Pizza Delivery Just Got High-Tech

Zume expands 'Baked on the Way' concept to 26 new markets

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- Look out c-store foodservice operators—consumers just got one more way to grab some grub without needing to put on pants. Startup Zume Pizza, whose delivery trucks are equipped with ovens to cook pizzas en route to their destination, is poised for expansion and an evolution of its business model.

After honing its technology in the heart of Silicon Valley, Zume is entering 26 new markets across the San Francisco Bay Area in 2018. The company’s “Baked on the Way” technology predicts orders, coming via a mobile app, and delivery times, so that a fresh, piping hot pie arrives at customer’s doors without having to use chemical stabilizers.

By partnering with foodservice equipment manufacturer Welbilt Inc., New Port Richey, Fla., the concept will also be able to reach more customers and license its technology to other food companies. Zume’s 2.0 fleet will have six high-efficiency ovens that can sling 120 pizzas per hour. In the future, Welbilt, a longtime investor in Zume, will equip the trucks with its portfolio of accelerated-cooking equipment, such as steamers, griddles and broilers, for other concepts to use.

“Our mission is to feed the planet without ruining it, and we do that by providing healthier, more affordable food to every American,” said Alex Garden, CEO and co-founder of Zume. “We recognize that we can’t do that by ourselves, which is why we are excited to partner with Welbilt and open up the platform to other food companies who share our vision. In partnership with Welbilt, we’re poised to continue upending traditional notions about the way food is made and delivered.”

Each market will feature a production facility that will prepare all the pies daily for that area, as determined by artificial intelligence. The pizzas, prepped but uncooked, will be dispatched in a truck that’s in constant motion, Garden told Restaurant Business. The brains of the moving kitchen—the truck display system—will direct the human “captain” of the vehicle. “It could say, ‘Drive the truck to this location,’ ” he said. “It could be, ‘You need to get gas.’ It could be, ‘Take this pizza out of this oven.’ ”

At peak times, a fleet of scooters and cars will also transport pies, though the cooking will still take place on the trucks. Food isn’t the only way Zume could disrupt the c-store business. Zume will offer packaged beverages, and a fountain system is in the works, Garden said.

One key advantage to the business model, Garden said, is it allows the company to pay workers a $15 minimum wage and offer perks, such as medical, dental, vision and equity.

Garden will lead Zume’s newly developed parent company Zume Inc., which plans to develop a portfolio of like-minded companies and services.

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