Toyota and Pizza Hut have dreamed up an idea to bring fresher pizza to your door faster than ever. It's a mobile pizza factory called the PIE Pro; a Toyota Tundra pickup that’s been heavily modified and turned into a machine that makes pizzas as it delivers them.
In the bed of this Tundra sits a pizza oven, pizza boxes, a refrigerator, and little pizza-making robots the back of the truck. They're not tossing dough or anything: a preprepared pizza is removed from the fridge, placed on a conveyor belt where it goes through the pizza oven, cut into eight slices, and placed in a box. It takes six to seven minutes for this moving kitchen to crank out one pizza.
The Tundra that’s carrying this equipment is no ordinary pickup. Its gas engine has been swapped out in favor of a Toyota Mirai powertrain, which means this thing runs on hydrogen. That's where we lose the plot a bit—it's a concept design, of course, but the idea of cooking pizzas during delivery is an interesting one that companies have so far failed to master. The whole PIE Pro is a little less plausible once you throw in something like a hydrogen fuel cell.
“We’re bringing the oven closer to the consumer’s door; nobody is doing that,” Pizza Hut’s chief U.S. customer and operations officer Nicolas Burquier said in an interview with Bloomberg. “We are pretty obsessed with improving the customer experience. The more we can get closer to their homes or the point of delivery, the better and hotter the product will be.”
Pizza Hut doesn’t know if or when they’ll actually be operating trucks like this. There are obvious drawback to making pizzas in an open air pickup bed—weather being a big one—but it’s still a good demonstration of existing technology that could make a vehicle like this actually work. It just might be better in a big van.