arduous process of zoning a new building, dropping a shipping container kitchen into a parking lot or some other easily accessible location can provide a much easier way to expand.
Typical ContekPro containers range anywhere from 320 square feet up to 960 square feet in size (according to ContekPro, the rendering in the announcement is 320 square feet). And while the announcement doesn’t describe the economics of a pizza-robot-in-a-box, ContekPro told The Spoon that operators can probably expect to pay from $240 thousand up to $400-$500 thousand or so for a restaurant container. As far as the cost of a Picnic, operators can expect to pay Picnic its typical robot-as-a-service monthly fees (which can range from $3,500 to $4,500 a month).