The Startup Using Robots To Cook Pizza


A robot places a pizza into an oven at Zume Pizza in Mountain View, Calif. The startup is using intelligent machines to grab a slice of the multi-billion-dollar pizza delivery market. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Technology And Food

At a high level, Zume uses robotic chefs to prepare pizzas in its Silicon Valley kitchen and load them into trucks that are equipped with ovens designed and manufactured by Welbilt. But Zume’s patented system of ovens can easily be used to cook foods other than pizza. 

As a Zume pizza truck drives to the customer, a platform referred to as Ratio by Zume, is capable of calculating the optimal route and sends a signal to each oven to begin cooking at a specific time. From restaurants to grocery to convenience stores, the Ratio platform is designed to power a new kind of intelligent retail.

The Ratio platform is built on flexible infrastructure, hyper-efficient labor utilization, smart inventory planning and cooking as close to the customer as possible. As Zume secures more investment money, the company will be able to expand the scope and capabilities of its Ratio platform and its operating model.

Zume refers its methodology as “Baking on the Way” and the goal is simple: Deliver a hot and tasty pizza to customers faster than any pizza company operating today. 

A New Business Model  

The real advantage of Zume’s business model is this: Just as Amazon fulfills orders closer to customers by building a massive number of fulfillment centers, cooking as close to the customer as possible will provide Zume with a significant supply chain advantage. Leveraging its Ratio platform and business model, Zume can re-engineer the food supply chain from field to fork. 

For example, Zume can open and operate a vast network of commissaries capable of preparing different recipes. Restaurant chains could even contract Zume to prepare their recipes thus allowing consumers to order their favorite dish. The food would be prepared on trays, loaded onto Zume trucks, Baked on the Way, and delivered on-demand to customers.

As Zume grows and expands its business model, it also has the potential to disrupt. If consumers embrace Zume’s business model for on-demand food, it will change consumer buying behavior related to groceries. Simply put: If consumers increase the amount of meals they order on-demand, they require less fresh food from grocery retailers.

Where will Zume be in 10 years? Its anyone’s guess at this point but the company has potential.

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