Two American firms have joined forces to show what the future of kitchen automation could look like for stadium caterers and foodservice kiosk operators.
Seattle-based Picnic Works and Minnow Technologies have teamed up to create the ‘Pickup Pod’, a self-service pickup solution for foodservice operators manufactured by Hatco Corporation.
The duo aims to help commercial kitchens, stadiums, large franchises, universities and foodservice providers enable end-to-end food automation services.
The partnership will build customised solutions using the two companies’ technology. Examples include creating new concession concepts for theme parks, stadiums, or schools.
A customer can place a mobile or kiosk order that is made automatically by the Picnic station and then put in a heated or insulated Pickup Pod for the customer to retrieve at their convenience.
At universities, students can place mobile pizza orders which are assembled by the Picnic Pizza Station and then picked up from a Pickup Pod.
The firms believes that end-to-end automation solutions can help increase the efficiency of a kitchen at peak times, reduce food waste through efficient just-in-time ordering and production, and increase customer satisfaction with ordering and pickup.
“Our goal is to create solutions that delight diners while improving the efficiency and profitability of kitchens,” said Steven Sperry, CEO and co-founder of Minnow.
“By leveraging Picnic kitchen automation technology and Minnow’s pickup offering, we have an opportunity to bring best-in-class automation solutions to our customers.”
The Picnic Pizza Station is autonomous and completely customizable for each order. After loading the dough, the Picnic station takes care of applying the sauce, cheese, fresh-cut pepperoni, and additional toppings. The finished pizzas are then loaded into the kitchen’s ovens for cooking.
Each hour, the Picnic station can assemble up to 100 pizzas. The Picnic technology also allows for integration with a kitchen’s point-of-sale (POS) equipment and mobile ordering platforms.
The Minnow Pickup Pod is an IoT-enabled, smart food locker that provides restaurants, ghost kitchens, cafeterias, and other foodservice operators with a self-service order pickup solution.
Instead of leaving delivery and takeout orders on an unattended shelf, which inevitably leads to pick up errors and shrinkage, orders are kept in secure, insulated cubbies.
To help ensure food safety and freshness, the Pickup Pod monitors every pickup, alerting the foodservice operator when food isn’t picked up within a specified time.