Pizzamaker 60 level

How online games help to make pizza faster (and tastier)


Slow fast food is an oxymoron such as military intelligence, living dead and stable business :) Nobody would argue that fast food should be fast.

How to make pizza prepared as quick as they change tires in Formula 1 pit stops?

We need to create speed and excitement environment in the kitchen which is not so simple. Complex systems of long-term motivation unfortunately don’t work here.

You can beg your employees, address their conscience and promise bonuses in the end of the month but that hardly works on a cold gray morning in the beginning of the week.

That’s where our Dodo IS information system comes into picture. It will create a system to turn the work in Dodo Pizza kitchens into global multi-user online game.

Outsiders usually say that IT in fast food is of minor significance or point out that there are plenty of out-of-the-box solutions, so there is no need to waste time and efforts to create our own system (we already invested over 1 million US $ into it and plan to invest 2 more million US $ in the next 2 years).

Well, we strongly believe that in order for IT solutions to make change these solutions…

1. should be deeply focused on one thing instead of being all-purpose solutions;

2. should deeply integrate into the production model, sometimes even change the model instead of being just an add-on;

3. and operate online in the cloud in the form of the web-application (SaaS — software as a service) instead of using operating systems and hardware.

These three key features are what makes Dodo IS different from all IT solutions by our competitors. Speed environment in the kitchen is a great case to show the advantages of our approach.

We can focus on a problem that didn’t have a viable solution, unless you consider a stuffed crocodile to be a great solution.


The way to create a speed environment in conventional fast food is by shouting and prizes. 

For example, in McDonald’s shift manager runs around and shouts, Good job, keep going, faster! Also some basic elements of gamification may be introduced, such as who gets most of the orders at the counter will receive a cheap token prize, like stuffed crocodile.


You may not believe it but it works. People like to compete and play, they like to win and receive praise.

One of our employees worked at McDonald’s and told us that at one point of time he caught the drive and he was really going for that crocodile.

The problem with the conventional approach is that it is very difficult to keep and distribute such system across the chain. The task requires a lot of efforts and energy from the managers.

The strong corporate culture which will work for years regardless of the distance from the headquarters is required.
McDonald’s is one of those rare companies that possess such a culture. If you visit the most fast food chains (even world-known) during the peak hours you will not see Michael Schumachers of the hamburger world but just your ordinary sleepy heads.

So, how SaaS Dodo IS can help?


Readers of the blog already know how instant appearance of the orders on the tablets saves time and helps to eliminate mess. That’s just one piece of our puzzle.


Tracking in the kitchen allows us to create a gamification system which is unimaginable in conventional pizza restaurants. The difference is like iPhone and Bell telephone.

We already substituted an encouraging manager by robot. When the new order comes our AI announces, New pizza! So the employees don’t have to monitor the tablets all the time. If there is a new order within the same minute Dodo IS will say, Here comes another one! It lets employees know that they gotta hurry.

When pizza is ready our R2D2 evaluates the preparation speed. If it took little but not outstanding time it would say, Great, but can you be faster? If the performance is extraordinary then a triumphant jingle will play.


If the speed is less than average then the grim beginning of Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5 will play and Dodo will say, Hurry up!

So how it is better than a manager running around the kitchen. Manager can not simply track all pizzas and understand the preparation speed and he cannot give an instant feedback. So he cannot provide a proper motivation.

We don’t need to teach robot how to run around the kitchen, we don’t need to monitor if he does it each day in every pizza store (which can become a real problem when the chain grows.


Robot doesn’t get tired, doesn’t lose its tempo, provides instant feedback and it is objective and precise at all times. At the same time it can be the hottest DJ in the world.


Today we work on the foundation which will allow us to use new approaches to pizza restaurant management. We believe that games can save the world and plan to implement lots of ideas on gamification of the operations.

One of the obvious directions for development is to improve our AI: give it more lines, diversify reactions, come up with more scripts.

It is not difficult because the basis is already there, meanwhile the kitchens of Dodo Pizza chain will have a unique environment.

If there’s a third order robot can say, I don’t believe my eyes, another one! Or during peak hours it will say, It’s getting hotter. If it takes long to prepare a pizza it can say, This takes like forever!

