Trend Alert: Zume Pizza

Trend Alert introduces you to the latest brands, products and services that are trending with 16-24s.

When imagining how technology will affect the future of work, the typical vision is one where robots replace humans, especially in manual tasks such as food preparation. However, it’s unlikely that human workers will be completely replaced, at least in the next few decades. Instead, humans and robots will work together to create more efficient processes. This “co-bot” future can already be seen in action in Silicon Valley, where Zume Pizza is one of the fastest-growing startups in the food industry.

Zume uses robots and AI to automate parts of the pizza-making process, such as spreading the sauce and moving the pizza into the oven, in a fraction of the time that a human would take to complete the same task. Automation is predicted to eradicate 800 million jobs worldwide by 2030, and Zume could contribute to this. Impressively, they are planning to expand their workforce sevenfold in 2018, but if Zume takes business away from human-powered competitors like Domino’s and Pizza Hut, will they cause unemployment in the long run?

Zume are making great efforts to avoid being accused of taking work away from people - instead, they are on a mission to prove that automation can result in job growth. They say they are empowering their employees by training them in skills that robots can’t emulate. Staff are offered opportunities to learn coding, graphic design, or improve their English.

Aside from their food prep process and employee development initiatives, Zume, who describe themselves as “pizza nerds,” are innovating in other ways. For example, pizzas are cooked inside delivery vans and presented in specially designed packaging, to ensure they are as fresh and warm as possible on arrival. Their team includes former execs from UberEats and Lyft, and the company has attracted $48 million in funding to date. Whether or not Zume stay true to their ethical promises in the long run, this is a creative, disruptive company that is set to shake up the fast food market.

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