From drones to ATMs — high tech pizza


Have you seen the movie “Ready Player One?” There’s an epic pizza delivery drone scene.

Or how about the real-life robot vehicle from Domino’s Pizzaseen in the news in Houston?

Are pizza and innovation linked at the hip? Why is pizza at the forefront of technology?

The Pizza tech revolution is and has been in full swing here in Florida and just like elections, college football: Cali, Texas, and Florida lead the nation in all areas; including the number of traditional pizza establishments.

Texas may have the robot pizza mobile, but do they have a pizza ATM? There is a kiosk setup that looks like an ATM in St. Petersburg where you can pick up a pizza in less than 5 minutes with no human interaction.

Ferg’s is an awesome sports bar for pre- and post-baseballing as it is right next to Tropicana Field. Its website shows that longtime Southern Rock sensations, Jupiter Coyote, played there last night. I have been a fan of Matt Mayes and their band since I first saw them at Rickenbacker’s in Gainesville circa 1993.

But this is not a music column, the focus is on pizza and Ferg’s has to go pizza ready to roar 24/7 via this new ATM. They have a kitchen too, but the owners plan is that this machine will complement their existing kitchen service. Concurrently, offering after-hours automated to-go dining while creating a new revenue stream.

There is also one of these machines on campus at the University of North Florida.

Where are they coming from? Who is behind this trend which one would assume is going to catch on more and more?

The Nuro driverless vehicle used by Domino’s in a trial. Image via Nuro PR.

The team from Pizza ATM, LLC is the manufacturer of this tech and can help you from start to finish with the setup, installation, and training of how to run it. They are in Cincinnati, Ohio, and have been in business for over 20 years.

They are not the only company in this space, there is also an outfit in Toronto called PizzaForno doing the same thing. For anyone considering this kind of investment, the sticker shock is intense — with a price tag north of $70,000 — but Pizza ATM offers financing and claims a fast ROI.

When I think about this awesome service, I hear the words in my head spoken in “Arrested Development” … there is always money in the banana stand (or Pizza ATM). I mean you load it up and the pizza literally sells itself.

Let’s not forget in the big-picture historical relationship of pizza and innovation. Pizza was delivered to our homes years before delivery became the norm (see above comment that pizza and innovation are relatives) and no one led the charge better than Domino’s.

Thirty minutes or less? They invented that. That entire marketing plan was a game changer.

Domino’s is once again at the tip of the spear rolling out an autonomous vehicle in Houston last year which is powered by a company called Nuro.

In 2022, they are also continuing their plans for drone service (it’s not just in movies!)

Domino’s would still be my personal favorite of the franchises out there, but one cannot beat Midtown/Gaines Street Pies in Tallahassee when pizza night (or day) rolls around.

Perhaps pizza has been on the front lines of technology all these years because it is easy to package and easy to carry for the consumer.

Pizza originated in Naples, Italy, as street food for the poor (as the story goes). Speaking of Italians, according to CNN, they are not enjoying their Pizza ATM revolution very much. Maybe they are pizza snobs? But aren’t we all?

I suppose for Floridians a pot roast or clam chowder ATM is out of the question, so pizza it is.

When picturing the clam chowder machine, I have a visual of the Bass-o-Matic 76′ (for all you old-school SNL fans).

The months and years ahead will tell the story of where and when this technology goes next, and if a drone can airlift me a pizza, you can count me in.

Or maybe I will just put a pizza vending machine in my garage and be the envy of the neighborhood.

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Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies, and he can be reached at [email protected]. His wife Jeanne names pizza as her #1 food, so we dedicate this column to her.


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