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Picnic Works and Minnow Technologies Create Partnership to Bring Enhanced Automation Solutions to Foodservice Industry

Picnic Works, a Seattle-based developer of kitchen automation technology, announced a partnership with Minnow Technologies, a neighboring Seattle IoT startup that has developed the Pickup Pod, a self-service pickup solution for foodservice operators. The partnership leverages the expertise of both companies to help commercial kitchens, stadiums, large franchises, universities, and commercial food service providers envision and enable end-to-end food automation services. This includes a focus on mobile and kiosk ordering, automated food assembly, and secure contactless pickup solutions.

“Both companies share a desire to create automation solutions for the foodservice industry,” said Clayton Wood, CEO of Picnic. “Minnow’s cloud-connected pickup solutions are an excellent complement to Picnic kitchen automation technology. From mobile ordering to secure pickup, together we offer a complete modern automation solution.”

The partnership will build customized solutions using the two companies’ technology. Examples include building out new concession concepts at theme parks, stadiums, or schools. A customer can place a mobile or kiosk order that is made automatically by the Picnic station and then put in a heated or insulated Pickup Pod for the customer to retrieve at their convenience. At universities, students can place mobile pizza orders which are assembled by the Picnic Pizza Station and then picked up from a Pickup Pod. End-to-end automation solutions like these can help increase the efficiency of a kitchen at peak times, reduce food waste through efficient just-in-time ordering and production, and increase customer satisfaction with ordering and pickup.

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“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Picnic to bring leading-edge automation solutions to foodservice operators,” said Steven Sperry, CEO and co-founder of Minnow. “Our goal is to create solutions that delight diners while improving the efficiency and profitability of kitchens. By leveraging Picnic kitchen automation technology and Minnow’s pickup offering, we have an opportunity to bring best-in-class automation solutions to our customers.”

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The Picnic Pizza Station is autonomous and completely customizable for each order – after loading the dough, the Picnic station takes care of applying the sauce, cheese, fresh-cut pepperoni, and additional toppings. The finished pizzas are then loaded into the kitchen’s ovens for cooking. Each hour, the Picnic station can assemble up to 100 pizzas. The Picnic technology also allows for integration with a kitchen’s point-of-sale (POS) equipment and mobile ordering platforms. The customer roster for the Picnic Pizza Station includes managed foodservice providers Compass, Chartwells, and Sodexo Live!, Texas A&M University, The Ohio State University, SeaWorld, and numerous regional pizzerias with new customers coming online weekly.

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The Minnow Pickup Pod is an IoT-enabled, smart food locker that provides restaurants, ghost kitchens, cafeterias, and other foodservice operators with a self-service order pickup solution. Instead of leaving delivery and takeout orders on an unattended shelf, which inevitably leads to pick up errors and shrinkage, orders are kept in secure, insulated cubbies. To help ensure food safety and freshness, the Pickup Pod monitors every pickup, alerting the foodservice operator when food isn’t picked up within a specified time. Minnow Pickup Pods are proudly made in the USA by Hatco Corporation, a world-class foodservice equipment manufacturer. Today, Pickup Pods can be found in more than 15 states and most major cities including AtlantaBostonNew YorkSan FranciscoLos AngelesMiamiHoustonDallasWashington D.C, and Chicago with new installations happening weekly.

The Picnic Pizza Station and the Minnow Pickup Pods are NSF and ETL/UL certified, feature online connectivity, support integration with popular point-of-sale (POS) services like Toast and Square, and are supported with cloud-based software and over-the-air firmware updates. With a strong foundation of shared technological capabilities and an understanding of how to create customer-focused automation technology, the partnership between Picnic and Minnow sets the standard for food automation solutions.

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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