Fresh pizza may be coming to a vending machine near you. The Let's Pizza machine can do what no mechanized predecessor has done. It kneads and unrolls dough, stamps it flat, adds fresh ingredients, cooks, boxes, and delivers a pizza -- all in less than three minutes. Its distributor, A1 Concepts of the Netherlands, plans to put the machines in airports, malls, theme parks, and, yes, colleges.
"Everything about these pizzas is fresh," Ronald Rammers, CEO of A1 Concepts, told us. "There's a bag of flour, specially mixed, that comes straight from Italy. We combine it with fresh water, fresh sauce, and fresh toppings."
Click on the photo below for a Let's Pizza slideshow.
Let's Pizza vending machines will make their American debut in Atlanta in August.
(Source: A1 Concepts)
The Italian inventor Claudio Torghele spent six years perfecting the mechanized vendor, with the idea that it would do more than simply zap a frozen pizza with microwaves. His machine mechanically mixes the dough from bags of water and flour and then passes it through a series of shaping and pre-heating stations that create a flattened and partially baked pizza base. A conveying tray moves the preheated crust beneath metering devices that squirt on the tomato sauce. Other distribution components add cheese, sausage, ham, and fresh vegetables. The machine then moves its product to an infrared oven for about a minute before putting it in a cardboard container and sliding it through a slot in the front of the machine.
Torghele told us he conjured up the idea while visiting California and seeing the emphasis on fast food. His vision originally called for a pasta machine. "After we started building it, we decided that pizza would be a more global product, so we changed it."