Behind the dark green facade of a new pizzeria in Paris, gun-filled spoons and spatulas perform an elaborate ballet to produce a bespoke cake. But without human hands. Paris tries to make a pizza with a robot.
The glass-enclosed kitchen has equipped with a silver robot. Silver robot bakes and packs pizza on specially designed equipment at speeds of up to 80 per hour.
After ordering at the self-service terminal, customers can watch the machine roll out fresh dough, distribute tomato sauce, add organic vegetables, cheese, and other side dishes and then crush the creations in the oven.
“It’s a very fast process. It’s perfect control and quality guaranteed because robots are a constant,” said 34-year-old Sebastien Rovers. Sebastien Roverso is co-founder and inventor of Pazzi, the robot, and his restaurant.
Rovers and fellow engineer and inventor Cyril Hamon began their adventure eight years ago in the family garage. And they raised millions of euros from venture funds, including state development bank Bpifrance.
After opening its first restaurant in the Paris suburbs in 2019, the company turned to an international chain. Where employees would focus solely on customer service or cleaning tables.
Can pizza making robots replace Traditional pizza makers?
The Pazzi robot is almost completely autonomous and theoretically invulnerable to damage.
“And we have engineers who can work remotely and take control and surveillance with cameras so they can adjust things if necessary to ensure service continues,” said Roverso.
The tricky part is dealing with fresh dough because using frozen products is impossible.
“The dough is alive … every hour that passes is different,” says Thierry Grafanino, a chef and three-time winner of the World Pizza Competition in Rome, who was invited to help shape the recipe and preparation of Paci.
“We have to make sure that the robot can figure it out on its own and adapt, something that even some pizza makers can’t always do,” said Grafanino.
“We have a really big pizza today,” he said, “But we’re still trying to improve it and we’re not going to stop.”
Robots have also been seen as a response to the chronic restaurant and grocery shortages. In many countries, owners are struggling to hire workers. As Covid has noted many have given up on the industry’s long and stressful work hours.
But even if robots complement the chefs in the kitchen, Pazzi doesn’t intend to completely replace traditional pizza makers.
“There is Neapolitan pizza, Sicilian pizza, Roman pizza, and now there’s Pazzi pizza. Which is bake by robots, but it’s healthy competition in the end,” Grafanino added.
“It’s our responsibility to eat the best thin-crust pizza.”