The first automated Pizza Hut is now open in Israel | Franchise News
Pizza Hut Israel attracts large crowds and feeds them with an almost fully automated restaurant in a mall in Israel.
From afar, the restaurant looks like a shipping container, but the 40-foot container is filled with all sorts of robotic arms, conveyor belts, and other gadgets that add toppings and cook pizza. It works with 120 input sensors, 20 AI-powered cameras and is connected to the site’s digital and control infrastructure. To keep it clean, the kitchen is flooded with ozone-infused water every 40 minutes. The result is a fully cooked boxed pizza in a drawer, ready to be delivered or picked up.
It’s the brainchild of Hyper Robotics, which itself is the brainchild of Pizza Hut Israel president Udi Shamai, who co-founded the robotics company three years ago. The original location opened quietly in October, or as quietly as you can run a pizza maker in a crowded outdoor atrium. It was a big step, but Shamai said it was really a release.
“It’s not a complete system,” Shamai said. “There should be at least 16 toppings, there are only eight now and the dough is pre-made.”
Still, the proof of concept draws huge crowds and has garnered a lot of attention in the industry. Shamai was reluctant to name names, but said he was working with a few US-based pizza vendors, one of the third-party vendors and a multi-brand multinational franchise company.
The next iteration won’t be bigger, but it will include a dough cabinet, all the traditional toppings, and room for larger New York-style pizzas.
Today, the operation requires a lot of engineers, data geeks and software gurus. During the three days the restaurant operates each week, they work in a control room above the kitchen. The promise of future iterations is timely: labor savings and incredible efficiency. It provides fixed savings of 20% and round-the-clock operations.
He’s excited for more automated Pizza Huts, but he’s also teased new cuisines coming out of the Hyper Platform, including a burger concept and a bowl-based concept. And that’s Hyper’s big goal, to have a single automated kitchen capable of cooking multiple types of food with little to no mechanical upgrades. This would allow its Pizza Hut operations to grow, but also shorten the time to scale any brand that can be automated.
“The biggest story of all isn’t building the store, the biggest story is that we’re selling at scale,” Shamai said.
In his 30+ years in the restaurant business, he’s helped brands grow the hard way: location by location. In 30 years, he participated in the eradication of a few hundred sites. With Hyper Robotics’ fully self-contained kitchen, he wants to significantly reduce that time.
“When you build a chain, you usually build a store and train people for your stores and more and more. You find locations, hire an architect and build them all different. To build 100 to 200 locations, it takes five to 15 years, we do it in two months,” Shamai said. “You can buy Hyper, put them anywhere you want, hook them up to power, water, and a sink, and you have a string in a day.”
There is a lot of competition in the field of advanced robotics. Shamai said he was moving quickly to compete, aiming to run six of the updated locations in the United States and then release other types of food that could work in the container’s kitchen. There are plenty of opportunities for companies like Yum, the parent company of Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell. There’s just as much traction in the dark or ghost kitchen space and plenty of opportunity for convenience store and gas station operators.
He shared a video of the bot in action on LinkedIn, watch below.