But is it available to rent for birthday parties? Specifically my birthday party?
Picnic, the company behind the pizza-spewing apparatus, has reportedly been working on its modular food assembly line for three years, according to GeekWire. And last week, Picnic finally unveiled a pizza-making prototype to the media.
The apparatus, which so far has no catchy, trademarkable name, is made out of a series of modules that apply sauce, cheese and toppings as the dough moves along a conveyor underneath each piece of equipment.
Right now the robot makes pizza; Picnic is hoping to expand those abilities to include any number of other dishes.
“Our modular system is the first of its kind,” reads a message on Picnic’s website. “It can perform any number of food assembly tasks in any order, completely configurable to any restaurant's process. Starting with pizza, our system will soon be able to make a wide variety of foods including sandwiches, salads, bowls, and more.”
The key words in that statement are “food assembly tasks” — the robotic machines still depend on a human to make each individual component (dough, sauce, cheese, toppings) and to place the pizza on the conveyor, GeekWire notes. Once the pies come out the other end, they still need to be baked, too.
That said, the process can be programmed to be completely automated. Ideally, when an order is placed, the machine will be able to store that information — along with any subsequent orders — and perform the tasks in sequential order as soon as its sensors detect dough on the conveyor.
Future restaurateurs will be able to lease the apparatus for their own use — Picnic doesn’t sell the modules outright — with Picnic periodically servicing and updating the machines.
The current design is also just a prototype that Picnic is testing at a few locations, including a restaurant in Redmond, Wash., called Zaucer, and at T-Mobile Park, where Centerplate, one of the stadium’s vendors, has been beta-testing the machine.
The ultimate test, however, is taste. Are robotically-assembled pizzas distinguishable from hand-assembled pies?
“For the customers, they couldn’t tell a difference, which for me was a win,” Centerplate’s general manager Steve Dominguez told the Seattle Times.