Robot can speak different voices, use catch phrases from movies and cartoons, play music to cheer employees up.

It can play an aria by Lucano Pavarotti when an Italian pizza comes up.

At some point of time robot can wish Happy birthday to a pizza maker for Dodo IS knows the employees on shift at any given time, what their names are and when they were born. Each employee will get smileys for fast pizza preparation during the shift and robot can play an exclusive jingle when a certain number of smileys is earned. 

We can update the list of lines and algorithms almost every month so that employees don’t get bored. Because it works via a browser and uses clouds we have no trouble to issue new releases simultaneously for the whole chain regardless of the location (Syktyvkar, Moscow or Vladivostok) and ownership (own company or franchisees).

Web-services are easier to tune than soft working on certain operating systems. We bet on web-applications due to the flexibility and simplicity.

We believe that some day Dodo Pizza will be a large global chain. With lots of partners we can involve popular actors or anchorpersons to provide voices for Dodo IS.


You may say that it seems cool but does it really matter? It does! Pizza preparation is quite boring and routine work. It’s worth to make it an interesting game. Especially if at the same time it is an online competition.


In order to understand how big is the input of gamification into creation of a perfect environment one needs to work in the kitchen for at least one shift. In Dodo Pizza almost all top managers including developers have such experience.

So we realize that merry jingles are not enough for the employees to catch a real drive. The true game starts when people get a chance to compete, not with the computer, but with real people.

We have everything to make it a sprint or long-distance race because all pizza stores and devices are connected to one cloud and communicate in the real-time mode.

Today we show the real-time sales on our site for investors. You can make an order in one of 22 Dodo pizza stores and see how the sales changed.

In the future we can organize online races between all our pizza stores using the cloud. We won’t get the results in the end of the day and announce the winner through the mouthpiece but show live results on a screen and update it continuously.


Our AI will encourage the progress and empathize when certain crew goes down to keep the competitiveness. It will shout, We are close, power 10! when the crew is close to the top or We are behind, let’s work harder! if the crew has average results.

We have no doubts that it will work better than stuffed crocodiles in McDonald’s. Do you?

The tournaments can be between individual pizza makers or crews, with the time frame of one hour or 24 or a week. Tournaments can be between cities or countries. We can have quarter Dodo tournaments with a jackpot.

Although monetary stimulation is less important in this case. The main thing is the excitement and desire to be the first among many.



A lot of young people who know firsthand about online games work in Dodo Pizza kitchens. We’ll make work just another online game (and we are sure they will appreciate it).

Pizza preparation in Dodo will not be much different from character development in World of Warcraft

n WoW you also have to perform routine and dull operations for hours to accomplish the goal. Character development is not a figure of speech. Dodo Pizza employees will climb the career ladder by gaining experience.

We already designed Dodo IS module with personal account for each employee where they can manage their work schedule and leave feedback on work environment. This is just a first step.

For each substantial achievement such as individual or crew high score that our system registers employees will receive points in their accounts that will in the future translate into token or real prizes, like bowling ticket or trip to resort.

It is important that all these wonderful ideas cannot be implemented without following the principles discussed earlier: focus of the system on pizza business and deep integration with production model.

Imagine that you try to use such system in Teremok. The open kitchen limits the potential of sound notifications. Besides pancakes Termok also sells porridges, soups, salads, pelmeni so it is hard to arrive at a single basis. Most important is that pancakes are prepared for the customer within minute or two and it’s not possible to create a competition like we discussed with difference in seconds. It means that Teremok will need its own system and its own approach.

A lot of people don’t understand that any out-of-the-box IT system is inefficient because a good system should be an integral part of the business processes, a perfect fit that helps to operate not interfere. Of course, it should work as a web-application.

Only with deep integration, increased focus and commitment to online use can we achieve our goal, give our staff a chance to participate in multi-user Dodo Pizza game and create a unique speed environment in any pizza store around the globe which is essential to fast food..

Of course, nobody wants unappetizing pizza even if it is delivered under 10 minutes. Dodo IS will help with that as well making a revolution in quality control. I will explain in the next posts.

Stay tuned!

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