Wrong. Alex Garden and Julia Collins and their Silicon Valley start-up, Zume Pizza, are about to turn the business of making pizza as inside-out as a calzone. And in doing so they could disrupt an industry that employs tens of thousands of people. They’re using robots to do the work, according to this report on Phys.org.
“We’re going to eliminate boring, repetitive, dangerous jobs, and we’re going to free up people to do things that are higher value,” Garden, a former Microsoft manager who is also president of a mobile game maker, told the site.
The pizza makers are using “intelligent machines” to add and spread sauce on dough before sliding the uncooked pie into an oven. Soon, the entrepreneurs plan to add even more robots for dough preparation, cheese and topping placement as well as slicing and boxing the completed product.
Robots can’t do it all, thank goodness. Ken Goldberg, who directs the Automation Lab at UC-Berkeley believes that humans will always be needed to handle “irregular tasks” that require fine motor skills, judgment and taste.”There are so many jobs in food service that are so complex that it will be a very long time before we have robots doing them,” Goldberg told the site.
That may be true for Zume. But for most pizza shop owners I know the opportunity to buy a piece of equipment that will cut down on the costs and headaches of dealing with employees will soon be more than pie-in-the-sky.