20,000 Pizza Vending Machines Are Coming to North America
PizzaForno hopes to place the fully-automated kiosks across the US by 2026.
For years there's been buzz about a robot revolution, and it looks like it's here. PizzaForno Partners Les Tomlin and Will Moyer are leaning into the future and appeasing both the robot overlords and people who like good pizza fast by rolling out fully automated pizza kiosks across North America.
QSR Magazine reported that the pair plans to place 20,000 fully automated PizzaForno kiosks across the country by 2026. That number includes 1,000 kiosks in the United States by the end of 2022, with locations between Southern California, Louisiana, and Florida first.
"I think North America has been very late to the game on robotic food," Tomlin told the outlet. "I mean, look at PizzaForna—the technology has been around France for the better part of 10 years. COVID, the labor shortage, people don't want to spend 10 minutes waiting for anything. All those things add up to super fast, super convenient, super quick serve. That's where I think everybody's got to go."
Customers who step up to a PizzaForno kiosk will be met with a 32-inch touch screen on which they can choose their pizza and how they plan to pay. The machine builds each pizza, and then a robotic arm removes it from the cold section, opens the lid, and puts it into a proprietary convection oven where it bakes. That takes between 90 and 120 seconds. The pizza is then dropped into a slot where customers can reach it. The entire process takes about three minutes. Customers can also take their pizza home cold and cook it themselves.
PizzaForno's kiosks have been a long time coming. Tomlin and Moyer connected with Vincent Le Gouic, a French businessman who was interested in exporting his automated pizza-making technology to the U.S. three years ago. Within six or seven years, he sold roughly 700 kiosks to mom-and-pop stores in need of ways to make more revenue. Tomlin and Moyer flew to France and drove to a town about an hour outside of Paris, where they saw their first automated pizza machine.
"At that exact moment, we had this sort of 'aha' entrepreneurial moment where it's like, wow," Tomlin told the magazine. "If we were to take this technology and build a brand around it, we could totally disrupt the pizza business globally."
They obtained North American rights and returned to Canada with members of Le Gouic's culinary team to work on creating recipes. They endured eight months of research and development, which included the creation of the PizzaForno branding. Tomlin became president of the company, while Moyer was named CEO.