Picnic Works, Seattle-based innovator of food automation technology, has officially announced a new partnership with industry-leading Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd, the largest franchisee of Domino’s stores outside of the USA, to explore how restaurant automation can enhance customer and employee experiences around the globe. Both companies are coming together in Berlin, Germany as part of an innovation demonstration of the Picnic Pizza Station in a Domino’s store.
The two companies are trialing the Picnic automated pizza assembly system in a functioning Domino’s store in Germany; the Picnic Pizza Station can assemble the most popular pizzas by applying sauce, cheese, freshly sliced pepperoni and other ingredients.
The demonstration’s goal is to understand how automated pizza assembly can assist Domino’s employees in producing fresh, consistent pizza as efficiently as possible. This program is part of an initiative between Picnic and Domino’s that started in 2021 that has included research, product testing and multi-national planning.
“Our mission is to deliver customers hot, fresh meals, safely, at an affordable price, and we want to explore how we can empower team members by giving them the best tools and resources to make their jobs more efficient and rewarding,” says Don Meij, Group CEO & Managing Director of Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd.
Meij says, “Over the next decade we intend to more than double the number of stores Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd and our franchisees operate, which means we will need an additional 100,000 team members working across Europe and the Asia-Pacific – the key question will be ‘how do we make their roles as rewarding as possible so they can deliver the best possible service for our customers?'”
“Our team has been working with Picnic to understand and fine-tune how assistive technology can be used to make their jobs easier without compromising on the quality, consistency, or taste that our customers know and love.”
The foundation for this multi-year partnership began with shared goal setting, planning, customer research, global opportunity investigation, and ingredient testing from a combination of top strategists, technicians, and food scientists from both companies. With the Picnic Pizza Station installed in the Berlin restaurant, the partnership moves to a new phase of collaboration to help both Picnic and Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd assess, define and refine potential food automation solutions for the future.
“As a global leader in pizza with more than 3,400 stores in 10 markets, and the recent announcement it intends to acquire three more markets, Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd has long been a pioneer in restaurant innovation,” says Clayton Wood, CEO of Picnic. “After many months of laying the groundwork for a robust and fruitful partnership, we’re thrilled to continue applying our award-winning food automation experience to help Domino’s further explore the benefits of automation.”
Collaborative research conducted by both companies in Germany showed that consistent quality was the most important attribute when ordering pizza. More than 85 per cent of German respondents noted that they are curious to see the robotic equipment in action.
To date, global Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd leaders from Europe, Asia and Australia have visited Picnic headquarters in Seattle numerous times to plan and test ingredients from Domino’s worldwide kitchens. A global team of innovation experts, country managers, and executives have worked together to choose the Berlin demonstration location.
The in-store demonstration phase began by installing a Picnic Pizza Station in the busy Domino’s Tiergarten store, training employees and maximizing system operations. Through daily check-ins and real-time online performance monitoring, both companies will assess the impact of assistive technology and the results of the trial.
The Picnic Pizza Station is autonomous and completely customizable for each order – after loading the dough, the Picnic station takes care of applying the sauce, cheese, freshly cut meat, and additional toppings. The finished pizzas are then loaded into the store’s ovens for cooking. Each hour, the Picnic station can assemble up to 100 pizzas with one operator. The customer roster for the Picnic Pizza Station spans from independent pizzerias and regional chains to managed foodservice providers Compass and Sodexo Live!, universities including Texas A&M University and The Ohio State University and entertainment venues like SeaWorld.