Nation's first Pizza ATM opens at Xavier University in Cincinnati

CINCINATTI (NBC) -- Late-night pizza is as much a staple of college life as classes, dorms and exams. But fresh pizza in the middle of the night isn't always easy to find.

This past week, Xavier University in Cincinnati eased students' quest for round-the-clock munchies by installing Pizza ATM, America's first pizza vending machine.

Open 24/7, Pizza ATM dispenses fresh pizza to hungry students within three minutes of ordering. The 12-inch pies cost $9 to $10, depending on toppings. The vending machine holds 70 pizzas at a time.

It's located in the lobby of Xavier's Fenwick Place residence hall, just outside the school's main dining facility, which closes by 8 p.m. each night.

Pizza ATM is made by Paline, a French company. The dispensers have a long history of popularity in Europe.

"We were looking for a cost-effective way to solve this problem of having a late-night pizza option on campus," Xavier Assistant Vice President Jude Kiah told NBC News. "We liked the idea of being the first school to have this high-quality machine."

Kiah said that the school has other food options, such as sandwich bars and Mexican restaurants, but none are open around the clock like the ATM is.

"We've gotten almost 700 inquiries about the machine," Kiah said. "Many, many other schools are interested in bringing it to their campuses."

University officials say the quality of the machine-made pizzas will not differ from dining hall pizzas — they are still hand-prepped by staff in the Xavier dining hall, which has won two national awards for its food in the past three years. But instead of the pizza being cooked by staff, it's heated up in the machine at 475 degrees.

Pizza ATM delivered its first pizza to the Xavier women's soccer team, and is still in the testing phase. Kiah said the vending machine will be available for students when they arrive on campus later this month.

While this is the first pizza vending machine in the U.S., it isn't the first food ATM: New York has cupcake ATMs to satisfy a sweet tooth at any hour.