Dodo Pizza

Robot helps with pizza baking

The pizza baking robot will also be introduced to Dodo Pizza's European locations as soon as series production begins.
Dodo Pizza
The pizza baking robot will also be introduced to Dodo Pizza's European locations as soon as series production begins.

A first store of the Russian franchise chain in the US is getting tech support in the kitchen. The company xRobotics tested its pizza-making robot at Dodo Pizza in Oxford.

According to Maxim Kotin, Head of Communications at Dodo, there are crucial differences between the robot used and models from other manufacturers. The robotics startup, founded in 2019, has developed xPizza One to cover only the most time-consuming part of pizza making: topping the dough. What's more, it doesn't use expensive robotic manipulators. These are the moving parts of the robotic assembly that perform the mechanical work of the robot . Instead, the device is based on a completely different technology that makes it much cheaper and easier to build and operate. Last, xPizza One was built not for robotics shows, but for real-world business, he said. Regular maintenance and repairs can be done by the kitchen crew without any technical knowledge.

The test at Dodo Pizza started on March 11. It involved setting up the xPizza One to add 11 types of toppings - which covers 90 per cent of Dodo Pizza's menu in Oxford. The only change the team had to make to get the robot into the regular workflow was to switch from sliced bacon to bacon bits. Over the course of a month, the robot processed 472 pizzas and allowed the team to save 32 hours of manual labor. Kotin says the robot's average productivity reaches 100 pizzas per hour - depending on the complexity and number of toppings. Dodo reports that there have been no complaints from customers about changes in the quality of the product.

Dodo Pizza is among the fastest-growing pizza brands and is a technology-focused franchise. The company currently employs more than 150 software engineers and analysts who work on Dodo IS, Dodo's proprietary technology solution that is now used in more than 690 units in 14 countries. Dodo plans to install xPizza One in its outlets in Europe once the robot is ready for mass production.

The robot as a tool

Alena Tikhova, owner of Dodo Pizza Oxford, said, "We sometimes have a hard time hiring employees because, let's face it, working in a pizzeria is hard. This robot takes the burden off your shoulders by taking over the most tedious part of pizza making. It brings the fun back and allows the crew to focus on the customers. I also appreciate that it is so simple and easy to use. You don't need an engineer with a PhD. If something breaks, you just take out the broken part, mail it to the company and put in the replacement part instead."

Maxim Kotin, Head of Communications: "In our industry, there are many startups working in the field of automation, with robots at the center of the entire business. This strategy is rarely sustainable. If you have a robot that makes pizzas, burgers or burgers or burritos, it doesn't mean you have a successful business - especially if that robot is expensive. The robot is just one element in the equation. What we like about xRobotics' approach is that they treat their robot in a reasonable way - simply as a piece of equipment. Very sophisticated, advanced, innovative. But still - just a tool. In the right hands, that tool can do wonders."

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