Pizza Vending Machines Are Coming To The US. Here's What We Know So Far

Maybe you've seen some of the myriad Japanese vending machines that exist selling things like t-shirts, apples, umbrellas, and even sake (via Interesting Engineering). The vending machine craze is coming to the United States with devices that dispense pizza, but what exactly does that mean? To answer that, we'll begin with a trip to the not-too-distant past.

More than two years ago, a company called Pizza ATM opened the first pizza vending machine on the campus of Ohio State University. It allowed students to order a pizza and grab it from the vending machine without ever having an encounter with another person. Ohio State News explained that students could choose between cheese and pepperoni pizzas that were prepared in a nearby kitchen. A refrigeration unit in the Pizza ATM keeps the food cool. Once a pizza is ordered, it moves to the ATM's internal oven, where it bakes for about three to four minutes until the crust is crisped and the cheese melts. 

One 10-inch pizza costs $8. Another one has since opened at the University of North Florida (via Cook Orlando), but more recently, some companies have been applying this idea in the U.S. beyond college campuses.

Pizza on-the-go in less than 5 minutes

A Canadian-based company, PizzaForno, has also created a pizza vending machine where you can select one of eight pie options. The company has established locations in Michigan earlier this year (via The Spoon) and recently announced in a press release that it is expanding its presence in the state (via PR Newswire). PizzaForno's vending machines store 70 pre-made pizzas and offer eight topping options. According to the PizzaForno website, your automated meal will bake in three minutes. You can also order cold pizzas to take home with you. 

Another brand, Basil Street, has wrapped up a pilot program for its Automated Pizza Kitchens and has plans to launch 50 kitchens in the fall with more on the way by the end of the year (per SeedInvest). It appears that pizza vending machines may become more widespread in the coming months. Imagine the convenience of a street-corner ATM that gives out pizza. You could grab one after a night out, on your way home from work, or between meetings as a quick meal. This trend sounds like it could revolutionize both the pizza and the vending machine industries in the U.S., creating hot and whole meals that are available in minutes without you having to enter a restaurant or store. Za on the go, anyone?