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Robot-Powered Zume Pizza Eyes SF Expansion

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They’ve added more robots to the mix

The “Bacon Me Crazy” pizza
Zume Pizza

Zume Pizza, the delivery-only pizza company partially powered by robots, has added some newcomers to the fold. That includes the Doughbot, a dough presser that can perfectly flatten a ball of pizza dough into pizza crust every nine seconds, plus a fleet of scooters (driven by humans) to help deliver the pies. It also includes Susan Alban, a human being formerly in charge of logistical planning for UberEats; she’s now VP of Operations at Zume, and will oversee delivery operations, customer support, and business operations as the company expands.

The Mountain View-based company was founded by CEO Julia Collins and co-CEO Alex Garden (formerly an executive at Zynga and Microsoft) in April 2016, with the dual goals of making great pizza, and using technology to achieve that goal. To that end, the Doughbot joins some robot colleagues — Marta, Bruno, Pepe, and Giorgio — who each have specific tasks on the pizza-making line at Zume, from saucing the dough to lifting the pizza into the oven.

"Because we are a food company that uses all this technology, people aren’t sure where to place us, Collins told Eater last fall. "I think more companies will come along like us, that are really food-focused but using technology to make better food and give people better jobs." By giving low-skill, repetitive tasks to robots, Collins hopes to give human employees more opportunities to do creative, high-skill jobs within the company.

The Doughbot
Zume Pizza

One of Zume’s major goals, however, is to deliver their pizzas as fresh as possible, using specially designed pizza-cooking vehicles to do so. The vehicles contain electric ovens powered by propriety software— when an order comes in, the truck heads towards that address, firing the pizza minutes before arrival using GPS to determine the arrival time. Now the company has added a fleet of scooters with drivers who will act as satellite delivery vehicles, picking up pizzas from the trucks located at strategic points throughout the delivery area.

The “Baked on the Way” trucks have already expanded into Palo Alto from Mountain View and increased the fleet to six, with San Francisco on the horizon. Ultimately, Zume plans to expand far beyond the Bay Area, using its blend of human and automated labor to do so.