Pizza Hut and Toyota have created the next-generation food truck.
Or maybe they’ve created a new type of delivery vehicle?
Whatever it’s called, the Tundra PIE Pro is a zero-emissions pickup truck with a pizza-making operation in the truck bed, giving the vehicle the ability to deliver the hottest pizza possible.
“We are exploring next-generation solutions and automation to support and streamline our delivery business in the future,” Nicolas Burquier, chief customer and operations officer for Pizza Hut in the U.S., said in a statement.
“The Tundra PIE Pro and our work with Toyota are only helping accelerate our commitment to transform both the team member and the customer experience at Pizza Hut.”
The truck has a virtual pizza factory in the bed known as The Kitchen. It contains a refrigerator, a pair of computer-guided robotic arms and a portable conveyor oven.
Both the truck itself and The Kitchen are powered by a hydrogen fuel-cell electric powertrain.
The pizza-making process takes from six to seven minutes from start to finish, the companies say.
Pizza Hut certainly isn’t the first company to work with automakers on delivery vehicles—Domino’s has worked with Ford on an autonomous delivery vehicle, for instance, and created the Domino’s DXP delivery vehicle with a warming compartment with Chevrolet.
While these efforts may or may not hit the mainstream anytime soon, they demonstrate the growing arms race between pizza chains in the battle to improve delivery times and food quality while keeping prices low.
The Pizza Hut vehicle, however, goes so far as to actually make the pizza. Toyota tore down a Tundra SR5 pickup truck to its chassis and reassembled it, replacing the gasoline-powered drivetrain with fuel cell power.
When a Pizza Hut pizza is ordered, the first robotic arm opens the refrigerator and removes the selected pizza, places it on the oven conveyor, and closes the refrigerator door. The pizza is then sent through a high-speed, ventless oven. A second oven on the opposite side of the conveyor removes the pie, places it on a cutting board, slices it up and delivers the pie to the customer.