Sweetfin details Stellar Pizza cost-saving robotics strategies
The companies said earlier this month on Curbivore that Sweetfin and Stellar Pizza are confident the robots offer long-term cost-saving opportunities for restaurants.
“We are really investing and building our technology stack … to be as efficient as possible within the confines of our small footprints, which allows us, as operators, to be a little better at controlling our labor, operating costs and all of our other costs. Seth Cohen, Sweetfin’s co-founder and president, said “other inputs related to our business” at a Curbivore panel.
The 18-unit poke bowl chain uses sidewalk delivery robots to fulfill all first-party delivery orders for its Santa Monica and Westwood, California locations. Cohen said the efficiency of this fulfillment model is key to the quality and safety of foods like poke, which are temperature- and time-sensitive.
Stellar Pizza’s robots aren’t consumer-facing—the company’s co-founder and CEO Benson Tsai uses a robotic-enabled truck on the panel to fully cook 12-inch pizzas in four and a half minutes.
The robotic claws inside the truck, through a refrigerated compartment (holding 420 dough balls) and transport them to a dough press machine. The dough then enters the truck’s overhead line, where sauce, cheese and up to 10 different sauces can be robotically distributed on top. For the sausage distribution, Tsai said, a small saw cut fresh sausage slices from 19 sausage logs and dropped 19 slices of sausage on the pizzas below at the same time.
“Our long-term goal is to make sure the pizzas are made on the go to your home to eliminate all of their inefficiencies. [delivery] system,” Tsai said.
Both companies shared how their technologies have improved efficiency and customer experience and maintained profitability, despite industry concerns about the cost of robotics.
Sweetfin uses delivery bots for first-party orders
Partnered with Sweetfin coconut deliveryCohen said he has a food delivery robot company working with Main Chick Hot Chicken, Kitchen United Mix and Jinya Ramen Bar to “deliver as efficiently as possible.”
“We can park these robots outside our restaurants. [food] once the bag is sealed and stapled, we can drop the product directly into the robot,” said Cohen. “Instead of the 45-minute delivery wait time where a courier ships multiple orders at once… [food with] The robot is delivered in under 15 minutes within two miles.”
Cohen said this fast delivery has boosted Sweetfin orders. The robots help make the cost structure of first-party delivery “much more logical” because humans aren’t paid to move those orders, significantly lowering Sweetfin’s per-delivery costs.
“We’re not in third-party apps using the service, so there’s no increase in markup,” he said. “The customer does not have to pay [a] tip, they don’t have to pay delivery fees … so it’s really a win-win situation for the consumer and the business.”
This value proposition is competitive, Cohen said, because it offers consumers a faster, cheaper delivery experience with a higher-quality end product.
Stellar Pizza’s robots keep menu costs low
Benson Tsai, CEO and co-founder of Stellar Pizza, said in a Curbivore post that he left his job as a senior battery engineer at SpaceX in 2014 to use his technology infrastructure to “solve affordability issues” and inefficiencies in food distribution and production. . panel.
Stellar Pizza after launch in 2019 Grabbed $16.5 million last year In a funding round backed by Jay-Z’s Marcy Venture Partners, following an earlier $9 million investment round.
The company is currently focused on the pickup service, but Tsai said he is open to the idea of exploring delivery bots in the future. Stellar Pizza’s truck Works at University of Southern Californiabut he said he aims to open it on college campuses across Los Angeles.
Tsai said that while robotics and technology may be “very, very expensive” to restaurant operators, Stellar Pizza develops all of its pizza truck technology in-house, including electronics, software and the point-of-sale system. This level of ownership allows the company to respond quickly to customer feedback and fix problems with robotics.
The truck, which costs about $300,000, records the makeline process on video. At Curbivore, conference attendees were able to watch their pizza being made on a screen next to the truck, with cameras recording different stages of the production line. Sensors control material placement and pizza quality, Bloomberg reportsand if the pies are not measured, they are moved from the production line to the bin. But Tsai told the publication that the pizza failure rate is close to zero. Release reports, successful pies are assigned ID numbers and QR codes to which they can be returned in case of a consumer complaint.
This production line should only have one human worker on the line, Tsai said, but Stellar Pizza employs two workers on the truck to manage toilet breaks. The minimal labor costs of the trucks, mostly to transport the baked pizza in boxes, allow Stellar Pizza to keep the prices of its 12-inch pies low, he said, selling the cheese pizza for $7.95 and the sausage pizza for $8.95.“We have a magic box that makes pizza, and my task is to find out what the steps are to make it a successful business, a successful brand. The world is our oyster right now,” he said.