Your takeout pizza might be cooked by a robot in just a few short years. An American startup called Zume Pizza wants to bring robotics to the neighborhood pizzeria.

Zume is adapting robots to perform many of the repetitive tasks involved in pizza making, CNBC reported. That includes putting on the sauce and putting the pies into the oven.

The $25,000 to $35,000 robots are manufactured by Switzerland’s ABB Group (NYSE: ABB) which normally builds automated machines for factories. The idea is to apply the kind of automation that has revolutionized auto manufacturing to the restaurant industry.

Zume is not inventing anything new instead it is simply applying existing technologies to a new field. So far Zume only has one pizzeria in Mountain View, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. That store opened for business on April 1, 2016, and had sold 10,000 pizzas as of September 29, 2016.

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Baked in the Van

The hope is that the use of robots will enable Zume to reduce labor costs which are the biggest expense in the restaurant business. It wants to compete by offering pies for a flat $15, $16 or $18 apiece with free delivery and drivers that don’t require tips.

Another fascinating aspect of Zume is that the pies are cooked inside the delivery vans. The idea is to make sure the pizza is as fresh as possible.

Interestingly Zume is not the only company experimenting with pizza-making robots. Pizza Hut; part of Yum Brands (NYSE: YUM) is experimenting with robots in Japan.

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A Piece of a $40 Billion Pie

The stakes for Zume, which is trying to raise venture capital, are high because pizza is a $40 billion business in America. The industry is plagued by an often unreliable work force and threatened with rising labor costs. There’s a growing movement to raise the minimum wage in the United States to $15 an hour.

There are some potentially big opportunities for Zume if it can get its system to work. One would be to integrate with giant grocers like Kroger (NYSE: KR) which are increasingly adding precooked meals, cafes and pizzerias to their American stores. Zume would either install pizzerias in Kroger stores, or deliver pizzas to Kroger for sale.

Another is in parts of Europe and Japan where the workforce is aging and political pressures make increased immigration possible. Interestingly enough anti-immigration politicians; like Donald Trump, might be some of Zume’s best salesmen by depriving restaurants of their cheap labor supply.

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The Connection between Basic Income and Pizza Robots

The advent of Zume will certainly heat up the argument over technological unemployment in the United States. It is demonstrating that robotics and automation are a potential threat even to the most menial jobs.

Technological unemployment is the idea that a large percentage of jobs will be performed by machines and not people in the near future. Thinkers like Ryan Avent even predict it might lead to social collapse.

That will certainly increase interest in radical economic solutions like basic income schemes. Under such a scheme the government gives every citizen a basic income regardless of work. That would guarantee a functioning economy; even if a large percentage of citizens could find no jobs, because of technological unemployment. It might also lead to increased unemployment and anti-technology hysteria; two things America does not need.

It looks as if the future has arrived at the pizzeria. One has to wonder if people will accept robot pizza chefs in their communities.

https://i2.wp.com/geekcrunch.reviews/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/download-8.jpg?fit=288%2C161&ssl=1https://i2.wp.com/geekcrunch.reviews/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/download-8.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Daniel JenningsInnovationABB,Baked in the Van,Pizza Robots,Robot Pizza Chefs,Technological unemployment,The Connection between Basic Income and Pizza Robots,Zume,Zume PizzaYour takeout pizza might be cooked by a robot in just a few short years. An American startup called Zume Pizza wants to bring robotics to the neighborhood pizzeria. Zume is adapting robots to perform many of the repetitive tasks involved in pizza making, CNBC reported. That includes putting on...From A Geek to a Geek