In this week’s pizza news, Pizza Gio is unveiled. A pizza vending machine, it is the first of its kind in Australia. The vending machine is controlled by a touch screen and produces 11” artisan pizzas in under 3 minutes.
The brainchild of George Pompei, owner of Pompei’s pizzeria and Italian restaurant in Sydney’s Bondi Beach, the Pizza Gio machine vends two varieties of pies cooked on-demand – Margherita pizza and Hot Salami pizza.
Pompei worked on the machine for over two years before its unveiling. One of the keys to the success was getting the machine to maintain properly chilled temps for the pies until they are selected by the customer. The vending machine can hold 84 pizzas at a time and is restocked daily with pizzas partially baked and suspended in a blast-chilled state. Once the customer makes the selection and pays via credit card or cash, the machine heats to 300 degrees Celsius (572 degrees Fahrenheit) and produces the finished product in under three minutes to the eagerly awaiting consumer.
Says Pompei, "The oven is really cutting-edge. What it does, it's actually able to replicate what goes in on a wood fired oven. We can alter and set the parameters of the oven and the way it cooks to really make the pizza come out crisp and beautifully cooked. If we put in different types of pizza, we can adjust the cooking time too."
Quite technically advanced, the Gio sends updates to Pompei’s phone and computer, alerting him of any variance in temperature or in the case of a power outage. If either happens the machine stops dispensing the product and sends a notification alarm to Pompei. Now that’s quality control!
The Pizza Gio is a first for Australia, but not for the world. Pizza vending machines have already made their debut in Italy, France and the UK. Hailed to be the world’s first Pizza vending machine, Let’s Pizza began in Northern Italy in 2009 and according to their website they are expanding to the UK. Rumor has it that Let’s Pizza will eventually be landing in the US as well. The Let’s Pizza machines begin with fresh (not frozen) ingredients and produce a fully cooked pizza in less than three minutes.
Currently, a Los Angeles based company, Box Brands, is working on a pizza vending machine that will dispense a pizza in under 90 seconds (catering to Americans’ need for instant gratification!) They plan on offering several varieties of pizza, all for $5. The first of these ‘Pizza Boxes’ should be hitting the streets of Los Angeles in the next 5 months.