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Maestro’s Pizza’s Secret Sauce? Machine Learning

2021

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AWS has a very close relationship with us that we didn’t experience with our previous providers.”

Omar Homsi
Head of Information Technologies, Maestro Pizza

A homegrown success in the burgeoning Saudi Arabian pizza delivery market, Maestro Pizza is taking advantage of cutting-edge technology to compete with global players such as Domino’s and Pizza Hut.

With a mission to give its customers the highest-quality food possible, Maestro worked with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to develop a way to use machine learning to make sure that every pizza that leaves its ovens is baked to perfection.

Made from scratch with fresh ingredients in its branches, Maestro’s pizzas have satisfied customers and spurred expansion since the company’s founding in 2013. Having started when pizza delivery was non-existent in the country, Maestro now has more than 170 outlets and 2,000 employees.

Using Machine Learning to Make Tastier Pizzas

Maestro knew this fast-paced growth would continue only if each of the 100,000 pizzas it makes every day met customers’ high expectations. So it made quality control a priority. It installed video cameras in branches to monitor pizza assembly so that staff could learn how to optimize the process.

Unfortunately, this required 13 full-time employees working more than 10 hours a day to watch the video feed and manually fill out checklists about staff performance and branch operations. Maestro wanted to automate this task and use the data to give it insight into how to consistently make the best pizzas.

Maestro migrated its core workloads to AWS in 2017. It later approached AWS for help with automating its infrastructure workloads. It had chosen AWS over other cloud providers because of the excellent support. “AWS has a very close relationship with us that we didn’t experience with our other providers,” says Maestro Pizza head of ICT Omar Homsi.

AWS notifies Maestro of promotions, new services, or optimizations that could save it money, while also helping it to innovate and solve business issues. When it came to maintaining the high quality of Maestro’s pizzas, AWS advised the company to use the machine learning capabilities of Amazon SageMaker.

Together, AWS and Maestro developed an innovative solution to improve the quality-control process across the pizza-maker’s branches.

The images captured by the in-branch video cameras are now processed digitally through AWS Lambda. Amazon SageMaker will notice if an image does not match a known pizza type—such as a margherita—and will then ask Maestro staff to identify it. After the image is labeled, it is added to the library of known pizzas. Amazon SageMaker speeds up this training process and has helped Maestro to quickly build up its library of pizza type images.

These images are fed into a dashboard that can be viewed by branch employees. The dashboard will tell employees if a pizza meets Maestro’s high standards. This system also provides the central office with data about which branches need improvement to achieve a higher percentage of quality pizzas.

Achieving Flexibility and Reliability with AWS Serverless

Along with helping Maestro improve pizza quality, AWS has improved customer experience by keeping Maestro’s ecommerce site up and running and ensuring its delivery drivers are connected.

The flexibility and reliability of AWS serverless computing allows the pizza maker to meet daily spikes in demand around meal times as well as on weekends and holidays, when customers tend to order more pizzas.

With Maestro’s previous provider, it experienced repeated service outages, including one that left 200 of its delivery drivers stranded, with no access to the delivery mobile app that tells them where and when to deliver pizzas. When its ecommerce site was down due to the inefficiency of the previous cloud provider, Maestro experienced loss of revenue and serious service delays.

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), AWS Lambda, and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) allow Maestro to increase compute resources when the number of orders is high, and then to spin down resources when customer demand is low. This keeps the site available to customers placing orders and delivery drivers needing instructions at all times.

Scalability and Support During the Pandemic

This flexibility was especially important for helping Maestro deliver pizzas during the pandemic. When physical restaurants shut down, Maestro was able to meet the rising demand for online sales, as tens of thousands of additional orders came in on its ecommerce site. The pizza-maker adjusted its AWS Lambda resources to handle that increased load in a cost-effective way and deliver good service.

The on-demand pricing also means Maestro pays for only the compute power it uses. This has translated into a 40 percent reduction in IT infrastructure costs, compared to its previous provider, which required it to pay for a fixed service level.

While using AWS, Maestro has also seen an increase in website traffic and a drop in customer complaints, which points to an improved customer experience. The high availability of the site ensures that orders are processed quickly. And drivers have reliable access to vital delivery information through their mobile app, meaning pizzas arrive at customers’ homes on time.

Innovation and Security for the Future

Succeeding against global players means Maestro must not only grow but also innovate to create the best services and products possible. Thanks to AWS, Maestro’s small IT team is able to focus on core development tasks, rather than on maintenance, because AWS keeps all of the services that Maestro needs running seamlessly.

AWS has also solved Maestro’s security challenges. It was a security breach of Maestro’s network in 2017 that prompted the pizza maker to immediately move all of its live application servers to AWS. The breach occurred at 10 PM. By the following morning, Maestro had completed the migration to AWS.

“We all thought the quick migration to AWS was too good to be true—but we were wrong,” Homsi says. Since then, Maestro has appreciated the hassle-free improvements AWS brings to its IT setup—and its overall business. “There’s nothing better than getting no feedback from the management about IT issues,” says Homsi. “With AWS, we can forget about the chore of managing infrastructure and focus on the business instead, which is what we want.” He adds, “Now when our CEO Khalid Alomran has a new idea for technological disruption in the pizza industry, we can deliver.”

 


About Maestro Pizza

Maestro Pizza is a fast-growing pizza restaurant chain in Saudi Arabia. Founded in 2013, it has more than 170 outlets and delivers over 100,000 pizzas per day across the Kingdom.

Benefits of AWS

  • Cost savings
  • Improved pizza quality
  • Better customer experience
  • Improved use of resources
  • Flexibility and scalability

AWS Services Used

Amazon EC2

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.

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AWS Lambda

AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers, creating workload-aware cluster scaling logic, maintaining event integrations, or managing runtimes. 

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Amazon RDS

Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud.

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Amazon SageMaker

Amazon SageMaker helps data scientists and developers to prepare, build, train, and deploy high-quality machine learning (ML) models quickly by bringing together a broad set of capabilities purpose-built for ML.

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