A-T Exclusive, Genius Innovators

Welcome to the Future: Meet a Vending Machine that Makes Pizza in Three Minutes

Now we just need this in pill form. On the moon.

Ladies and gentlemen, the future is here. All of those crying and moaning about the problems we’ll face tomorrow can kindly move to the back of the room. Here, I’ll give you a second to cease your whining about pollution, war, the recession, overpopulation, climate change, and Bristol Palin’s upcoming memoir. Screw that noise! Because mine eyes hath basked in the warming glow of this Brave New World, and the warming glow emanates from a vending machine that just baked me a fresh pizza, in three minutes.

Who the hell wants a flying car, anyway?


...from mouth to stomach, from bowels to...

The vending machine, charmingly called Let’s Pizza!, doesn’t just microwave a pizza like some pimply 7-Eleven grunt resenting his Friday night shift. It mixes flour and water, kneads the dough, rolls it flat, layers on tomato sauce, cheese, and your choice of toppings, bakes at super-high temperatures, then rolls it onto a paper plate. Cutlery and a little bag of oregano are included. The price? Around $4.50, depending on toppings.

Surprisingly, the pizza vending machine was not invented in America, a country that knows how much time is of the essence regarding hastily-prepared convenience food of dubious content, especially when we’re late for our Pilates classes. No, the machine was invented in the birthplace of pizza itself. Aw hell no. It’s only through divine faith that Italian pizza chefs (real ones, some with mustaches and goofy hats) haven’t set the entire country on fire as a result. Maybe if McDonald’s had introduced it. In fact, we should be praising our Lord and Savior every day that they haven’t yet created such a machine to fire out hamburgers, Good Burger style.

But the pizza machine does all of this, without spitting in your food, within a bright red box the size of one-and-a-half Ford Econolines. There are small windows that help you mark the progress of your pizza, from left to right: the lever goes down, pouring flour into the chute; the mixer starts to whirr with a plastic-sounding buzz like a wind-up train, and the mixture becomes more substantial as water is added. And then, with a vacuum pop, foom! the arm raises and the dough is sent through to be kneaded. This takes all of 14 seconds. Then the dough disappears behind the center of the machine, deep into its innards, and witchcraft happens. Eventually it slides onto a window on the right, where—and this is the best part, trust me—you can watch it spin while it’s being baked! Watch the cheese bubble and pop like some strange alien mutation in one minute and 20 seconds. This is The Miracle of Life for pizza fetishists.

This should play in the background when you watch the pizza machine.

The dough mixer, which works like a washing machine. A tasty washing machine of deliciousness.

So how does it taste? Even for 3-minute vending machine fare, the pizza could be better. The dough is thin-crust style, presumably given both the limitations of the machine and the inherent authenticity of regular Italian pizza. It was dry and spongy, and there wasn’t much sauce to speak of to complement it. But the cheese was the biggest problem: it had a distinct chemical taste and the texture of biting into a handful of packing peanuts liberally doused with Velveeta. Personally, I’m holding out for the stuffed-crust version, but only if they upgrade the cheese to something that doesn’t taste like the breathed-in contents of your mouth after walking into a sudden cloud of disinfectant.

The surprisingly dull innards of the machine. The white boxes to the right are cutlery.

You know what, though? The cheese will taste better when you’re drunk. That could be a new personal life motto. But it’s also the beauty of the pizza vending machine—piping hot food, 24 hours a day, without being yelled at by kebab shop employees or starting a fight with some gangbangers in a diner parking lot. It’s as easy as…well, getting a Diet Coke from any old vending machine. And for insomniacs, alcoholics and raging partygoers, the pizza vending machine—nay, the very idea of instant food at any hour—couldn’t be any better if the ghost of Farah Fawcett descended upon a golden staircase at 4 in the morning with a giant bag of Doritos. Why else are so many machines installed at university dorms?

When you're hammered, this will be more entertaining to watch than a Michael Bay film.

And you know what? It gives me hope for the future. Attention, inebriated citizens of Earth, stardate twenty-oh-one: Let’s Pizza!

  • "Let's Pizza!" reminds me a poster a college friend had. Hiro was from Japan, and on his wall he had a poster that read, "Let's Camping! Let's Sex!" It showed an impossibly fine-looking Japanese granola girl, dressed in hiking boots, a '70s-style halter top and daisy dukes, standing with an impish grin in front of a small pup tent. When I asked him where he got it, he said it was from a department store he worked at before coming to the States. It was in-store advertising for the sporting goods department.
    Japan is so weird.

  • tonyola

    Good suggestion for music. I recommend this as an alternative.[youtube 69O4PXzAQ5Y http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69O4PXzAQ5Y youtube]

  • Neat, but I thought in the Future we were supposed to eat pills. By the way, the Future was 11 years ago…

  • TechieInHell

    Is that lead photo from a press release, or is is just a still frame from "Back to the Future Part II"?
    Ever since the Chinese stole footage from Top Gun, I can't trust anything anymore.

  • Someone needs to bring that action Stateside. Like, yesterday.

    • Smells_Homeless

      Forget stateside. I'm going for kitchenside!

  • My old co-op living college residence hall could have used one of those when I was there, seeing as one weekend somebody came in so drunk as to throw a min-pizza in the microwave, set it for something like 60 minutes, and then wander off and fall asleep. The rest of the hall was up at three that morning, when the pizza finally caught fire and set off the alarms.

    • bzr

      My junior year dorm could have used something like that…3 months and 15 fire drills doesn't add up. It was half people leaving popcorn in the microwave for 20 minutes, and half a faulty fire alarm. Oh, and I lived on the top of the 11th-floor building, and every time it happened it only increased my appetite for murder.

