The Future of Pizza

New technology delivers innovation to America’s favorite food

Hot, saucy, and oozing with cheese—pizza is America’s favorite comfort food. There are almost 77,000 pizza restaurants across the United States. But how pizza is produced and delivered to your kitchen table is rapidly changing.

Engineers are building robots that make pizza, 3-D printing the ingredients, and outfitting cars and drones to deliver the pies. “There are many innovations in the pizza industry right now,” says Jenny Fouracre-Petko, who works at Domino’s. 

Pizza is America's favorite comfort food. It's hot, saucy, and oozing with cheese. There are almost 77,000 pizza restaurants across the United States. But how pizza is produced and delivered to your kitchen table is rapidly changing.

Engineers are building robots that make pizza. They are 3-D printing the ingredients. And they are outfitting cars and drones to deliver the pies. "There are many innovations in the pizza industry right now," says Jenny Fouracre-Petko. She works at Domino's.

Pizza Car

Domino’s is the largest pizza delivery company in the U.S. But with so many pies to deliver, the company wanted a way to make sure each one arrives piping hot. So five years ago, they began developing a custom delivery car.

Domino’s worked with automaker General Motors to revamp the Chevrolet Spark. Designers removed the passenger seats, leaving only the driver’s seat. This freed up space for a pizza-warming oven. The result: the Domino’s Delivery Expert, a small car customized to hold a driver and up to 80 pizzas!

Each Domino’s store has the option to buy a car. So far, 154 have been purchased nationwide.

Domino's is the largest pizza delivery company in the U.S. It delivers millions of pies. So the company wanted a way to make sure each one arrives piping hot. It began developing a custom delivery car five years ago.

Domino's worked with automaker General Motors. The two companies decided to use the Chevrolet Spark. Designers removed the passenger seats. Only the driver's seat was left. This freed up space for a pizza-warming oven. The result was the Domino's Delivery Expert. It is a small car customized to hold a driver and up to 80 pizzas!

Each Domino's store has the option to buy a car. So far, 154 have been purchased nationwide.

Pizza ATM

Two years ago, students at Xavier University in Ohio couldn’t find a hot meal on campus after the cafeteria closed at 8:00 p.m. So last year, campus officials installed a Pizza ATM. The 1,500-pound vending machine bakes a hot pizza in just three minutes. It became a huge hit.

“In the first month, we were selling pizzas as fast as we could load them in the machine,” says Jude Kiah, who works at Xavier.

To make the pizza, chefs make dough and partially bake it. Then they load up the crust with sauce, cheese, and toppings. After that, the pizza goes into a fireproof box. Pizzas are stored in the ATM. When a student makes a selection, the machine finishes the baking process and dispenses a sizzling-hot pie.

At Xavier University in Ohio, the cafeteria closes at 8:00 p.m. Years ago, students couldn't find a hot meal on campus later than that.  So last year, campus officials installed a Pizza ATM. It is a 1,500-pound vending machine. It bakes a hot pizza in just three minutes. The Pizza ATM became a huge hit.

"In the first month, we were selling pizzas as fast as we could load them in the machine," says Jude Kiah. He works at Xavier.

To make the pizza, chefs make dough and partially bake it. Then they load up the crust. They add sauce, cheese, and toppings. After that, the pizza goes into a fireproof box. Pizzas are stored in the ATM. A student selects the pizza he or she wants. Then the machine finishes the baking process. It dispenses a sizzling-hot pie.

3-D Printed Pizza

Imagine a pizza appearing with the push of a button. With a 3-D printer, it’s possible! BeeHex, a company in Columbus, Ohio, is experimenting with creating tasty pizzas using a 3-D printer.

The printer is loaded with large tubes filled with liquid versions of dough, sauce, and cheese. The printer squeezes the ingredients onto a flat surface in layers. In just three minutes, it prints the whole pizza. Then the pizza gets baked. “It’s really fast and entertaining,” says Benjamin Feltner, co-founder of BeeHex.

At first, getting the 3-D printed pizza to taste good was a lot like a science experiment, says Feltner. The dough needed more water, and it tasted better when made from a cauliflower batter. The company hasn’t quite figured out how to add toppings; they’re working on it.

Feltner expects the first 3-D pizza printer to be up and running next year. Soon, you might see a 3-D pizza printer in a supermarket, airport, or amusement park.

Imagine a pizza appearing with the push of a button. You can do that with a 3-D printer. BeeHex is a company in Columbus, Ohio. It is experimenting with creating tasty pizzas using a 3-D printer.

The printer is loaded with large tubes. They are filled with liquid versions of dough, sauce, and cheese. The printer squeezes the ingredients onto a flat surface. It does this in layers. In just three minutes, it prints the whole pizza. Then the pizza gets baked. "It's really fast and entertaining," says Benjamin Feltner. He is the co-founder of BeeHex.

