Global caterer Centerplate is investing in pizza-making robots with artificial intelligence after early experiments showed they could boost the quality and speed of service for its kitchen operations.
The state-of-the-art robot, made by US firm Picnic, will be rolled out at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to feed hungry attendees.
The robot is capable of producing up to 300 12-inch customised pizzas an hour and will be deployed on the CES show floor during the entirety of the four-day show in January.
Centerplate has previously trialled the ‘automated food assembly system’ in a stadium environment, where it delivered clear improvements in service.
“Picnic’s automated food assembly platform has shown an ability to enhance quality and speed of service for our kitchen operations,” explained Steve Pangburn, CEO of Centerplate.
“Our initial pilot with Picnic was very positive and their differentiated capabilities are proving beneficial. We look forward to introducing Picnic to the Las Vegas Convention Center in January and helping them scale their technology in an effective way.”
The Picnic platform has initially been focused on the production of high-volume, customised pizzas but the company insists the technology is just as applicable to other food categories.
Clayton Wood, CEO of Picnic, said many US and international foodservice providers were now engaging with the system after recognising that its unique capabilities can address common kitchen challenges and pain points.
“Picnic’s distinct culmination of food production customisation and throughput, smart data and cloud analytics is quickly resonating with foodservice operators. Our continued relationship with Centerplate illustrates our ability to tailor our offerings to the specific needs of our partners and jointly transform the food experience for their consumers,” said Mr Wood.
“This is one robot that won’t be a CES exhibitor only showing futuristic concepts; it is already in use in real-world kitchen settings and will only continue to grow its capabilities, as will be seen through Picnic’s delivery of mass customisation food production and great-tasting pizza provided to CES attendees.”
The compact, freestanding system features a US patent while it also has other US and international patents pending for the configurable equipment and its technology.
The platform only requires a small footprint and the modular design of it provides the flexibility to install the system in a variety of locations.
Vivid Robotics, Inc., which owns Picnic, was founded in 2016.