Let's Talk Automation

With there being no end in sight to the labor shortage, what can we do to automate more in this industry? We already have self serve kiosks, waiting on a dough rounder to be delivered, have auto fry fryers to take some thinking out of that part and we are seriously considering the Picnic Pizza Robot. Sure we’ll need to streamline the menu some and probably need to do so anyway to keep things simpler, but is there anything else we can do as independent operators?

Being born in NJ, raised by an mother from Italy, 15 minutes from NYC, in the 50’s- 80’s, this is a disgrace to the Italian art of pizza and why most pizza in the USA is no better than frozen pizza in the grocery stores. Make a great pie and you will shine :slight_smile:


We shine so bright the light is blinding, it’s the labor shortage. Have you seen this thing? It’s quite impressive

No interest in it. Would rather never eat another pizza if that was the only option. It disgraces my Italian roots and another nail in the coffin for artisan pizza and a huge score for putting people out of work and increasing franchise profits. We are a small mom and pop shop and do low volume with a dedicated customer base that keeps us in a nice living. We have 2 disabled employees that do dishes and 4 non disabled part timers with 4- 20 hours a week each. They earn over $30hr so we have no problem with finding great people. I shop for all produce every day, do all the preps and dough by myself and make every pie. My wife mans the phones, does the register, makes the salads. If we are not there we are not open. That is how I grew up in pizza in NJ Smiling with Hope Pizza

A lot of us here are playing chess, you’re playing checkers, and that’s fine if the business is doing what you need it to do for you but If you don’t have any actual input to furthering automation, as the original post is asking, then leave your comments to yourself. This isn’t the 50s anymore, the landscape is changing, service industries must adapt or they will be left behind. While I applaud your mission, having you always post about how you make every pizza and batch of dough like in old Italy is insufferable. I wouldn’t have issues finding people either of we were also only open 12 hours a week without delivery

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the title was “lets talk automation” Your approach is playing count to 3 and try not to mess that up. My approach is calculus in comparison and is art. That is why so few can pull it off.

Anyone can pull off working 12 hours a week. You can hate automation but it’s the way the world is going. Join in or get left behind. Customers don’t care if you’re a full blooded Italian making their food the old world way or if it is made by a 15 yr old trainee as long as it tastes good. I’m sure the same can be said for an autonomous makeline. The end product is what matters, as well as price, and time of wait. But hey, well done rephrasing my chess and checkers comment, good stuff there, good stuff

I actually work 5 days a week and about 50 hours. My wife works about 20 in the shop and does all the books. We could be doing 50x’s our numbers as we sell out of dough everyday for pickup (no delivery or dine in but have a patio) within 1 hour of taking calls starting at 3pm for pickup after 5pm and schedule pickups every 15 minutes. We rarely stay open past 7pm. We charge a high price and customers are like family, People and celebrities travel from all over the country to eat our pizza and our weekly regulars often leave tips 2-3x’s the price of their bill . If this is being left behind I am all for it. So many big operations deal with headaches all day and at the end of the year their big numbers do not always translate to big profit. Our food costs are under 20% and our food waste is under $10 a week. No POS just paper and pencil.

For me life is a very short trip so if I do something I do it for love and out of passion. If money follows, which it always has so far, it is a gift. If robot pizza is your passion more power to you.

Youre missing the point to the entire post but that’s fine. Good luck with continued success

Walter, while I admire your mission, there is no need to question this thread of a totally reasonable question these days. This industry allows many operators many different ways to support themselves and their families. There is no better way than the other and we should all support each other and leave the karen comments for the customers…simply scroll on through.

Steve, to answer your question we have been leaning on Online Ordering more than ever with PizzaCloud. Last night we were down 1 on phones, 1 driver, & 1 kitchen so we were forced to not answer any calls from 4:30-8. When customers call there is a message directing them to order online. Happy to say that we were busier than the week before and it saved our ass.

Good luck!

We have done the exact same with PizzaCloud. We didn’t expect to use it much, but one location has used it 4 times or so in the last month. It’s certainly a life saver to have that when you’re that far in the weeds

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I had them setup another toggle button so that when things are really out of control we play the other message that we are not taking any orders and shut down OLO as well. My suggestion would be to have these buttons on the 2nd page of the handset so that people do not activate by accident. I have to be honest that it was nice not hearing the phone constantly ringing all night and we were much more efficient!

Nice idea there. Do you guys currently do deferred orders? At one location we’ve stopped Friday and Saturday between 4-8.

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our POS allows us to adjust the time ahead we will take deferred orders so we pretty much stop on Friday @ 5:00. We run into the worst complaints with these orders when we are running behind because they think t is easier since they give us notice. They don’t understand we are already maxed since its Friday night. and you can only do so many pies between 5-8… Not complaining by any means but it gets stressful for sure

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I have pizza cloud setup like FamousPerry. All of my atomic buttons are on the second page.

•I have one message that shuts down the orders completely.(hangs up after message) they csn press 1 to see delivery status.

•I have a message that shuts down all grill food if we are short on grill cooks

•I have a message that shuts off fryer food if that station gets buried.

Its helped tremendously

I do not take any timed deliveries ever. I used to, but im done with that for now anyway.
I dont mind deferred pick up orders.

Lately customers have been sending
web deliveries and writing ‘deliver at 6:30’ in the notes section because it doesn’t allow timed deliveries

This is something I need to do, eliminate all these “Notes” sections. You don’t see these anywhere with the big corporate guys

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I know you deleted, but I think where you need to really look at it is that it is saucing and cheesing and topping constantly as long as it’s being fed. It is topping pepperoni while the the next pizza is being cheesed and the next is being sauced

Thats why I deleted bc I thought about it more and more I keep going back and forth on it.

Haha, I hear you, it’s quite the production. A lot to analyze with it

I saw one pizza it was putting onins peppers and sausage at the same time.

Im wondering if you should put your toppings in the order you like them on your pizza or in order of popularity, I would have pepperoni as the first topping and something like olives at the end.
Like you said its alot to analyze