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Italian Vending Machine Offers Hot Pizza

By Chris V. Thangham     Mar 14, 2009 in Food
Italian food is famous for being cooked fresh with fresh ingredients, but an entrepreneur wants to popularize his automatic vending machine that will cook pizza with fresh ingredients, including the dough.
Claudio Torghele, 56, become successful by selling pasta in California, and now wants to sell his automatic pizza vending machines in Italy.
Since Italians prefer fresh-cooked food, the new vending machine will cook pizza with fresh ingredients, flour, water, tomato sauce and ingredients. It will make pizza in less than three minutes for $4.95 a pie.
Torghele has named this machine “Let’s Pizza” and will offer it to Italy first and might introduce them later in the United States.
Torghele has released this vending machine through an Italian franchise chain, Brekky. They will serve pizza as well as sell salads and sandwiches.
Other European countries have similar vending machines but mostly they sell ready-made foods. In France, they have “Yatoo Partoo” machines, which sell milk, juice, snacks and sandwiches 24 hours a day. In the Netherlands, there is Febo, which has about 60 restaurants.
The New York Times reports the vending machine industry is growing in Europe -- it enjoys annual sales of 26 billion euros ($33 billion). Torghele wants to capitalize on this booming industry.
Torghele got this "hot pizza vending machine" idea after seeing vending machines every where in Italy. He has been trying to develop this vending machine for a number of years. He finally developed a prototype and tested it in Chicago in 2003 and displayed it in a trade fair in Orlando, Florida.
He has now put 20 machines in Germany with help from Unilever, the British-Dutch food giant.
Torghele is very proud of his pizza vending machine. He told New York Times that customer can watch the pizza cook from the beginning to end via small windows installed in the machine.
The customer presses a button to start the pizza making process by choosing one of four varieties, margherita (cheese and tomato sauce), and bacon, ham or fresh greens. A container then dumps flour into a drum, water is then added to the drum and the drum is rotated to mix the ingredients to make the dough. The dough is then pressed flat to form a 12-inch disk.
Tomato sauce is squirted into this dough and cheese is added and they are put into a small infrared oven. The baked pizza is then slipped into a cardboard tray for the customer.
Torghele wants to install these machines in Europe first starting with Italy and then extend the concept to other countries.
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