Would you eat a pizza made by robots? In this Monday, Aug. 29, 2016 photo, a robot places a pizza into an oven at Zume Pizza in Mountain View, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Would you eat a pizza made by robots?
Lexile

Did robots help make your pizza?
 
If you ordered it from Silicon Valley's Zume Pizza, the answer is yes.
 
The California startup began delivery in April. It is using intelligent machines to grab a slice of the multibillion-dollar pizza delivery market.
 
Zume is one of a growing number of food-tech firms. They are seeking to disrupt the restaurant industry with software and robots.
 
"We're going to eliminate boring, repetitive, dangerous jobs. And we're going to free up people to do things that are higher value," said co-founder Alex Garden. He is a former Microsoft manager and president of mobile game maker Zynga Studios.
 
Inside its commercial kitchen in Mountain View, pizza dough travels down a conveyer belt. Machines add the sauce, spread it and carefully slide the uncooked pies into an 800-degree oven.
 
The startup will soon add robots to prep the dough, add cheese and toppings, take pizzas out of the oven, cut them into slices and box them for delivery.
 
"We automate those repetitive tasks, so that we can spend more money on higher quality ingredients," said Julia Collins. She is Zume's CEO and cofounder. "There will always be a model here at Zume where robots and humans work together to create delicious food."
 
In Silicon Valley and beyond, tech startups are building robots to help reduce labor costs, speed production and improve safety in the restaurant industry.
 
San Francisco-based Momentum Machines is building robots to make gourmet hamburgers. BistroBot, another San Francisco startup, has designed a machine that makes sandwiches while customers watch.
 
"We're trying to automate some of the stations you might find in restaurants," said co-founder Jay Reppert. "It's quicker. It's cheaper. It's more consistent and it's this really fun experience to share with people."
 
Robots may be able to produce simple foods such as pizza, burgers and sandwiches. But they won't be taking over restaurants anytime soon because they still struggle with irregular tasks that require fine motor skills, judgment and taste, said Ken Goldberg, who directs the University of California, Berkeley's Automation Lab.
 
"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 said. "I want to reassure restaurant workers that the skills they have are still going to be of value."
 
Zume's founders say the company doesn't plan to eliminate any of its roughly 50 employees. The company plans to move them into new jobs as robots take over more kitchen work and the company opens new locations.
 
"There's way more work than there's people," Garden said.
 
Zume also wants to bring innovation to pizza delivery. This fall, the startup plans to deploy trucks equipped with 56 ovens. These can bake pizzas en route to customers, allowing them to deliver dozens of orders before returning to the kitchen.
 
The company is trying to shorten delivery times with software to anticipate when and what kind of pizzas customers will order.
 
Charity Suzuki regularly uses the Zume mobile app to order pizza. She isn't bothered by the robot cooks.
 
"It's delicious. It's always hot and fresh when it comes," Suzuki said. "I can't tell the difference that it's made by a robot versus a human."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What is the benefit of shortening delivery times?
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COMMENTS (109)
  • carolinec-pav
    9/27/2016 - 09:55 a.m.

    Yes! I love the idea, as long as im eating pizza, I don't care who makes it:)

  • jackies-pav
    9/27/2016 - 09:56 a.m.

    I would not trust a robot to make my food because technology has been known to make mistakes, and do not want one of those mistakes in my food.

  • adamk-pav
    9/27/2016 - 09:57 a.m.

    I would eat a pizza made by a robot any day. Pizza is always good and a robot can get it to me in half the time. As long as the pizza is safe It seems like a perfect idea.

  • charliet-orv
    9/29/2016 - 10:56 a.m.

    To get that delicious pizza.

  • jahir-orv
    9/29/2016 - 02:57 p.m.

    i would not eat pizza made by a robot because if the robots didn't have a good pizza making supervisor they might have a timer on them to take it out which a supervisor probably would set up and the time may be to quick and it may not match my preference that is why i only go to pizza restaurants that i have ate at a lot before or that my mom eats at

  • laurenp-ver
    9/30/2016 - 02:36 p.m.

    This is a great idea, robots making pizza. I love pizza, no matter who makes it. As long as it's good and doesn't have extra things in it that pizza shouldn't have, It's all good.

  • yazeld-ver
    9/30/2016 - 03:27 p.m.

    I like the idea of people not having to do manual labor but... Is that not what a job is for? You get payed for a reason. If people start this robot idea in a lot of places and ways, a lot of people could loose paying jobs. Having a robot is cool and useful, but not in this type of field.

  • kbrayden-dav
    10/02/2016 - 08:23 p.m.

    In response to "Would You Eat Pizza Made From A Robot," I agree that we should start using AI to help in the kitchen. One reason I agree is that it could help prevent people from getting burnt when getting the pizza in and out of the oven. Another reason is that it could put the right serving size on the pizza. It says in the article We're going to eliminate boring, repetitive, dangerous jobs. And we're going to free up people to do things that are higher value. A third reason people could try to get a better job and do something else. Robots could also help stop food poisoning. Even though the robots could mess up, I think
    it will still help people.

  • jamariw-orv
    10/03/2016 - 02:32 p.m.

    i would not eat pizza made by a robot because if the robots didn't have a good pizza making supervisor they might have a timer on them to take it out which a supervisor probably would set up and the time may be to quick and it may not match my preference that is why i only go to pizza restaurants that i have ate at a lot before or that my mom eats at

  • omccall-dav
    10/09/2016 - 10:14 p.m.

    In response to eating a pizza made by a robot, yes I would eat the pizza. One reason I would eat the pizza is because it is cheaper for the robot than for workers and the pizza place can use the extra money for better quality ingredients. Another reason is it is much faster for a machine to do the work so your pizza will come much faster and you don't have to wait a long time for the pizza. It says in the article " The company is trying to shorten delivery times with software." The third reason is the machines will prevent the workers from getting injured on the job and messing up the pizza because of their injury. Even thought the machine will take over some of the jobs at the pizza place I still think that I would eat the pizza even if it's from a robot and not hand made.

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