Pizza vending machine looking for some dough

Kiosk concepts are rolling out in the touch-free era.
Written by Greg Nichols, Contributing Writer
Basil Street

People love pizza. People love convenience. Boom, a pizza vending machine!

Not so long ago that would have sounded like a joke, but kiosk concepts are proliferating amid a wave of investment in touch free food concepts. Basil Street, which raised $10 million last year, is turning to crowd funding to increase its distribution of Automated Pizza Kitchens.

The company, which has received NSF and UL certification, plans to have about 50 APKs placed across the country by fall 2021 and aims to expand to up to 100 APKs by year end. Locations targeted for kiosk placement include universities, airports, and other high-traffic areas, further illustrating the growth potential and customer interest surrounding the technology.

Of course, it has some competition. Piestro, which last year raised money via crowdfunding site StartEngine, makes a standalone, fully integrated cooking system and dispenser, creating an automated pizzeria that combines fresh ingredients and custom recipes to build what the company says are high-quality pizzas. 

The pizza wars (Domino's vs. Pizza Hut, Papa John's vs. Round Table) are about to take an odd turn into automated food delivery, a market that could be quite lucrative. After all, there are over four billion pizzas served in the U.S. annually, according to IBIS World. Depending on where you live, you may already be able to get a fresh-tossed salad from a robot named Sally and a really good pull of espresso from one of Cafe X's robotic baristas

"Automated food kiosks are accepted globally as a viable option for meals on the go," says Deglin Kenealy, CEO of Basil Street. "As the need for contact-free solutions rises in the U.S., we have successfully combined America's favorite meal with patented technology to deliver restaurant-quality food at the touch of a button. We are excited to take this next step and engage our supporters to become a part of the pizza robotic community through participation in our crowdfunding efforts. With over $47 billion in revenue generated in the U.S. Pizza Industry, the opportunity to transform this market is here."

Following its raise last year, Basil Street completed a pilot program of their automated pizza kitchens (APKs) and received positive reviews from customers. The pilot consisted of five APKs in California, Texas, North Carolina, and Nevada. Patrons had the opportunity to experience the stand-alone kiosks' signature pies featuring fresh ingredients, utilizing a proprietary cooking process that in approximately three-minutes delivers a brick oven-style pizza experience similar to those found in one's local favorite pizzeria. 

In case you're wondering, the price of a 10-inch Italian style, thin-crust pizza will range between $4.95-$14.95. Basil Street is committing to using only fresh ingredients that are flash-frozen to preserve nutrients, flavor, and freshness before being cooked to order. It takes about three-minute for the pizzas to cook via a patented three-element non-microwave speed oven. 

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