The Korea Herald


Hanwha Foodtech acquires robot-powered Stellar Pizza

By Hwang Joo-young

Published : March 4, 2024 - 14:00

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Kim Dong-seon, vice president of Hanwha Hotel & Resorts and Hanwha Robotics, looks at a cooperative robot at a tech trade show in Seoul. (Hanwha Robotics) Kim Dong-seon, vice president of Hanwha Hotel & Resorts and Hanwha Robotics, looks at a cooperative robot at a tech trade show in Seoul. (Hanwha Robotics)

Hanwha Foodtech has acquired the US-based robot pizza brand, Stellar Pizza, as part of its efforts to drive technological innovation in the food service industry.

In January, Hanwha Foodtech signed a memorandum of understanding with Serve Automation, the parent company of Stellar Pizza, for a transfer of assets. Contractual documents for the acquisition were finalized Thursday.

The acquisition was facilitated by Hanwha Foodtech Global, the US subsidiary of Hanwha Foodtech, the company said Monday.

The exact amount of the deal was not disclosed immediately.

Serve Automation, founded in 2019 by engineers from SpaceX, is headed by Benson Tsai, a former SpaceX engineer responsible for the development of rocket and satellite battery systems.

Hanwha Foodtech intends to acquire all assets of Stellar Pizza, retaining key technicians and management executives, including Tsai.

The acquisition initiative was driven by Kim Dong-seon, the third and youngest son of Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn. The 34-year-old, who serves as vice president at Hanwha Galleria, Hanwha Hotel & Resorts and Hanwha Robotics, frequently travels to the US to seek new growth opportunities within the food tech industry.

Stellar Pizza's pizza-making robots can produce a 12-inch pizza in just five minutes and manage multiple orders simultaneously. By fully automating the pizza-making process, the company ensures reduced labor costs and maintains strict quality control, resulting in high-quality pizzas offered at competitive prices.

Stellar Pizza’s offerings are priced at approximately 60 percent lower prices compared to other major pizza brands in the US. For instance, a 12-inch pizza sells for 8 to 9 dollars in Los Angeles.

Stellar Pizza’s pizza-making robots are the result of three years of research by Tsai and his team, attracting investments exceeding $22.6 million, with notable figures like Jay-Z participating in the funding.

Hanwha Foodtech said it plans to commence its pizza business operations after optimizing the work process of the pizza robots.

“Hanwha Foodtech will introduce a new pizza brand to both the Korean and US markets following the adaptation of Stellar Pizza's technology and systems,” an official from Hanwha said.

Initially a subsidiary of Hanwha Hotel & Resorts, Hanwha Foodtech became an independent entity in 2021 to lead the food service industry through the application of robotics and artificial intelligence. It also maintains close collaboration with Hanwha Robotics, another subsidiary of Hanwha Group specializing in advanced robot technology.