Nala Robotics will supply Chicago-based Slice Factory with its autonomous chef, Pizzaiolaä, a multi-cuisine, voice-controlled pizza maker that also cooks pasta, burgers, wings, as well as prepares salads.
Under the terms of the agreement, Nala Robotics will custom design and install Pizzaiola at Slice Factory's newest locations to help fuel national expansion efforts. The pizza chain, which operates 12 locations in Chicago and surrounding the suburbs, has laid out an aggressive expansion plan heavily leveraging Nala Robotics technology and automation expertise. The flexibility of the fully automated robot chef will be able to cook Slice Factory's jumbo slice 28-inch and various Chicago-style stuffed pizzas, as well as serve up the restaurant chain's popular pasta dishes and assortment of chicken wings.
Robotics on the Rise
Slice Factory is the latest restaurant brand to put robots to the test. Other recent adopters include: McDonald's Slovenia is using the Bella robots to help deliver food. Wings and Rings and competitor Wing Zone will put Flippy 2 robot to work. QSR Jack in the Boxis using robots to work the fry and drink stations. Tech innovatorChipotle is testing a Robotic Kitchen Assistant. After a successful pilot program,White Castle will add the fry flipping robot Flippy to 100 locations.
Nala's custom solution will help Slice Factory expand production to meet rising demand for the jumbo slice craze it created in the Chicagoland area, plus offer a wide variety of food options, while also saving on labor costs.
To ensure efficiencies, the robotic operating system monitors more than 1,200 parameters every microsecond, ranging from robot field of vision and food quality to point-of-sales. Once a pizza order is placed, Pizzaiola will subsequently select, press and stretch the dough, add the sauce, cheese and toppings, and then cook, slice, and box the pizza based on customer preference. Pizzaiola also will be able to fulfil online orders and individual jumbo slices that can be scheduled for pickup at the chain's flagship Slice Thru drive-through within a few minutes of ordering.
"We're known for our jumbo pizzas and jumbo slices, and this partnership with Nala Robotics will help us improve production exponentially as we expand locations and service areas," said Slice Factory Founder and President Dom DiDiana, whose family moved from Naples, Italy, to Chicago in the mid-1990s and opened their first family-run Italian restaurant a few years later. "What's really exciting is that we now have the capability to run fully autonomous pizzeria-style restaurants with lots of menu items, while keeping our family recipes consistent with the same great taste and exceptional food quality our customers have loved for many years."