Hey there, fellow nerds! It’s another edition of the GreenGut Weekly Find — the first for August. This week, I’m excited to feature Picnic, a tech startup out of Seattle that’s shaking up the restaurant industry, beginning with pizza robots. 🍕
(Yes, that emoji is going to be making a frequent appearance!)
The Picnic Premise: Customizable Modular Food Prep
Picnic’s robot isn’t a single machine; rather, it’s a modular system that restaurants can configure to prep pies with any number of toppings in whatever order they choose. And with the ability to make up to 300 pizzas an hour, the system has some seriously impressive potential to increase output for food service operations of all sizes. 🍽
Here’s how it works: Dough is placed at one end of the system, and the pizza-to-be starts moving down the line. Each module adds a topping until the pizza is complete. 🍕 Then it’s ready to be transferred to the oven and become the crispy, bubbly concoction loved and inhaled by teenagers everywhere. (Okay, and adults, too. 😂🤣)
Restaurant workers prepare all the dough, sauce and toppings by hand, so the final product is always fresh. This also allows businesses to create unique signature pies using local or specialty ingredients.
The coolest part? Picnic’s system is able to detect and correct mistakes like off-center dough, and it can learn to adapt over time. Each set of modules is connected to the cloud to deliver information, receive software updates and get performance tweaks for continually perfect pizza production. 💻
Robotic Future: Restaurant and Meal Diversity
Picnic wants to make it as easy as possible for restaurants to incorporate its modular robots. Restaurant owners aren’t required to make massive changes in layout or processes, and employees don’t need a lot of training to get the hang of the system.
A robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) model makes the equipment accessible to both small businesses and large operations, and Picnic has plans to expand beyond pizzerias. Since the modular system is equipped for food assembly, not just making pizzas, it could conceivably be used to scale the production of any number of dishes. 🥪🥗
If you’re itching to see it in action, check out this video! (Note to fellow vegan/plant-based nerds: The robot is shown assembling a meat and cheese pizza.)
CEO Clayton Wood says Picnic is “defining a new standard for food preparation,” and that could indeed be the case if the modular system takes off. With changing food tastes (plant-based pizza,🌿🍕 anyone?) and a future that’s likely to contain more takeout than dine-in, restaurants could benefit from the ease and speed of a Picnic system to reduce costs, scale production and simplify menu updates.
Crazy amazing, right? 🤖 I remember when “learning robots” were something out of the movies — now they’re right in restaurant kitchens! And Picnic isn’t the only one making it possible…but that’s for the next edition of The Modern Health Nerd. Thanks for reading!
If this made you go WOW, why not share it with a fellow pizza fan? 👇🏻🍕