Watch as This Robot Pizza Chain Operator Breaks Down the Cost Each Part of the Pizza-Making Process

For small operators (and big ones as well) in the pizza business, Andrew Simmons’s posts on Linkedin have become must-read material.

That’s because Simmons, who I wrote about last year as he experimented with utilizing pizza automation technology in his San Diego area restaurant, has open-sourced his learnings as he continues experimenting with various forms of technology. And boy, is he experimenting!

And it’s not just automation (though that’s a big part). He’s constantly tinkering with every part of his restaurant tech stack as he expands beyond his original restaurant and looks to create a nationwide chain of tech-powered pizza restaurants. Add in the fact that he’s utilizing a crowdfunding model in which he sells subscriptions and a share of future pizza profits, and Simmons has created a live in-process testing lab for how to build a next-gen pizza chain that everyone can learn from.

One example of his highly detailed learnings that I found fascinating is his post today detailing the cost-per-pizza after allocating the costs of the different pizza-making automation he’s deployed in one of his restaurants. The video, seen below, shows how much each part of the process — dough making, doughball prep, dough-pressing, toppings allocation — costs and how he arrives at a 2024 price-per-pie of $1.91.

Simmons details how he’s tinkered with different automation systems over the past year and how they’ve impacted the price. One change he’s tinkered with is switching out the Picnic pizza robot for a Middleby Pizza Bot, which is more expensive but handles more of the pizza-making process and requires less human intervention.

From Simmons’s post:

Last year, the financial model was built using the Picnic Pizza Station. It was more expensive last year than it is today. This year, I’ve incorporated The Middleby Corporation Automation tool into the equation, but either unit could work. Middleby is a little more costly, adding about 60¢ to the per pizza estimate, but it takes the pizza from dough blank to cooked, whereas the Picnic requires some intervention to cook it. Picnic runs about 38¢ per pizza this year.

Simmons points to recent changes in California’s employment laws as one motivator for his becoming an early adopter of these solutions, saying that the changes will lead to more restaurant chains experimenting with automation.

“Thank you to the pioneers in this space that have tried, adopted, succeeded or failed, equipment manufacturers and restaurateurs alike; and to Governor Newsom, for accelerating adoption of automation,” wrote Simmons.

You can (and I suggest you do) follow Simmons’s posts about his journey to build a robotic restaurant chain on Linkedin.

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