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This Artisanal Pizza Chain Will Soon Add Up to 3,600 Locations

Gourmet pizza from a vending machine? Yes, please!

Gourmet pizza that's ready in 3 minutes? Sign us up! That's exactly the kind of service that pizza chain 800 Degrees Pizza plans on providing as it embarks on a major expansion that could bring their wood-fired Neapolitan pies to a location near you.

The fast-casual chain is enlisting the help of robots for this endeavor. According to Restaurant Business, the company has struck a deal with robotics company Piestro, which will create bespoke automated pizza-making machines for them. As many as 3,600 of these machines will be placed in high-traffic locations like airports and hospitals over the next five years, in order to provide customers with fresh pies 24 hours a day.

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The 800 Degrees chain currently has 15 brick-and-mortar locations worldwide, some of which you'll find in cities like Cleveland, Chicago, New York, Miami, and Santa Monica. But creating the automated pizza machines is where the company sees its future, according to award-winning chef Anthony Carron who founded the concept in 2012.

"When [Piestro CEO Massimo De Marco] and I first connected about Piestro's technology, I saw both the immediate and long-term impact automation could have on our business," Carron told Restaurant Business.

Besides the speed of execution, the new pizza machines will have the ability to churn out a great volume of pies without being "reloaded"—each machine will be able to hold ingredients for 80 pizzas at a time. Plus, customers will be able to watch their pizza being made through a window.

And if you're skeptical about the quality of a vending machine pizza, rest assured—these contraptions will be using recipes adapted by the chef specifically for the automated process. And the artisanal, fresh ingredients that the chain has built its reputation on will still be used just as they would be in one of its restaurants.

While 800 Degrees is still tinkering with recipes and scaling the technology, specifics on when and how these machines will be put into circulation are still pending.

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Mura Dominko
Mura is a Deputy Editor leading ETNT's coverage of America's favorite fast foods and restaurant chains. Read more