Pagliacci Pizza to begin drone delivery service in 2024

May 11, 2023, 9:57 AM

pizza drone...

Seattle company Pagliacci Pizza announced a partnership with the San Francisco-based drone delivery company Zipline, which says its newest drone program could carry two 13-inch pizzas and side dishes to a customer. (Photo from KIRO 7)

(Photo from KIRO 7)

Talk about pie-in-the-sky ideas! As early as 2024, you might be able to order a pizza in the Seattle area and have it delivered by drone.

On Wednesday, Seattle company Pagliacci Pizza announced a partnership with the San Francisco-based drone delivery company Zipline, which says its newest drone program could carry two 13-inch pizzas and side dishes to a customer.

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On Seattle’s Morning News, Ursula Reutin joined hosts Dave Ross, Colleen O’Brien, and traffic reporter Chris Sullivan to discuss the new delivery system.

“So apparently, they have already reconfigured some pizza boxes. So they would have these drones that would be able to carry two 13-inch pizzas, some sides, and some drinks,” Ursula said. “So if you’re gonna have a big old Super Bowl party, this is not going to be [the way to go].”

The pizzas would be delivered even faster than a normal delivery driver can, Pagliacci said, reducing the time it takes to get hot pizza to your table.

“We know our customers want delivery, we know they want it to be fast,” Pagliacci co-owner Matt Galvin told KIRO 7. “It’s not going to be sitting in a car for seven or eight minutes, it’s going to be in a drone for two minutes.”

The drone would hover 300 feet above the home and then lower the pizza on a tether, leaving behind the delivery on a surface area as small as a patio table or the front steps of a home.

Zipline already contracts with Walmart to deliver packages using larger drones and parachutes to customers. These new, more precise — and more delicious — deliveries should be up and running as soon as 2024.

“A lot of it is just about making sure we have the system ready and working,” Zipline Chief Regulatory Officer Conor French said.

Pagliacci expects to first offer drone deliveries in more suburban areas and says the new option will help reduce its carbon footprint.

“This is a massive opportunity for us to expand upon sustainable delivery,” Galvin said.

Pagliacci expects to keep delivering its most popular larger pizzas in the same way it does now, with customers opting in or out of drone delivery for smaller pizzas.

So how does this impact delivery drivers now that part of their jobs are going to drones?

“I think that they put more people in other roles because, let’s be honest, at all businesses, staffing is low, and they need to put people where it matters,” Colleen said. “Customer service, sales, making the pizzas quick, service. The drones can take care of the driving.”

The company says tips offered during drone delivery will go to the kitchen staff.

“‘I’m all worried about the airspace. I mean, remember our discussion as we’ve been talking about the electric vertical takeoff and landing mini drones, or personal taxis, or whatever,” Sullivan said. “Yeah, I mean, if you’re flying your seaplane across Lake Washington, we want to have a flight plan with that drone.”

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that “safely integrating drones into the National Airspace System is a key priority.”

According to the FAA, Zipline “is authorized to operate as an air carrier and conduct common carriage operations.”

KIRO 7 contributed to this report

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Pagliacci Pizza to begin drone delivery service in 2024