Pizzametry, the maker of the industry’s first pizza-making robot, is looking for a buyer.
In an interview with The Spoon, Pizzametry President Jim Benjamin said that the company, which has been working on its pizza robot for close to two decades, has continued operations for the last few years but has reached the point where they think another owner should take the reins to bring the product to market.
“We haven’t shut down, but we’re in a situation where we’re really looking for someone to take over and bring this to market,” Benjamin said.
According to Benjamin, the company made five Pizzametry units, of which two are currently in operation at an ice arena in upstate New York. The units make each pizza entirely from scratch, slicing and cooking the dough, adding sauce and cheese and toppings, and can go from order to boxed pizza in approximately three minutes. Each unit requires electricity and Internet to operate (but no running water) and has a large video screen for advertising (you can watch a Pizzametry making a pizza here).
The company, which has accumulated several patents around pizza automation, is looking for an interested company or individual(s) who would be open to buying their IP, which includes a license to the patents and the proprietary operating and process know-how, as well as the operating units. According to Benjamin, they would help the company design new machines, including a smaller-footprint machine which he believes is necessary to open up additional operating locations and achieve lower overall hardware costs.
The current machines “are the high volume machines that demonstrate the functionality,” explained Benjamin. “But the sweet spot is, instead of a machine with a 150 pizzas capacity, is a machine more like 50 Pizza capacity per day. Something smaller footprint, able to fit in a convenience store or gas station.”
To develop its pizza machines, the company worked closely with design services and automation service firms in Calvary Robotics and D&K Engineering. The company worked with these firms to understand how to build scaled-up and scaled-down versions of the robot, but at this point, it is looking for a new company to invest in building a smaller-footprint, lower-cost machine.
I had a chance to try a pizza made by a Pizzametry robot when the team flew one up to Seattle for the Smart Kitchen Summit in 2018. The pizza was good, but I can see why they feel they need to build a new version with a smaller footprint. The current unit, which has a refrigerator inside to store the ingredients, takes up about 15 square feet, too big to fit in a typical convenience store on the floor of an airport terminal.
Benjamin agrees and believes they could work with the new owner to build a smaller machine.
“The principles of operation that we would transfer to a buyer would stay the same,” Benjamin said. “The patents that we currently have would be in place, but it would just be a smaller footprint.”
Benjamin explained that they could help with everything from the proper sauce viscosity, the dough formula, and pretty much everything else required to run a pizza robot would be involved in what he described as a “technology transfer” process.
While back-of-house pizza robot startups like Picnic and Hyper Robotic are getting traction, some building robotic pizza kiosks have found the road a little rougher. The news of Pizzametry’s interest in finding a buyer comes just a couple of months after the news of Basil Street selling off its assets. For its part, Piestro, one of the other remaining stand-alone pizza kiosk startups, continues to raise capital and partner with others as they work to bring their product to market.
If you are interested in inquiring about the Pizzametry business, you can contact the company via their website.