At the Smart Kitchen Summit last week, I saw a device that looked like a printer but baked individual flatbreads. It’s called the Rotimatic, and it’s designed to make rotis, an Indian flatbread. It also makes tortillas and personal pizzas, and should be able to make other breads such as naan or pooris in the near future, after getting software updates.
Rishi Israni and his wife founded Zimplistic, the company behind the Rotimatic, 10 years ago. For the first six years it was focused on solving a variety of problems associated with designing a robot that can knead dough into a ball, maneuver it, and press it flat.
Israni told me that the next two years were spent perfecting the machine and getting it ready for market. When it launched with a first batch of products for sale in Singapore in 2016, it quickly sold 8,000 machines at $999 each, which caused it to stop taking orders while it handled delivery. It has now sold 40,000 of the machines in the U.S., Asia, and Europe.
It hasn’t even launched in India yet. While expensive, the device appeals to home cooks who are trying to save time without sacrificing tradition. It also appeals to second-generation South Asians who want rotis without having to learn how to make them well.
As a dedicated tortilla lover, I want to buy this machine, but it’s not going to provide enough bang for my buck (it’s expensive) or be used enough to justify the counter space it will take up (it’s big). Also, I just don’t need it. However, if flatbreads were a huge part of my food culture, I would totally take a second look.
I tried some of the rotis coming out of this machine and they were both tasty and perfectly cooked. You can watch the video here for more details, but if you have the income and love flatbreads (especially rotis), then you may want to invest. Forty thousand people can’t be wrong.