At first, getting the 3-D printed pizza to taste good was hard. It was a lot like a science experiment, says Feltner. The dough needed more water. And it tasted better when made from a cauliflower batter. The company hasn't quite figured out how to add toppings. But it is working on it.

Feltner expects the first 3-D pizza printer to be up and running next year. Soon, you might see a 3-D pizza printer in a supermarket, airport, or amusement park.

Pizza Robots

At Zume, a company in Mountain View, California, Pepe, Giorgio, Bruno, and Marta make hundreds of pizzas a day. Pepe and Giorgio squirt sauce onto the dough. Marta spreads the sauce. Bruno slides the pizzas into the oven.

These aren’t people—they’re robots. Zume created them last year as part of its mobile pizza making and delivery service. Robots do much of the pizza assembling. Then the pies are baked inside a delivery truck on the way to their destination.

Zume is keeping track of which types of pizzas people order and in what areas. The company will use this data to predict which pizzas people will want, so it can preload them into the truck, shortening delivery times.

Zume is a company in Mountain View, California. Pepe, Giorgio, Bruno, and Marta work there. They make hundreds of pizzas a day. Pepe and Giorgio squirt sauce onto the dough. Marta spreads the sauce. Bruno slides the pizzas into the oven.

These aren't people. They are robots. Zume created them last year. It did this as part of its mobile pizza making and delivery service. Robots do much of the pizza assembly. Then the pies are baked inside a delivery truck. This happens on the way to their destination.

Zume is keeping track of which types of pizzas people order. The company is also noting where the orders come from. The company will use this data to predict which pizzas people will want. Then it will preload the pizzas into the truck. This will shorten delivery times.

Delivery Drone

Last year, two pizza lovers in a small town in New Zealand got their pies delivered by a drone. The remote-controlled aircraft carried Domino’s pizza over the town of Whangaparaoa.

That was the drone’s first delivery. The company is continuing to test this delivery method. Right now, the drone can travel about 18 miles per hour. It can fly up to 1 mile from the Domino’s store. The company is working to expand the delivery zone to deliver pizzas up to 6 miles away.

Drone deliveries can avoid traffic jams and stoplights, getting pizza into the hands of customers quickly. The company hopes to use the drone to deliver pizzas in less than 10 minutes.

Last year, a drone delivered Domino’s pizza. It went to two people in New Zealand. The remote-controlled aircraft carried over the town of Whangaparaoa.

That was the drone’s first delivery. The company is continuing to test this delivery method. Right now, the drone can travel about 18 miles per hour. It can fly up to 1 mile from the Domino’s store. The company is working to expand the delivery zone. They hope to deliver pizzas up to 6 miles away.

Drone deliveries can avoid traffic jams and stoplights. They can also get pizza into the hands of customers quickly. The company hopes to use the drone to deliver pizzas in less than 10 minutes.

There are 154 Delivery Expert cars in the U.S. If you wanted all 50 states to have the same number of cars, how many would be left over? Solve with an equation.

There are 154 Delivery Expert cars in the U.S. If you wanted all 50 states to have the same number of cars, how many would be left over? Solve with an equation.

Xavier University has a Pizza ATM loyalty program, which earns you 1 free pizza after you buy 5 pizzas. 1 pizza costs $9. You have $48. Do you have enough money to buy 5 pizzas and get a free one? If so, how much money is left over? 

Xavier University has a Pizza ATM loyalty program, which earns you 1 free pizza after you buy 5 pizzas. 1 pizza costs $9. You have $48. Do you have enough money to buy 5 pizzas and get a free one? If so, how much money is left over? 

The 3-D printer can make 50 pizzas before it needs to be refilled. Is it right or wrong to say that to make 460 pizzas, you would need to refill the printer 9 times? Explain how you know, using equations and your knowledge of remainders.

The 3-D printer can make 50 pizzas before it needs to be refilled. Is it right or wrong to say that to make 460 pizzas, you would need to refill the printer 9 times? Explain how you know, using equations and your knowledge of remainders.

Zume pizza robots can make 372 pizzas in one hour. The equation at the right shows how many pizzas the robots can make each minute. Use the vocabulary box to correctly label the equation. What does the quotient represent?

Zume pizza robots can make 372 pizzas in one hour. The equation at the right shows how many pizzas the robots can make each minute. Use the vocabulary box to correctly label the equation. What does the quotient represent?

There are 5,399 Domino’s stores in the U.S. That number is about 8 times greater than the number of stores in Australia, which is near New Zealand. About how many pizza stores are in Australia? Solve the problem using partial quotients on a separate sheet of paper. We started it for you.

There are 5,399 Domino’s stores in the U.S. That number is about 8 times greater than the number of stores in Australia, which is near New Zealand. About how many pizza stores are in Australia? Solve the problem using partial quotients on a separate sheet of paper. We started it for you.

Back to top
Read Aloud