Picnic, which makes a robotic system for assembling foods like pizza, has raised $3 million in funding. Geekwire was first to report the news, writing that “Vulcan Capital, Flying Fish Partners, Creative Ventures, Arnold Venture Group, and others put more money behind Picnic.” This brings the total amount raised by Picnic to $20.7 million.
Picnic’s robot, which was a hit when it debuted at our Smart Kitchen Summit last year, is a modular system that uses computer vision and conveyors to properly dispense ingredients (like pizza toppings). Though it is best known for its ability to assemble pizzas (it can put together 300 in an hour), it has broader applications and could be used to make burritos, subway-style sandwiches and more.
The global pandemic has put a spotlight on food robotics companies like Picnic because they reduce the amount of human-to-human contact when making food, and they also help create more social distance in the kitchen. It also doesn’t hurt that robots don’t get or call-in sick, and they can work around the clock without needing a break. Robots can also work at high volumes. One of Picnic’s first customers was Centerplate Pizza at T-Mobile park in Seattle, though stadiums are pretty much shut down right now.
There are actually a number of companies in the food robot space, angling to bring their automation to restaurant kitchens. Both PAZZI and Piestro are pizza robots. Miso Robotics, just announced the commercial availability of its Flippy ROAR robot. And Blendid’s robot kiosks whip up smoothies.
If you are interested in learning more about Picnic and the future of robots in restaurants, I’ll be hosting a panel with Picnic CEO, Clayton Wood, Dischcraft Robotics CEO, Linda Poulliot, and John Ha, Bear Robotics, next week at our virtual Smart Kitchen Summit. Get your ticket today!