To streamline its delivery business while also saving the planet, Pizza Hut has developed an automated kitchen that operates on a zero-emissions truck.
At the SEMA car show held this week in Las Vegas, the pizza chain and Toyota debuted a pizza factory on wheels. The flatbed of the Tundra PIE Pro is outfitted with a refrigerator, an automated kitchen with a computer-guided robotic arm, a high-speed ventless oven and a box assembly station.
The robotic arm takes pre-assembled pizzas from a refrigerator and places them in the oven. Once cooked, the robotic arm slices the pizza and puts it in a box.
The process, from start to finish, takes about 6 to 7 minutes. Beyond the truck driver, the mobile pizza factory requires no employee labor.
Pizza Hut said PIE Pro presents an opportunity for the Plano, Texas-based chain to expand and streamline its delivery business without compromising quality. The company did not provide any specific details on when the automated pizza factory would hit the road.
“Currently the Tundra PIE Pro is just a prototype and we’re looking forward to learning more before making a decision to deploy it into a test market,” Nicolas Burquier, chief customer and operations officer, said in a statement. “This next-generation technology could lead to a number of potential uses down the road.”
The kitchen components, as well as the truck, are powered by the same hydrogen fuel cell technology that runs Toyota’s Mirai electric vehicle.
Pizza Hut, a division of Yum! Brands Inc., has more than 16,800 restaurants around the world. Of those, about 7,500 are in the U.S.
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