Zume, the company whose delivery vans use hyper-efficient ovens to make your pizza as it is delivering it to you, is jumping on the trend for healthy and fresh fast food.
The company is announcing a partnership with food service appliance maker Welbilt today to deliver Zume Pizza in a new generation of delivery vehicles that are equipped with Welbilt appliances. This partnership also allows Zume to open up its platform to other food companies that want a more flexible system to cook en route and meet customer demand. The partners hope to disrupt the $43 billion food delivery market in the U.S.
“I had the idea seven years ago that you could cook food while moving,” said Alex Garden, CEO and cofounder of Zume (and a former Xbox executive), in an interview with VentureBeat. “Food trucks can only serve people walking up to the truck. But that’s a fraction of the market. We started with the idea that if you cook food on the way, you get all of these benefits in the quality and health side of things.”
Zume has created “Baked on the Way” technology to eliminate the dwell time, or the period when cooked food sits idle while being delivered. Zume optimizes the baking and delivery process to ensure a customer’s meal is delivered at peak freshness. To make this happen, Zume predicts what customers will order and when, so that the trucks are optimized to cook and arrive at the delivery location without using chemical stabilizers to preserve food. It’s like a food truck that comes to you.
Garden said the company can make predictions using machine learning. Then it decides how many pizzas should be made for a given truck, which can make as many as 200 deliveries a day. It pre-processes those pizzas with toppings, and then it bakes them enroute to the customers.
“This approach allows for wildly better health outcomes and great economics,” Garden said. “We are capitalists and we want to make money. But it’s great to use technology to improve health.”
In 2018, the Silicon Valley-based Zume plans to serve 26 additional markets, with its first expansion of the year to the cities of Sunnyvale and Cupertino, followed by Santa Clara, Campbell, Redwood City, San Carlos, and Belmont.
Zume’s latest Welbilt trucks will have six ovens. In the case of Zume Pizza, the company can bake 120 pizzas per hour with those ovens. Over time, Welbilt will add appliances such as steamers, griddles, and broilers.
“We are very pleased to be working with Zume on their next generation Food Delivery Vehicle,” said Hubertus Muehlhaeuser, Welbilt’s CEO, in a statement. “Their vision for how automation, connectivity, and artificial intelligence in the kitchen enhance the food delivery experience is closely aligned with Welbilt’s FitKitchen. Our success with multiple accelerated cooking technology platforms demonstrates that we know how to identify industry-changing opportunities and seize them through agile technology discovery and rigorous product development.”
Mountain View, California-based Zume is also separating itself into two parts. One is Zume Inc., which can expand to new brands, and the other is Zume Pizza, which will continue to target the pizza delivery market. Zume Inc. will also be run by Garden. The company has raised $96 million and it has 180 employees.
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