Pizza brands show interest in robotic pizza maker Picnic as Seattle startup raises more cash – GeekWire
Seattle-based food automation startup Picnic added an additional $4.2 million in funding to a Series A round that previously raised $16.3 million, the company’s CEO announced this week.
Clayton Wood said in a LinkedIn post that the cash will be used to grow and expand Picnic’s team of experts and commercial operations.
The food-automation company has been perfecting its pizza-making robot, called the Picnic Pizza System, and has attracted interest and new partnerships with Orion Land Mark, Seattle’s Ethan Stowell Restaurants, National Service Cooperative, and Baseline Hardware.
Wood told GeekWire that Picnic is in late-stage conversation with a wide variety of customers interested in a differentiated and customizable kitchen solution.
“We’ve been very busy in 2021 working on system enhancements and are very excited about our progress,” Wood said. “We’re continuing to receive incredible endorsements from the foodservice industry, media, and customers from around the world. We are preparing to install with additional customers today and have several unannounced relationships with significant pizza brands that we plan to share in 2021.”
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.
“Making pizza has always been a job where it’s hard to keep workers in the job,” Wood previously told GeekWire. “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.”
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wood said food service is being reimagined and kitchens are still trying to figure out delivery and labor.
“We’ve been advising operators on how technology solutions can resolve a lot of the challenges they’re facing,” Wood said. Our solutions enable pizza companies to streamline their needs and provides a solution that has a small footprint, contactless pizza preparation, easy installation, and no upfront fees.”
A portion of the new financing will be used to attract and secure new talent as Picnic continues to grow.