Strolling down South University Avenue, a street in the heart of Ann Arbor, is ultimately a pretty standard experience. You may see bustling crowds and people going in and out of the various restaurants and shops. However, one newer sight is the pizza vending machine, located at 1214 South University Ave. This is one of many PizzaForno vending machine pizzerias across the Midwest and Canada.
While there are many nearby pizza shops including Joe’s Pizza and Pizza House, PizzaForno has its own benefits to offer up in terms of delivering a 12-inch pizza available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We are unique compared to many other brick and mortar types of business, specifically restaurants,” Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of PizzaForno Adam Page said. “We provide fresh, artesian pizza in a three-minute window out of a fully robotic vending machine. We are sort of in a convenience category of our own.”
The price for the pizzas varies between $10-$13. PizzaForno pizza vending machines have 11 varieties of pizzas with eight standard flavors including pepperoni, four-cheese blend, meat lovers, Hawaiian. But there are also a few other unique or seasonal pizzas that vary depending on the time of year such as the dessert pizza for Valentine’s Day. Page’s favorite pizza really varies but he has a few key favorites. Overall, he has seen positive responses from the PizzaForno initiative.
“My favorite right now is our dessert pizza because I have such a sweet tooth,” Page said. “As for normal pizza, I am pretty heavy into the festive, and beyond that the honey and goat cheese is fantastic. [People] can’t believe that you can get a delicious pizza out of a vending machine.”
The technology for the pizza vending machine has been around for a while and is very popular in France and other European countries. Page and his business partner got the rights to the technology in 2018.
“The pizza industry globally is massive and we are just trying to create our little slice of that pie by doing it a little differently,” he said. “The technology side of our business is what makes us stand out. There’s an intrigue that people are drawn to it as a result.”
In terms of location, there are certain qualities they look for when deciding where to put a vending machine.
“The bread and butter for these units is all about visibility,” Page said. “We want to make sure that wherever we place a unit, there’s high foot traffic and it’s in a visible location. The footprint of these is only 65 square feet so they are relatively small. You got to be able to see them and that draws people in.”
One of the parts of Page’s job is to oversee the staff in shipping out the ingredients to every vending machine. The ingredients are restocked every day. In addition to this, he works with others in Michigan to sublicense the PizzaForno technology.
“I enjoy meeting people that are interested in this business concept and wanting to be a part of it,” he said. “That is probably the most fun for me because whenever there are other people excited about something you are doing, it kind of tells you you’re doing something right.”
To learn more about PizzaForno visit their website.
PizzaForno Ann Arbor. 1214 S University Ave, Ann Arbor. www.pizzaforno.com