Pizza vending machine huge success in Lakeland

Photojournalist Lucas Bogg reports

- Gone are the days where all you can purchase from a vending machine is soda, candy, or maybe a bag of chips. In Lakeland, you can add pizza to that list.

The pizza vending machine, created by Pizza Touch, is up and running at the Mobil Gas Station at the corner of South Florida Ave & East Edgewood Drive.

"It's very fast," says Alex Malimpensa, owner of the Mobil Gas Station. "Two minutes and you have amazing pizza in your hands."

Malimpensa is friends with the founders of Pizza Touch and offered to be a testing location for the vending machine. In fact, the Lakeland gas station is one of only three spots in Florida to have the new machine.

The console offers three kinds of pizzas that are prepared in advance and partially cooked. The customer can pay with cash or by card, select the pizza they want, and then the machine takes two minutes to finish cooking the pizza.

Sean Curran says he's bought plenty of things from a vending machine, but never pizza. He tried Pizza Touch for the first time on Friday.

"It's pretty good pizza," shares Curran. "It's weird, It's a vending machine, but it's pretty good. I like it."

That seems to be the general consensus, according to Malimpensa. He says the machine at his station sells 20-25 pizzas per day. He also has plans to put in a Pizza Touch machine soon at another gas station he owns in Frostproof.

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