Case Western Debuts Nation’s Second Pizza ATM

As students returned to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland to begin the fall semester, one topic was on everyone’s lips — and many local news stations: the new Pizza ATM in Case Western’s Sears think[box] building.

Chef/Managers Chris Hines, Jeremy Milligan and Michael Clotworthy posing with the Pizza ATM

Here’s how it works: Bon Appétit chefs prepare house-made pizzas from scratch in a nearby kitchen. Right now they make three varieties: cheese, pepperoni, and vegetable. The pizzas are then taken to the Pizza ATM, where they remain under refrigeration until someone places an order. (The machine can store up to 70 pizzas in the refrigerator at once!) When an order comes in, the pizza is transferred to the machine’s internal oven and baked at a high temperature for three minutes, until it’s melty and crispy in all the right places. The ATM then delivers the piping hot pizza in a box through a slot in the front of the machine

Stakeholders in think[box], an on-campus center for innovation and entrepreneurship, played a part in the machine’s development and success by helping the Bon Appétit team research options. Think[box] provides a space for anyone — students, faculty, alumni, and members of the community — to exercise creativity, to tinker, and to invent. Of course, those working long hours in the facility needed to eat fresh food to keep their creative juices flowing. Hence, the need for a Pizza ATM!

The Fox 8 News team enjoying a Case Western pizza from the ATM

The machine, made by the French company Paline, already has a large following in Europe, but is just beginning to appear in the U.S. Since the first Pizza ATM is also located in Ohio, the teams were easily able to visit and consider whether it was the right fit for the Case Western campus as well. Turns out, it was a perfect match. The Pizza ATM serves fresh, from-scratch pizzas, doesn’t require labor during late-night hours (the building can be accessed by those with key cards), and fits handily into the think[box] mission of innovation.

As soon as the Bon Appétit and Case Western teams announced the machine’s opening via their respective Instagram and Facebook accounts, students, faculty, and even alumni and community members went bananas. The Facebook post reached 34,571 people and racked up 182 likes, 142 shares, and 49 comments within four days of the announcement.

Vegetable pizza from the Pizza ATM

One student commented, “I feel like this is what we’ve been missing in our lives!” Another shared the post from the official Case Western Facebook page, writing “And today we learned dreams do come true at CWRU Sears [think]box.” Even, the city’s primary internet news source, covered the Pizza ATM in its reporting, as did several local TV crews.

Since it opened for business, the Pizza ATM has been selling nearly all its pizzas every day, with plain cheese the favorite, vegetable second, and pepperoni third. Executive Chef Vincent Gaikens had just finished loading the ATM recently when he witnessed a student very excitedly dancing in place, clapping and whistling while he watched his pizza cooking. “It certainly helped me remember why we are here and how easy it is to please our guests,” wrote Vincent.

Submitted by Amanda Mass, Marketing Manager