PizzaHQ, the company charged with revolutionizing the pizza industry by placing pizza makers alongside automated pizza robots in stores, is expanding its business operations by tapping Picnic Works to further automate its pizza making processes. Picnic is a Seattle-based innovator of food automation technology, and it will become the automation backbone to PizzaHQ operations with its award-winning, certified Picnic Pizza Station. The Picnic station can produce 100 pizzas per hour with a single operator and can reduce food waste from overtopping or spilling by 80%. The combination of PizzaHQ’s human expertise combined with the accuracy and speed of automation is helping the company grow from a local pizza shop and into a regional powerhouse.

“We’ve been dreaming about how automation can help our quest to build the world’s most innovative pizza operation” says PizzaHQ co-founder Jason Udrija. “The labor market is tight for everyone, and our employees are critical to our success. By using the Picnic system, we can automate pizza assembly and free up our staff to do important jobs around the kitchen while focusing on the customer experience to help us create the most unique pizza restaurant experience ever. We are excited about our pursuit and are pleased with this new partnership with Picnic.”

Udrija and co-founder Darryl Dueltgen developed the PizzaHQ concept several years ago after launching and managing the NJ-based Pizza Love. The team, along with partners Matt Bassil and Matt Thomas, faced an inflection point to either expand the current operations or reinvent the pizza restaurant through technology and automation. 

“We were at a place on our path where we knew that we could grow a little by expanding our current brand or we could reinvent the entire pizza industry in ways nobody has seen yet. We knew pizza automation is the future and so we began the journey to build it into our operations so that we can expedite our business in the most imaginative way possible,” says Dueltgen. “Globally, pizza is a $140 billion dollar category. We aim to disrupt that.”

The PizzaHQ team began working with Picnic in 2021. As a result, the robotic automation from the Picnic station will let PizzaHQ produce its own recipe while creating a consistent pizza every time. Ultimately, it will help reduce the cost of the pizzas by nearly 50% without sacrificing quality. 

Currently, PizzaHQ is serving corporate and education customers through the Totowa store and making more than 500 pizzas a day with the Picnic station. When the store opens to the public in July the team expects to be making nearly 1,500 pizzas a day.

“The work that PizzaHQ has done to reinvent the business and the industry through automation and innovative thinking is incredible. They’re a perfect example of how technology can blend with customer experience to make great products even better,” says Scott Erickson, Chief Marketing Officer at Picnic.

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