Picnic sets price and starts taking orders for pie-making machine – GeekWire

Picnic sets price and starts taking orders for pie-making machine – GeekWire

Picnic sets price and starts taking orders for pie-making machine – GeekWire

The Picnic Pizza System. (Picnic Photo)

Order up!

Picnic, the Seattle food automation startup, announced Tuesday that it is accepting pre-orders from U.S. customers for its Picnic Pizza System, designed to reduce costs and labor in commercial kitchens.

The robotic pizza maker will be available for monthly subscription prices ranging between $3,500 and $5,000, depending on the configuration and production volumes. Picnic said it will manufacture and install existing customer orders through 2021 and new system orders will begin to ship in 2022.

The company shared the news at the International Pizza Expo and Conference in Las Vegas.

“This is a huge milestone for Picnic, and we couldn’t be more excited to announce commercial availability,” Picnic CEO Clayton Wood said in a news release.

The Picnic Pizza System is a pizza-assembly machine on which a single employee can churn out up to 100 12-inch customized pizzas per hour. Fresh ingredients are dispensed onto dough that is made by hand and the recipe can be tweaked to suit the restaurant, commercial kitchen, or whoever owns the machine.

A pizza being built by a Picnic Pizza System. (GeekWire File Photo)

Picnic has been selling itself based on the need for automation to make up for a chronic shortage in food service labor. That need is playing out very acutely during the pandemic and has generated intense interest in the pizza solution, Wood previously told GeekWire.

“Making pizza has always been a job where it’s hard to keep workers in the job,” Wood said. “It’s very high turnover, difficult job to do well, difficult job to do in a rush period. That’s where our system really thrives.”

Wood also said the pandemic accelerated trends that were already happening, including around delivery and carry-out. Demand for those services puts increased demand on restaurants and other food-prep locations such as ghost and commissary kitchens. The Wall Street Journal reported that there were 1.3 million unfilled job openings at restaurants and hotels at the end of May, and automating the production of food is one answer.

“Food service is being re-imagined,” Wood said.

Picnic previously said it has attracted interest and new partnerships with Orion Land Mark, Seattle’s Ethan Stowell Restaurants, National Service Cooperative, and Baseline Hardware.

The company recently raised $20.5 million in a Series A funding round.

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