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Appetronix (formerly SJW Robotics) Partners with Iconic Donatos Pizza to Pioneer Fully Autonomous Restaurant Experience

The partnership will bring automated kitchens to the pizza franchise to improve customer experience, ensure consistent quality, and improve operational efficiency

TORONTO, July 10, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Appetronix has entered into an exclusive partnership with Donatos Pizza and its sister companies Agápe Automation and the Grote Company to launch a fully-autonomous pizza vending machine. This groundbreaking collaboration will pave the way for the development of a standalone, fully autonomous restaurant that combines cutting-edge technology with the art of creating delicious pizzas. The first unit will deploy in Donatos hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

The fully autonomous restaurant developed for Donatos by Appetronix will leverage state-of-the-art robotics and data science technologies -- enabling a seamless and efficient dining experience for customers, from placing orders to receiving their pizza. Donatos’ core values and mission to make the best pizza, hire great people, and promote goodwill in the communities they are a part of will only be made stronger by this partnership as the advanced robotics will handle the pizza-making process with precision, ensuring consistent quality, faster service, increased order accuracy, and a seamless digital interaction. Additionally, data science solutions will enhance customer interactions, personalize recommendations, optimize inventory management, and improve operational efficiency with predictive machine maintenance.

Founded on May 31, 1963 on the south side of Columbus, Ohio, Donatos features the Edge to Edge® pizza created by Jim Grote with premium toppings abundantly covering every famous thin crust. Over the past 60 years, Donatos has been recognized as an industry innovator, consistently pushing the boundaries to deliver exceptional pizza experiences to its loyal customers.

“With 50 years of expertise in food automation and 60 years of making and serving the very best pizza, our family is eager to partner with Appetronix to deliver the world’s first commercialized, fully automated restaurant that makes fresh, high quality pizza,” said Jim Grote, Donatos Pizza, the Grote Company and Agápe Automation Founder.

Agápe Automation and the Grote Company will co-develop the autonomous pizzeria with Appetronix. Agápe Automation focuses on new technologies for both fully autonomous stand-alone restaurants as well as small prep-bots for existing restaurant kitchens. The Grote Company brings invaluable experience and infrastructure to the partnership as the leading manufacturer of state-of-the-art slicing and food assembly equipment for companies the world over.

Appetronix brings to the table its expertise in advanced robotics and data science solutions, enabling automation and optimization of the restaurant operations. Through the partnership with Donatos, Appetronix aims to revolutionize the restaurant industry by introducing a new era of autonomous dining experiences.

“We are truly honoured to partner with the Grote family and contribute to the future of one of the most iconic pizza brands in the United States (Donatos Pizzeria by Appetronix). The collective experience of our combined teams now has an amazing platform to dramatically transform the restaurant industry and accelerate our growth strategy,” says Nipun Sharma, Co-Founder & CEO of Appetronix Inc. “I would also like to take this opportunity to announce the change of our company name from SJW Robotics to Appetronix (appetite + robotics), as we provide advanced automation, robotics and data science solutions to restaurant brands with a real-estate agnostic solution that tackles labour shortage, environmental sustainability and restaurant profitability – delivering the best quality food and value to consumers.”

“Following the pandemic, we all saw the power of digital transformation, especially in the food and restaurant industry,” said Abe Murray, General Partner at AlleyCorp. “Appetronix is at the forefront of the future of food robotics and automation, bringing the most innovative and novel technology solutions to restaurant business owners, enabling them to offer unique and seamless dining experiences for their customers.”

About Appetronix Inc.

Appetronix Inc. (formerly SJW Robotics) is a foodtech company specializing in the development and design of autonomous robotic solutions for commercial restaurant kitchens. With an expert team with extensive experience in restaurant kitchen design, worldwide expansion of restaurant chains, advanced automation, robotics, and data science, Appetronix is at the forefront of innovation in the foodservice industry. Our mission is to revolutionize the way restaurants operate by leveraging cutting-edge technology to deliver custom solutions that are scalable and tailored to meet the requirements of the next generation of quick-service restaurants. Our autonomous robotic solutions holistically automate all back of house functions including portioning, cooking, plating, and even cleaning with a singular goal of providing the best tasting food. Visit: Contact: Ivana Palumbo,

About Donatos Pizza

Donatos features the Edge to Edge® pizza, created by Jim Grote who founded Donatos in 1963. With 434 locations in 27 states, Donatos and its franchise partners operate 176 traditional restaurants in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Donatos’ products are also proudly served in 258 non-traditional locations (248 locations with Red Robin, plus sports and entertainment venues.). For more information about Donatos, visit Contact: Carolyn Butler,

About Agápe Automation

Agápe Automation is the food-tech innovation company that creates the automated Sm^rt Kitchens of the future. We envision exponential growth for pizza operators. Our mission is to make the kitchen a better place.

About Grote Company

The Grote Company was founded by Jim Grote in 1972 and has been a family-owned and operated manufacturer of food processing equipment known for exceptional customer service, unparalleled craftsmanship, dependability, and quality. They are the leading manufacturer of slicing and food assembly equipment for companies the world over.

About AlleyCorp Robotic Ventures

AlleyCorp Robotics (ARV) is an early stage venture capital fund investing in amazing teams solving the world’s problems through robotics and automation. We are based in Boston and NYC and are part of AlleyCorp. We are proud to count Kevin Ryan and Eliot Horowitz as limited partners and advisors.