Published October 25, 2022
You’ve ordered your brand-new Pizza Picnic Station, and the team has been briefed about its arrival. Everyone is excited to automate the pizza production process, deliver consistency, and save time, money, and labor costs.
But what happens when it actually comes down to installing the station in its new home? How much involvement is required from your team? How many hours do you need to spend training and onboarding the Picnic Pizza Station? And most importantly, how long before you can start slinging the best pizzas on the block?
Onboarding with the Picnic Pizza Station takes place in three stages over 3-5 days:
We spoke with Jason Larkin, a Picnic field service engineer who manages and oversees installations across America. Jason gave us the lowdown on everything you need to know about installing a Picnic Pizza Station in your business.
“The Picnic Pizza Station will arrive in four custom-made crates specifically designed for the machine. The onsite field service engineers will also arrive on site and unpack out of the crate.
The machine comes pre-assembled in three modules, and then all that needs to happen is the station gets hooked up. The actual installation portion can be done within a day.
Then, it’s just calibration that happens to make sure that all the ingredients get put in correctly, and we do a miniature test run with a couple of pizzas to ensure that the station is putting the ingredients in the right spot.
Most of the time, our customers want us to come in for the installation when they’re having a slow day or an off day when they’re not making pizzas. For example, we work with a lot of schools, including Texas A&M University. That customer had us come in when they didn’t need to make pizzas, and we installed the station while they were in downtime.
For customers who need to stay fully operational during installation, most of the time, the station isn’t blocking enough of the area to prevent people from making pizzas. So employees still have access to the majority of the kitchen space or area.”
“After the machine is set up and you’ve got the calibration ready to go, the operators get trained. We do full operator training for staff, as well train the staff managers. So, if the managerial team decides to bring on new employees, they can easily train them as well.
During training, we go over safety and how to operate the station. There are a multitude of safety features installed in the machine, and we cover what each one is there for and make sure that everyone involved uses the station correctly.
Then we cover how to address troubleshooting issues. For example, how to prime the station, load the station, and how to break down and clean the station. That way, you’re not having to worry about health or other inspections.
The actual operation of the machine is very simple. I trained three people recently on how to load pizzas, and it took me 15 minutes because that portion is straightforward. Training on safety and operational procedures takes the longest.
We spend a couple of days training staff and making sure that they understand how things work. And if any problems arise, we can address them with the customer right there and then. So we like to make sure that all the team completely understands how the whole machine works before we leave.
After we’ve done the full training, some of our operators like to do a stress test.
We run a few dozen pizzas through the machine to assess how quickly operators are able to produce and how long it takes.
For example, one of the customers I went to recently timed to see how long it would take them to make the 50 pizzas.
Even with brand-new employees, they were able to get 100 pizzas out in one hour — almost double their original goal.
About a week. We spend a day unpacking, installing, and calibrating, and then with training included for a few days, it usually ends up being a five-day process.
The person will arrive in the morning, turn on the machine, and start loading up the sauce, cheese, pepperoni, and other toppings. Once you’ve got the ingredients ready, you go through and prime everything just to make sure you’re ready to make pizza. Once everything’s primed, place your order and then put the pizza right into the station. It’ll take the dough, take a picture of it, and then run through the station and put on all the ingredients you’ve selected.
Generally, we’re not doing the installs overnight because most of our customers require staff to be on-site while we’re working. And a lot of places don’t like people on their site when there’s nobody from the business there, which is understandable.
Generally, we stay around long enough so that we’re positive that the machine will work well and that there are no issues. And your Customer Success Manager is always a phone call or an email away. They will continue to check in with you to see how the station is working and how it’s improving your business.
It starts with a conversation. Contact our sales team and they’ll ask you more about your pizza business, your current issues, and your dreams for the future. If you’re looking to save time, money, and labor, a Picnic Pizza Station can be the right food automation solution for you.