      • ptschett

        The worst I wanted to hurt someone over a fire alarm was in 2000 on election night. Most of us on my floor in the dorm were staying up way late watching the results and wondering which way Florida was going to go. Finally at 2 AM I'd had enough and went to bed.

        At 4 AM the fire alarm goes off. Apparently something in the IT closet let out a little magic smoke (and I didn't even know Lucas made routers!) Everyone was sent outside, and after half an hour in the cold the powers that be finally let us go in the lounges of the neighboring dorms.

        It wasn't till 6:30 we got to go back in, so I wound up staying awake devouring any new news overnight, then failing to stay awake through back-to-back Physics I and Statics classes.

      • As a small dorm (50 guys), we didn't have too many problems like that… except for the night when the leaking-prodigiously-for-six-months second floor showers leaked down into a smoke detector on the floor below. Between the hours of two and six that morning, there were four separate false alarms, culminating in the housing department kicking everybody out of the hall with whatever clothes and textbooks one could grab on the way out, and closing the building down for six hours while they "fixed the problem."

        Oh, by the way, the "fix" was to disable the shorted smoke detector. As far as I know, those showers leak to this day.

      • P161911

        We had some idiots freshman year that tried to reheat a pizza in the oven…while still in the cardboard box!

        • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

          You know how the make frozen pizza instructions tell you to remove the plastic, paper, and cardboard before placing onto the center rack of the oven? I did not get that right once, and I still tried to eat the 'middle' after scraping.

  • Lotte

    I don't know why this is better than frozen pizza, but then again a Delissio doesn't cost $4.50. It costs (lookin' it up…) Holy shit! It's half price at $3.89 a box today!! And that's in Canadian!! Well, I know what's on my 'to-do' list tomorrow 😉

    • Deartháir

      That's like six bucks American now, isn't it?

      • FuzzyPlushroom

        Sure, but at least Nestlé believes that Americans are able to spell "DiGiorno".

      • Mr_Biggles

        Gawd it feels good to say that after all this time, and yet no one even plussed you on it. We all dutifully laughed when we saw it on EVERY SINGLE FORUM I'VE EVER VISITED when it was the other way around.

      • I like that I can go to Windsor and not even have to change currency. Ever since the US and Canadian dollars have been at parity (or darn near to it), most places in Windsor will accept our funny money in place of yours.

        • In Oregon back in the '70s, a noticeable fraction of the circulating coinage was Canadian and nobody much cared one way or the other. The only time it mattered was when using a vending machine. Oregon's not even all that close to the border, so the extent of diffusion was fairly significant. I seem to recall it wasn't until the early '80s that the banks started getting picky about it, which in turn suppressed the general circulation pretty quickly.

  • Maymar

    I can't trust a pizza machine that thinks you need cutlery.

  • BlackIce_GTS

    If this is just 'not very good' on top of being quick, cheap, and awesome, they'll probably do well there, because nonrobotized English pizza is terrible.

  • bboxy

    even though this pizza was, we hear, gross, i'm sure that in a few years we in big cities will have machines selling more-edible pizza! that'll be the day.

  • Does it do Hawaiian? I'm so in if it does Hawaiian.

  • What happens when the pizza get jammed? I think pushing over this machine would end deliciously badly.

    Also, how long for a Chicago slice? Whoever brings this to 'Merica needs to capitalize on that!

  • When I think of druken eating of greasy food at ungodly hours of the night/morning, I think Waffle House, not pizza.
    <img src="http://www.flakmag.com/misc/images/wafflehouse.jpg"width=500&gt;

    I'm not even sure why they put locks on the doors, they never close.

    • But do they have Waffle House joints in England?

    • Deartháir

      I tend to get phone calls in the middle of the night from Jon Singo (aSoundofSleep) when he's eating something called "chicken vaginas".

      I frequently have trouble understanding your country, but I know this: I've never seen a 24-hour waffle restaurant up here, and we don't eat chicken vaginas. Unless you count hot-dogs. I file that under "miscellaneous/other".

      • P161911

        "chicken vaginas" must be a regional thing, never heard of that as food.

        Waffle House serves much more than just waffles or just breakfast food. They have steaks (if you can call a 1/4" thick t-bone a steak), hamburgers, pork chops, and everything comes with hash browns.

        They serve bacon, they even have a bacon lovers BLT with 6 or 8 strips of bacon!

        Check out the menu: http://www.wafflehouse.com/welcome/menu

        If you ever find yourself in the southeastern US you deserve a trip to a Waffle House. (Before you make any smart comments about the South, remember we probably feel the same way about Canada.)

        • The best time to go to a Waffle House is between 10AM and Noon on a Sunday. It's half shiny, well-scrubbed church-goin' folk that just got out of services, and half hung-over, greasy stoners that just got kicked out of whatever friend's house they passed out at during the night.

        • FuzzyPlushroom

          The nearest Waffle House is in Pennsylvania.

          I have friends in Pennsylvania.

          That would be a bad idea, still.

          At least there's a couple of Sonics north of Boston. One of these times…

          Oh, and Blake, this directly affects you.

        • PrawoJazdy

          It's seasonal and regional.

          When the price of Chicken Vagninas is low, they're offered for sale.

    • bzr

      God DAMN I love Waffle House. I wish they would expand into the Northeast market without irony.

  • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    I like to make pizza from scratch. It's very cheap and very easy really. All you need is two days, that's for the dough to rise. That right there is what makes this machine hopeless, unless it's like the Mechanical Turk and the dough is really pre-made/pre-risen and all the mixing is just for show really.

    • They use a flux capacitor to compress time during the rising cycle.

    • P161911

      I'm a little suspect of the dough making part too. Maybe the dough you see if for the next pizza, not yours.

  • texlenin

    No bacon on this pizza. Le sigh….