3D pizza company switches to bakery business
Sugr-Bot Bakery recently launched, and will be selling cakes and cookie cakes—as an almost entirely no-touch operation.
Sugr-Bot is a same-day delivery/pickup bakery service that offers decorated cakes and cookie cakes, and will soon offer other products. Customers can order custom designs and personalized messages and its automated system can decorate the cake/cookie/etc. immediately.
A machine loads blank cakes or cookies, which then puts frosting and icing designs onto the product. Customers can order cakes online and the cakes are ready within two hours.
BeeHex LLC is owned and operated by Sugr-Bot, and they are the creators of the printing technology that Sugr-Bot uses.
Donatos Pizza founder Jim Grote spotted BeeHex's 3D-printed pizza a few years ago and decided to invest. He also helped them relocate from Texas to Central Ohio.
Benjamin Feltner, COO, BeeHex, says that Sugr-Bot is currently operating in Columbus, near the Donatos Pizza building, and demand has been high for their products.
"We are a licensed bakery, and [wanted to] run a pilot, where we'd have control over it, and then launched it, and had so much fun. Last weekend we started writing on the cakes and people sent us requests for some interesting designs," he says.
A machine does the hand piping, and people send BeeHex images, which they then plug into the software. However, the company is also on GrubHub, which can cause time issues.
"We [received an order] and said we wanted 45 minutes—instead, we had 13 minutes! So we were getting [the custom orders] out that quickly," he says. "Our goal is to roll it out in every city, and it's a faster way than it's already being done in grocery stores, with hopefully more flexibility and creativity."
Normally it doesn't take long to do a design, unless it's a complicated one—one person wanted a cake that looked like a pizza, and that took seven minutes. But usually it only takes 1-3 minutes, says Feltner.
BeeHex began as a NASA project in 2012, with a grant from an agency that wanted to develop a 3D food printer in the hopes that it would reconstitute powdered ingredients for space travel.
It generated attention in Columbus, OH by printing "Block O" pizzas at a tailgate event in 2016, at OSU's College of Engineering; this was also how it caught Grote's attention. Jim Grote started an Innovation Hub in 2019, with the desire to expand into pizza.