Sponsored by Apex Order Pickup Solutions
Our industry may finally be seeing a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel (let’s hope so!) While no one knows exactly when capacity and other restrictions will be lifted, we do know that the pandemic has pushed adoption of technology ahead by three to four years1 sooner than expected.
That’s good news for the food and beverage industry, too. For instance, many people have discovered mobile ordering for pickup, and how fast and easy it can be. More importantly, one in three people like it so much that they plan to continue their new habit even after the pandemic is over.2
Consumers also now have higher expectations for how they pick up their orders. They’ve gotten used to fast, seamless and no-contact experiences. They’re less comfortable with face-to-face order handoffs. They don’t want to wait, and they’re more impatient with inconsistent experiences and service.
The challenges of contactless order pickup
These new, heightened expectations are why it’s important to remember that order pickup is a critical step in your guest’s journey. It’s the last opportunity you have to make a good impression, one that’s consistent with all the other steps you take to ensure quality, security and convenience for your guests.
Many F&B operations are realizing that simple pickup shelves or cubbies are not a reliable way to ensure the right person gets the right order, at the right time. Those challenges become even more evident during peak hours, when high volumes mean there’s more confusion, crowding, and a higher chance of error.
With all these concerns, many foodservice leaders realize that it’s critical to sharpen their focus on order pickup and find a solution that optimizes efficiency for staff as well as speed and convenience for guests. That’s why the industry is now seeing the rapid adoption of smart, contactless order pickup lockers.
Data gives leaders more answers, less guesswork
At a time when speed of service, order accuracy, and especially order security are critical, dining operators have found that order pickup lockers help them get the right orders to the right guests quickly, help increase throughput, and optimize staff resources during rush times. More importantly, they can provide new data and analytics that can improve the order pickup process itself.
Smart locker solutions can be integrated with POS and a variety of tech vendors for digital ordering, providing a seamless workflow for employees and real-time data on order fulfillment and pickup. Instead of wondering if an order was picked up, managers can see how long it remained in the compartment (dwell time) and when it was picked up by the guest.
The best solutions also enable portfolio-wide visibility across all locations and brands, so F&B leaders can manage operational performance across their enterprise or look at details inside a particular site. This provides insights that can help all locations continuously improve over time.
Bring more certainty to guests, too
Even as things begin to slowly return to normal, many people are closely watching how your brand continues to safeguard them. Smart lockers provide far more certainty throughout their order pickup process, and will reassure them of your attention to food quality, security and social distancing.
When guests pick up from smart lockers, they don’t have to wonder, “Will my order be ready when I get there? How long has it been sitting there? Will this make me run late?” Instead, they receive a pickup notification as soon as their order is placed in the locker.
They’ll also never have to wonder, “Which bag is mine? Did someone pick it up before I got here?” They’ll know their order has been placed into a compartment that only they can access with their unique order code. Best of all, they know the entire process will be quick and easy, and they’ll be out the door in seconds.
Investing in more efficient and precise experiences
It’s clear that investing in new technologies to support convenient, contactless order pickup –and the data they provide – will be even more valuable as we move beyond the pandemic.
Food lockers make order pickup fast, contactless and predictable, making guests more likely to come back. These technologies also make back-of-house operations more efficient and predictable for your dining team.
As we look to the future, more dining operations will make food lockers a standard part of their offering to take guesswork out of the picture, and replace it with efficiency, security – and predictability.