PizzaForno Expands Into Toronto’s Public Transit System, Sets Sights on Airport Locations for Automated 3-Minute Pizzas [Interview]


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The automated pizzeria concept PizzaForno is continuing to expand its footprint in North America now moving into the public transportation sector as well as eyeing airport locations for growth.

PizzaForno has debuted with Metrolinx in Toronto with three transit stations, and growing, serving hot pizza, baked fast and fresh in three minutes, 24/7.

“This is the world’s first agreement of its kind with a public transit operator in Canada, and further strengthens PizzaForno’s leadership position in the automated food space in North America,” said Les Tomlin, Co-Founder and President of PizzaForno. “We are well on our way to becoming the fastest-growing pizza chain in North America by 2024.”

Les Tomlin, Co-Founder and President of PizzaForno, Jessica Greisman, Retail Partnership Manager at Metrolinx, and GO Bear celebrate the official launch of PizzaForno at the 407 GO Bus Terminal. (CNW Group/PizzaForno)

The concept, which began in 2018, currently has 70 units across North America.

“We have about 800 on order for the next 18 to 24 months,” said Tomlin.

“The whole concept of PizzaForno, the technology originated in France, and it’s been in France for the better part of 18 years believe it or not. And it’s obviously been reiterated technologically since then. PizzaForno has been in several transit hubs throughout France and even into Spain.

“A part of our plan has always been to launch at transit hubs. We started talking to Metrolinx in the middle of COVID as they were also looking to offer hot food offerings to their passengers. This is the right place at the right time with the right technology. Our next big hit is going to be airports and then we will have accomplished all our different channels.”

Tomlin said the number of locations with Metrolinx will expand quite rapidly. 

“The initial sales numbers have been extremely positive with that first launch location at Jane and 407,” he said, adding the company will look at transit station locations in major markets in Canada and the U.S.

PizzaForno at GO Transit Highway 407 Bus Terminal (Image: Pizzaforno)

He said the concept is growing quite rapidly because of convenience and cost. 

“And the fact you can actually get a great fresh baked pizza in three minutes. It’s quite remarkable,” said Tomlin. “I think the whole world during COVID went through a sort of instant demand situation where they want everything instant gratification wise. So the fact that you can actually step up to a kiosk and not have to interact with anybody either order through an app or touch a few buttons on a screen and get a fresh baked pizza in under three minutes is pretty unique to North America and I think its time has come.

“I think it was actually quite accelerated by COVID where everybody was getting used to ordering and not necessarily doing dining and eating.

“It’s really a grab and go business.”

Image: PizzaForno
PizzaForno app

Metrolinx is responsible for the operation of GO Transit, UP Express, and PRESTO. It operates over 400,000 buses and trains and serves over 100 million commuters.

“We’re excited to welcome PizzaForno to GO. Customers are now able to access great pizzas through a seamless ordering experience on the PizzaForno app as they arrive at their destination or prepare for their next trip or adventure,” said Mark Childs, Chief Marketing Officer, Metrolinx.

Mark Childs

PizzaForno marks the transit leader’s first automated hot pizza option with additional kiosks anticipated to be announced at GO Transit stations in the coming months.

The PizzaForno 9 x 6 ft. kiosks are seamlessly installed and operating in food courts, convenience stores, post-secondary schools, military bases, tourist destinations, and boating marinas throughout Canada and the US.

PizzaForno customers have the benefit of touchless ordering. They can use the new PizzaForno app to pre-order to make the experience even speedier or order directly at the kiosk from an automated screen. A robotic arm takes the refrigerated pizza and puts it into an oven for baking. Less than three minutes later, a hot pizza in a box emerges from a slot. PizzaForno also offers a take-and-bake option to enjoy at home.

“We deliver a really high quality product,” said Tomlin. “I think consumers are a little bit skeptical at first thinking how good can a pizza be from a robotic pizza machine and once they try it we’ve got them for life. They really are quite blown away by the quality of the pizza that comes out of our PizzaForno units.”

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.


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