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Zume Pizza lays off 172 workers in Mountain View

Original post made on Jan 10, 2020

Zume Pizza, the Mountain View startup premised on pizza-baking robots, announced this week it was terminating most of its workforce as part of a company-wide business pivot.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, January 9, 2020, 4:57 PM

Comments (18)

Posted by Nutmac
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2020 at 11:12 am

It baffles my mind that Zune actually has more than 250 employees. Convenience aside, which is debatable, their pizza is just alright at best. I frankly think nearby Papa John's is much better, which is also much cheaper to boot (at least if you use their always available coupons).

Posted by Shame
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2020 at 11:38 am

It's too bad that all these people lost their jobs. That said, this was entirely predictable based on how their pizza tasted: mediocre, even by MV standards. I want my pizza made by Italians, not robots, thank you.

I find these companies where the actual product takes a backseat to the delivery/packaging/assembly technology kind of a joke.

Posted by George
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jan 10, 2020 at 1:05 pm

Rubbish pizzas made by robots!

Posted by Zoom
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2020 at 1:13 pm

The quality was very hit or miss. I noticed if I ordered a pizza at lunch time it had more toppings and arrived hot whereas orders placed in the evening were frequently skimpy on the toppings and arrived cold. Then they decided to no longer provide lunch offerings in Palo Alto and I stopped ordering altogether. It would have been a sustainable business model if they had focused more on quality and customer satisfaction.

Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 10, 2020 at 2:50 pm

The pizza delivery business is a low-margin, high-competition business with no barriers to competition. There was no way that Zume could have ever been a multi-billion dollar unicorn regardless of the automation or quality of the pizza. This is just basic business math that VCs lost sight of.

Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jan 10, 2020 at 2:55 pm

What a colossal waste of money: $4B for disrupting the pizza making business (robots to make perfectly circular pizzas with perfectly distributed toppings?) and making pizza packaging more sustainable (Can't we already compost good old cardboard pizza boxes in Mountain View)?.

Imagine how many real world problems could have been solved with that much dough....

Posted by Engineer guy
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2020 at 3:40 pm

They tried to poach me, to run a team of engineers/technicians. What a joke, I told them that there was no way I could stand behind their "groundbreaking technology"

Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 10, 2020 at 3:52 pm

How about that; I didn't know they were based in Mountain View.

Minor note about the money "wasted" in this startup: the $4 billion number was someone's guess at how much the company might one day be worth, not the amount of funding they have burned through. The linked article says they were losing $50 million per year.

In hindsight it's easy to say that this business idea would never have worked because the margins are low. But many people said the same thing about AirBNB, Uber and Twitter. The only way to know for sure if a business idea is any good is to try it out. I have a lot of respect for people who are willing put in the hard work to do that.

Posted by KB
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 10, 2020 at 4:09 pm

Something these comments seem to miss is that the company itself isn't going under, and it isn't wholly going away. Only the actual food prep and delivery is. Zume as a company has some interesting IP, designs and patents, they developed to fuel the pizza business, and that's where a lot of the their money went. That's also where their focus will now be.

Valuations and funding aside, the money they have spent hasn't necessarily been "wasted", and I'd actually be interested to hear how this move affects valuation and funding. My guess is the outlook for Zume itself might actually be better after this move, even if it isn't for the couple hundred workers they just laid off.

Posted by Bill
a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 10, 2020 at 5:46 pm

Can we come up with a way to turn pizza boxes into Cat Scratchers? I buy them for my cat and they cost $7.99 minimum for a bunch of cardboard strips glued together and turned on their side. Highway Robbery!


Posted by one time customer
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2020 at 6:57 pm

Their pizza dough was not fresh, the most critical part for making good pizza.

Posted by With all
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2020 at 7:30 pm

With all the anti-business laws there sure seems to be a lot of business and people leaving CA.

Posted by That MV Guy
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 10, 2020 at 11:10 pm

Best pizza in Mountain View is tiny Maldonaldos. In the 1970s it was microscopic D.J.s in a little hole in the wall downtown. The smaller the business, the better the food.

Robots, out. Stop taking jobs from people.

Posted by JNN
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2020 at 7:24 am

So many short-sighted comments. Zume was never about pizza.

Posted by Zume employee
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2020 at 9:38 am

Pizza was the experiment and was never intended to be there core of the company.

I'm so happy that the pizza is finally going away. We can actually focus on the good things the company is doing.

Posted by Eric
a resident of another community
on Jan 11, 2020 at 3:25 pm

@JNN- they were about automating a very very specific part of the food industry. They were about logistics for delivering the food product produced by their specific automation. They were bad at both.

They weren’t about pizza as such, but they were about pizza specific process

Posted by Enthusiastic pizza eater
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2020 at 4:38 pm

Stop criticizing the pizza just for the sake of complaining. Zume pizza was way better than any of the surrounding areas, it had the best tasting crust and was never soggy, and the delivery was completely reliable except for maybe one or two times when it was a bit late. The price was also pretty good, and they also had coupons steadily streaming into our mailbox every month or so. Also keep in mind that in the evenings they had tons of customers so harder to deliver all of them straight out of the oven, etc. and they still did that fairly well.

Posted by DC
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 15, 2020 at 6:07 pm

FYI making the frozen pizza is almost all automation. It is then frozen not heated and delivered. So the Zume pizza study was to automate as much as possible. And reduce the human cost of $15 hour. Some how 250 people became involved, That would be 70 pizza parlors so I hope there were other workers at Zume but Quality control should always be one.

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