Linda Pouliot, Dishcraft CEO and co-founder joins the Yahoo Finance Live panel with the latest on robotics and dishwashing.
ZACK GUZMAN: You may have heard of software as a service. What about robots as a service, or, in this case, dishwashing robots as a service? It's exactly what's being offered by Dishcraft, a startup that picks up, cleans, and dries dishware and then returns it to restaurants and cafeterias. It's an idea that's become all the more interesting as restaurants face labor shortages and a tougher time finding-- you guessed it-- dishwashers.
And for more on the idea, happy to welcome in the CEO and co-founder of the business, Dishcraft, Linda Pouliot joins us right now. And Linda, it's a very interesting idea. And I should note, you guys have raised more than $45 million and attracted some interesting backers, including the co-founder of Netflix, who's been on the show with us many times before. So it's a very interesting and now well-backed idea. But talk to me about why it's better than maybe the old ways of doing things either by hand or by the OG robot in dishwashing-- the dishwasher.
LINDA POULIOT: When you automate, you can create much better efficiencies. And so Dishcraft delivers very much like a linen service, where we drop off clean dishes every day, pick up the used ones, bring it back to a centralized hub, and then that hub is powered by robots. This gives us a greater ability to inspect and have very consistent, clean quality. So each robot can inspect each ware 22 times. And that's very, very hard to do in a traditional dish room.
We also-- we're able to be much more sustainable. So we use only a quarter of the water and a tenth of the power that a traditional dish room would use. And so it's better for the environment. And it's certainly better for the dining experience. And it's also better for the operator.
AKIKO FUJITA: Linda, what does this mean from a cost perspective? I know Zack highlighted the labor shortage right now. I imagine a lot of restaurants and businesses right now would use this service because they just can't hire the dishwashers. But down the line here, what's the tradeoff? Is it cheaper to be able to go run these washers, use the robots, as opposed to hiring somebody on for an hourly wage? What's the difference?
LINDA POULIOT: Yeah, it's a great question. We are equal or less than. And so we've had a third party study done. And in operators using a traditional dish room, we can offer up to 24% savings. And then in an operation that is using compostables or single use disposable wares and wants to switch to a reusable service, we are equal or even up to 35% savings. Because as you know, right now, cost of compostables, because of supply chain issues, has skyrocketed. And so Dishcraft is a very sustainable and cost effective solution.
ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, that was-- I mean, the sustainability piece to me was kind of surprising because you'd think it would be way more sustainable just to throw it in a dishwasher in the restaurant. But you guys are using diesel, I guess, trucks to kind of ship all these things around. I mean, talk to me about the benefits on that front, relative to just throwing them in the machine.
LINDA POULIOT: Because we're able to smartly connect devices, we're able to use cold water, and we're able to recycle that. And so we use only a tenth of the water-- sorry, a tenth of the power and 25% of the water that is used in a traditional dish room. And so when you couple that, even with the driving distance because we keep everything to a 25-mile radius, we're by far superior to traditional methods or to compostable single use disposables.
AKIKO FUJITA: And so how widely is this available right now? And what are you looking at in terms of the biggest opportunities for growth?
LINDA POULIOT: So today, we're in the Bay Area, and we're rapidly expanding here. And in 2022, we are going to across the country. And so we have two cities that we plan to open in Q1, but more on that later.
ZACK GUZMAN: All right, we'll stay tuned there on that front. But I appreciate you coming on. There's a lot of people watching who just would like a normal dishwasher. So maybe that's your market, too. A lot of people in New York don't even have that. But Linda Pouliot, appreciate you coming on here to chat with us today, Dishcraft CEO and co-founder. Be well.