What a Wonderful World: Pizza Vending Machines

Horn & Hardart's Automat | Berenice Abbott

Proving the Japanese aren't the only innovators in the vending-machine racket is Italian vendo-maker WonderPizza. This company's machines bake and dispense pizza in less than two minutes.

New Bedford, Mass.,–based Wonder Pizza USA has sole U.S. distribution rights for the machine and recently placed them at Brown University.

The machine can store up to 102 pizzas, for 30 days, in a refrigerated unit. When a customer buys one, a mechanical arm removes it from its package and puts it into the oven section, where it is flashbaked. It's then sliced and delivered to the customer. Cost: $5.

According to the Brown Daily Herald's story, "[Wonder Pizza USA sales rep Jay] Conway said WonderPizza vending machines fit well into the college environment because they make pizza available faster than delivery, 24 hours a day, and decrease labor and product costs for universities."

But not all Brown students are convinced:

"It's an interesting concept, but the thought of instant pizza is kind of nasty," said David Hirschfeld '06.

"I do think that lots of drunk and high kids will buy it, which means it's a good business venture and will be successful in the dorms," he said.

We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Seriously though. Let us marvel at the wonderful world of convenience in which we live. In our homes we have such products as scented trash bags, plug-in air fresheners with their own built-in fans, and all manner of gadgets that people dining in the Horn & Hardart Automats* of yore would never have dreamed possible. And now we have a machine that dispenses pizza.

Drunk, high, or sober, that's pretty cool.

That said, we at Slice are guardedly skeptical. The best pies are made with fresh ingredients and a great measure of human pride. This machine contains neither. At this point, we see it as a novelty and will try it simply to witness the ingenuity of our Italian amici in action.

Watch a video showing the machine in action.

*What does the photo at top have to do with the WonderPizza machine? Not much, really. It is a distant forebear to the vendos of today, but we just thought it was a neat piece of NYC history and better lead art than the WonderPizza.
[Thanks to Seltzerboy for spotting this story.]

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