on the way. When we get busy, we go into forward deploy-
ment mode. The truck stops, and smaller delivery vehicles
—mostly Fiats and, coming soon, scooters—pick up the
pizzas and make very short-run deliveries around the area.
The third mode is classic food-truck mode, where the
driver stops somewhere downtown on a Saturday night,
opens the window and sells pizza from the truck.”
With Zume’s model of delivery—built around what
Collins calls “predictive and delocalized inventory”—
pizzas might arrive a little too soon. “The most common
tickets we get at our customer support desk say, ‘How did
you get to my location so fast? I was still at the grocery
store when you arrived,’” Collins says. “It’s delightfully
fast, but not because we drive fast—we actually drive very
slowly in these big vehicles. It’s because we’ve predicted
what pizzas you’re going to order, and we’ve delocalized the
inventory so we’ve got the pizza waiting near your house.”
The Zume model brings another advantage to the
bottom line. “Here in California,
many restaurants pay as much
as 10% of their revenue in rent.
Because Zume doesn’t have a storefront, we pay only
about 1.5% of our revenue in rent,” Collins says.
FRESH, CLEAN AND LOCAL
So the pizzas are fast, but do they taste good? To launch
Zume, Collins knew she needed to hire “the best pizza
chef in America. And I think I found him in Aaron Butkus,” she says.
Butkus was the sous-chef at the landmark Brooklyn,
New York, pizza shop, Roberta’s, before Collins lured
him cross-country to Silicon Valley. He’s
the culinary brains behind Zume’s
pizzas, while Collins works with
a network of local farmers
to source her ingredients.
“Because we save money
on rent and save a little
bit on automation—
“Everything we do from a tech perspective is in service of
giving people the most delicious pizza at a fair price as fast
as we possibly can.”
—JULIA COLLINS, ZUME PIZZA
The ovens in Zume’s delivery trucks are computer-operated and finish
baking pizzas en route to the customer’s house.
The wonders of technology are no substitute for fresh ingredients
provided by Zume’s network of 14 local farmers.
Aaron Butkus dreamed up the Summer Peachza, with
grilled peaches, young goat Gouda, mozzarella and a
balsamic drizzle, as a seasonal special last August.