The Weekly Spoon: Little Caesar's Pizza Robot, Guided Cooking @ Housewares, Join Us in San Francisco

Don't be surprised if the Little Caesar's notable "Pizza pizza" slogan is soon uttered by a robot. That's right - the pizza chain is the next fast food giant to look into using automation to improve efficiency and take away repetitive, simple tasks from human workers. The Spoon uncovered a new patent that Little Caesar's was issued "for what is described as an automated 'apparatus provided for assembling pizza,' which includes “a pizza sauce spreading station, a cheese spreading station and a pepperoni applying station." 

Read the full scoop from The Spoon's Catherine Lamb here.

The pizza chain isn't the first company in the fast casual restaurant space to employ automation and robotics in their back of house operations - Zume Pizza in California has robots that prepare the early parts of a pizza. But Little Caesar's pizza robot appears to be more sophisticated and can even finish the pizza prep process by adding toppings. This optimization is another example of food manufacturers and restaurants looking to technology to improve speed and lower price point in a space getting crowded with competition from meal delivery and quick food offerings. 

Do you have tickets to SKS Europe yet? We are just three months away from our first European smart kitchen event and we have a 15% off discount for our newsletter readers. Early bird ticket pricing ends in 2 weeks so don't wait too long.

I just got back from the International Housewares Show in Chicago last weekend where I led a series of talks on the smart home and tech implications for the housewares market. One of the themes that emerged at the 2017 Housewares event was guided cooking and this year the concept was everywhere. For the full rundown of guided and connected cooking offerings at the show, be sure to read my Housewares trend piece

It was a busy week for food and appliance news in general - media giant Hearst unveiled a visual guided recipe skill for the Amazon Echo ShowiCuisine showed off their platform to connect regular utensils and Weight Watchers will soon have meal kits on grocery store shelves.

Next week I'm heading to San Francisco to partner with Target in hosting an event on the personalized smart kitchen. The event is from 6-8 pm on 3/22 at the Target Open House in San Francisco.

We're going to have a discussion on the trend of personalization in food and the connected kitchen with Shireen Yates, CEO of Nima, Kathrin Nikolussi, VP with Habit and Kevin Brown, CEO of Innit.

The tickets are free but limited - if you're not busy next Thursday and you're in town, come by.

Happy St. Patty's Day!


P.S. Make sure to sign up for the Spoon Slack to network with other foodtech pros and get alerted about new Spoon stories.

In the 03/15/2018 edition:

Guided Cooking Trend Continues Momentum In 2018

By Michael Wolf on Mar 15, 2018 05:55 am
Two years ago at the Housewares Show in Chicago, I saw the emergence of a new trend called guided cooking. At the show, companies like Cuciniale, Oliso and Hestan Cue showed off early efforts to combine sensors, software, precision heating and content in an orchestrated experience that guides home cooks through the creation of a meal. As […]
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Byte’s Smart Fridge Is Upstaging the Vending Machine. That’s Great News for Offices

By Catherine Lamb on Mar 14, 2018 05:01 pm
It’s hard to get amped about the food options inside an office building. Unless you work for a Google-like company and get subsidized or free meals, you’re probably stuck with vending machines. And we all know Fig Newtons do not a healthy lunch make. Byte Foods, founded in 2015 by husband-wife team Lee and Megan […]
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Bone Broth’s $103M Funding Shows Food Supplements Are A Hot Industry

By Catherine Lamb on Mar 14, 2018 02:27 pm
How would you like to have your bone broth and drink it too? Ancient Nutrition, a company best known for its bone broth-based protein supplement powder, just snagged a $103 million investment. The funding round was led by private equity firm VMG partners along with Hillhouse Capital and Iconiq Capital. It also included participation from over 100 […]
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iCuisine Wants To Bring Smart Features To Everday Kitchen Utensils

By Michael Wolf on Mar 14, 2018 10:34 am
While it seems like there is a new connected countertop appliance announced every other week, the smart kitchen revolution has largely left everyday kitchen tools like spatulas, whisks and other cooking utensils behind. That’s where iCuisine‘s founder Luic Mucha hopes to change things. Mucha was at the Housewares show this week in Chicago showing off […]
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Scoop: Little Caesars Has a Patent for a Pizza-Making Robot

By Catherine Lamb on Mar 13, 2018 02:57 pm
It’s hard to fear the robot revolution when they come bearing pizza. Little Caesars is the latest fast food chain to get in on the robot action. The pizza chain was issued a patent today for what is described as an automated “apparatus provided for assembling pizza,” which includes “a pizza sauce spreading station, a cheese spreading […]
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Walmart’s New Patent Filings Look to Farming, Drones, and “Bee Robots”

By Jennifer Marston on Mar 13, 2018 01:00 pm
Not to be outdone by Amazon, Walmart has rolled out a series of updates to its grocery business recently, including a partnership between its Sam’s Club wing and Instacart, the acquisition of Parcel, and the recent announcement of its Eden technology, which could help save the giant retailer $2 billion in food waste costs over […]
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Weight Watchers Unveils In-Store Meal Kits—and Possibly a New Approach

By Catherine Lamb on Mar 13, 2018 10:14 am
Weight Watchers is trying to carve out a space in the meal kit market—they’re just skipping the whole delivery bit. Instead, the weight management company announced last week that it is working with California-based FreshRealm to get a line of healthy meal kits on grocery shelves. The launch, slated for the second half of this […]
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Aspire’s Acquisition of Insect-Protein Bar Maker Exo Gives Bugs a Boost

By Jennifer Marston on Mar 12, 2018 03:00 pm
Get ready for the rise of the cricket-powered protein market.
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Hearst Unveils Visual Guided Recipe Skill for Amazon Echo

By Catherine Lamb on Mar 12, 2018 11:51 am
Alexa, let’s have Pancetta Chicken for dinner. Last month, publisher Hearst expanded its Amazon Echo- and Spot-enabled Good Housekeeping skill to include connected recipes. Dubbed Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, the skill provides simple “meal ideas” that can be thrown together in 30 minutes or less. The recipes will be curated by Susan Westmoreland, food director of Good […]
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Roundup: CPGs Are Exploring Foodtech Through Startup Incubators

By Jennifer Marston on Mar 10, 2018 04:00 am
CPGs look to emerging tech startups to keep up with changing consumer food preferences.
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