If Seattle-based Picnic has its way, the next time you go to the ballpark, a robot will churn out your pizza in seconds flat. And unlike those pesky human pie slingers, it won't forget to add the extra cheese or skip the onions.
The food-tech and robotics=-solutions company said Wednesday it cut a deal with Centerplate, the stadium-concessions giant, and its robotic pizza-making system is already rolling out pies at T-Mobile Park, where Major League Baseball's Seattle Mariners play.
The robotic pie slinger is also now hard at work at Zaucer Pizza in Redmond, Wash., as well.
While Picnic's announcement may conjure up visions of a Star Wars-like robot taking orders and flipping dough, the new system is more akin to an assembly line.
An employee places dough on to a conveyor belt and the machine does the rest, squirting out tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings.
Picnic's robotic pizza maker can churn out 180 18-inch pizzas an hour -- three per minute -- with customers able to plug into the machine the exact details of their orders and their choices of toppings.
The pizza-spinning robot is even faster when it comes to 12-inch pizzas: It can roll out 300 an hour -- one every 12 seconds.
Picnic says it will pay to install its robotic pizza maker, at no up-front cost, and that flesh-and-blood human employees can work alongside it without fear of getting blindsided by a robotic arm gone astray.
In a news release, the company lined up a battery of executives from the food-service and fast-food industries to praise its pizza-slinging android.
"Picnic's breakthrough pizza platform will ensure ongoing convenience and consistency of food quality for consumers," said Kati Fritz-Jung, former vice president of research, development and quality assurance at the Little Caesars pizza division of Ilitch Holdings of Detroit.
"Operators will exponentially increase the ability to attract new customers and keep them coming back for more."
And while today it's pizza, the sky is the limit for this robotic chef, said Kurt Dammeier, founder of Sugar Mountain, a national food company.
"I can imagine countless types of dishes being produced and food service operators, across all segments, putting in their rush order to obtain Picnic's platform," he said.