Piloted in Europe, pizza vending machines have been "coming soon" to the U.S. since at least 2012; a handful of the machines were spotted in Florida and Ohio.
The machines appeared after the meme circulated in 2015, and pizza vending machines remained a rarity as of late 2017.
In mid-2015, social media users got their collective hopes up about the advent of the pizza vending machine, an innovation that would enable them to obtain one of their favorite things (pizza) while simultaneously avoiding one of its least popular aspects (human interaction).
Tweets and Facebook posts about the pizza vending machine (called “Let’s Pizza”) touted the announcement of this “new” concept:
— Stephanie (@Xxsteff22xX) July 1, 2015
— Linda Glatham (@LindaGlatham) June 30, 2015
The tone of the social media buzz suggested that pizza vending machines were, if not yet popping up all over the place, at least a soon-to-be common sight. (Although hot food vending machines are somewhat common, the novelty of one devoted specifically to pizza apparently fires the imagination.)
Interest in the concept in mid-2015 appeared to stem in part from a confusing article titled “Watch This Vending Machine Make Pizza” that was dated 27 June 2015 but had been originally published on 21 March 2014, featuring a YouTube clip uploaded in February 2013 that was filmed in 2012:
During our trip to Italy in 2012, in the little town of Sorrento, my wife and I discovered a “Let’s Pizza” vending machine that promised freshly made pizza in just 2.5 minutes and all for 3 euros. It was such a novel idea, we figured we had to film the whole process.
In a 5 March 2014 article published in The Gate entertainment magazine, the author described encountering one of these contraptions in Sorrento, Italy, the same place where the video clip seen above was shot:
My last travel piece about Sorrento was filled with details about why I loved this beautiful town along the coast of Italy. There was one other reason why I loved the town though, and it all came down to a magical vending machine that made pizzas.
Yes, it’s a pizza vending machine (called “Let’s Pizza“), and it makes them from scratch. For 3 euros, this machine mixes up dough from scratch, covers it in pizza sauce and cheese, and then bakes it–all in less than 2-and-a-half minutes.
On 14 June 2012, the pizza vending machine branded “Let’s Pizza” was covered by The Frisky in an article that touted the machines as soon to arrive in the U.S.:
Turns out the pizza gods have heard our prayers, because an innovative pizza vending machine called “Let’s Pizza” is finally making its way to the States. The Let’s Pizza has been popular in Europe for years (for obvious reasons), but here’s what Americans can expect …
A Facebook page for Let’s Pizza UK also promoted the concept, but that page hasn’t been updated since 2011, and the mid-2015 reaction to the pizza vending machine rumors that circulated on social media indicated that if any of the machines already existed in the United Kingdom, they weren’t very popular or well-known.
In April 2015, Rochester television station WHEC tweeted about pizza vending machines:
— news10nbc (@news10nbc) April 21, 2015
However, that tweet linked to an on-site article describing a different pizza vending machine, Pizzametry, that was still in the conceptual stages:
It’s a pizza vending machine that creates hot, fresh pies and the prototype is in Webster.
So the search is on for investors, possible manufacturers and vendors to help Pizzametry grow along with the upstate economy and its all thanks to the pizza lovers of the Rochester region … The pizzas will sell for about $4 to $6. The machines can be built for $28,000.
A Daily Mail article published in July 2014 reported the “Let’s Pizza” machines had not caught on after their 2009 unveiling, primarily due to their considerable size and cost:
The Let’s Pizza machine was unveiled by Mr Torghele in 2009 but has been slow to catch on.
The downside is that it is each one is the size of nearly three average vending machines.
It also retails for more than ten times the amount, at $32,000.
When the meme peaked, there was perhaps at least one “Let’s Pizza” pizza vending machine operating in Sorrento, Italy — but predictions of its immigration to the United States were then largely unfulfilled. But in 2016, the Tampa Bay Times reported that a handful of the machines popped up in Florida; at least one more was spotted in Ohio:
— Xavier Admissions (@XUAdmissions) August 5, 2016