The integration of PopID’s technology will provide Piestro customers a new contactless ordering and payment system. In addition to paying with traditional credit/debit cards, users can create a PopID account to enable payment via facial recognition. Once that set up is complete, users can choose PopID as a payment method on Piestro’s app or on the machine itself. Orders placed ahead of time via the app can be retrieved via the same facial recognition. This pay-with-your-face option will be extended to Piestro’s white label, co-branded machines as well.
That ability to order ahead and pick up your pizza is also a new bit of functionality for the Piestro device. I spoke with Piestro CEO Massimo Noja De Marco by phone last week, who said that nine automat-style cubbies will be built into Piestro machines. This means you’ll be able to order your pizza ahead of time and have it held in a cubby that you unlock with your phone (or face).
That Piestro and PopID are working together isn’t that much of a surprise. PopID is part of the Cali Group of companies, which also includes Kitchen United, which De Marco founded and was Chief Concept Officer at. On a more existential level, in a post-COVID world, vending machine companies are looking to implement more contactless methods of interaction and reduce the number of physical touchpoints. As a result, other vending machine startups that may have been wary about facial recognition over privacy concerns could be more amenable to the technology now.
Piestro is certainly at the vanguard of a number of different technology trends. In addition to being a fully autonomous, robotic pizza restaurant and adopting a facial payment system, Piestro is also working with Kiwibot to allow delivery robots to pick up and deliver orders from its machine, and is embarking on its second round of equity crowdfunding.
We have to wait for all of this high-tech (and pizza) goodness, however. The first Piestros won’t roll out until early next year.