New pizza vending machine finds a home at Sears think[box]


Aditya Bora

The vending machine is the second of its kind in the country. The only other one in the country is located at Xavier University in Cincinnati.

Buying hot pizza is now nearly as easy as purchasing a candy bar.

On Aug. 25, a pizza vending machine opened at Case Western Reserve University’s Sears think[box]. The machine, deemed a pizza ATM, was a collaboration between Bon Appetit Management Company and Auxiliary Services at CWRU and will provide pizza to hungry students while think[box] is open, 63 hours a week. And it only takes three minutes to cook.

Think[box] manager Ian Charnas discussed the choice of the think[box] as the location of the ATM; “We were chosen by Elizabeth Nochomovitz, who is the University Director of Auxiliary Services, which includes vending,” he said. “She was very excited about this and we are too.”

According to Nochomovitz, the pizza ATM was built by Paline, a French company. Similar machines are more common throughout Europe, yet the pizza ATM in think[box] is only the second such machine in the United States. The first is located at Xavier University in Cincinnati.

“Using a proprietary concept of specially fabricated pizza boxes, remote diagnostic capabilities and inventory management, the machine allows for dispensing of hot pizzas that move from refrigeration to delivery in under 3 minutes,” Nochomovitz said.

The pizza boxes used in the machine contain a rotating base to cut a pizza once it has been cooked. They are designed in such a way that the maximum number of boxes can fit in the machine at one time.

The pizza ATM was originally marketed on Bon Appetit social media to be a 24-hour service for students. However, a correction was made that the operation of the machine by students would be limited to times when think[box] was open, due to the building being locked after hours.

Nochomovitz said, “The think[box] building occupancy is variable, without easy access to other food service operations on campus. [It] will allow for a fresh, hot food option for students whenever the building is open.”

Students who visit the pizza ATM to buy their pizza will not be able to see the entire cooking process, but are able to see some parts of the machine in operation while the pizza is being made.

Bringing the pizza ATM to campus presented some challenges, as the machine is fairly large and difficult to transport. Nochomovitz said that the installation on the second floor of think[box] required some collaboration between Bon Appetit, think[box] and Auxiliary Services and was the biggest hurdle to the project.

Pizzas are crafted each day by Bon Appetit in their kitchens, and then transported to the machine to be cooked and enjoyed by students.

The machine accepts CaseCash as well as credit cards, and for every 5 pizzas purchased, a sixth pizza is free through the loyalty program.