Let's Pizza, a vending machine that creates pizzas from scratch in 2.5 minutes, is about to plant a flag in U.S. soil. The machine was created by Italian Claudio Torghel and is distributed by A1 Concepts, based out of The Netherlands.
The machine's presence has been growing throughout Europe since its launch about three years ago and A1 Concepts is now planning on opening a U.S. headquarters in the Atlanta area in the third quarter. Machine distribution is expected to follow at a brisk pace, with national companies already expressing interest in installation.
PizzaMarketplace talked with A1 Concepts' CEO Ronald Rammers about the machine's debut in the U.S., where pizza competition is certainly not lacking.
PizzaMarketplace: How does the machine create fresh pizzas for every order?
Ronald Rammers:The machine contains a specially developed bag of flour and a bag of mineral water. Every time you order a pizza, the machine will start making the dough, then shape it into a crust, and top it with organic tomato sauce. Next, one of the toppings is placed on top and the pizza is ready for the oven.
PizzaMarketplace: How is the pizza able to cook so fast?
Ronald Rammers: In just 2.5 minutes after you've ordered, a fresh and hot pizza is ready to eat. This is (because of) an infra-red oven.
PizzaMarketplace: What toppings are available and how does the machine remain stocked?
Ronald Rammers:Each pizza machine is connected to the Internet to control stock. If necessary, besides the standard services, the operator will (re-stock). Each pizza machine contains ingredients for 200 pizzas.
We have our own facilities where we produce the toppings and it is possible to create any kind of pizza – meat, fish, vegetarian, any kind. We also receive requests for kosher pizzas and pizzas that meet the requirements for Muslims. All options are open. Each machine offers four different pizzas.
PizzaMarketplace: What will the pizzas retail for?
Ronald Rammers:The suggested retail price for a 27-centimeter (about 10.5-inch) pizza is $5.95. But it is possible to charge different prices at special locations. A large theme park in Florida wants the pizza machines in their location. This way, they can offer the same quality of pizzas all day and they will likely charge more.
PizzaMarketplace: Where are you planning on installing Let's Pizza once it comes to the U.S.?
Ronald Rammers:You will find Let's Pizza at malls, airports, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, universities, gas stations, bus stations, etc.
PizzaMarketplace: Will the machines be operated by corporate, franchisees or both?
Ronald Rammers: We will offer local operators the responsibility to be in charge of one or more machines. There are also companies – national companies – that want to do the entire operation.
PizzaMarketplace: Will Let's Pizza directly try to compete with local or national pizza operations? Do you anticipate any cannibalization of these existing players?
Ronald Rammers: We don't have the intention to become the competition of the existing players. But once people discover the quality of the pizza and the convenience and, indeed, the speed factor, we expect to have competition in our favor.
Let's Pizza is a huge success in Europe and especially in Italy. That was proof for us that we have a very good pizza.
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