Intelligent lockers have become an increasingly popular technology in the foodservice industry, and for good reason. With the ability to securely hold either hot or cold foods in a compact industrial-grade unit, food lockers improve the safety and efficiency of food handling in a variety of different environments. Here are four industries beyond quick-service restaurants that can benefit from the integration food lockers:
1. Ghost kitchens
Ghost kitchens are on the rise, and food lockers can help them gain even more traction. With take-out or delivery options only, these no-fuss establishments are a prime example of food lockers as optimization technology. The seating-free kitchens can use food lockers to keep dishes fresh while waiting people to pick up takeout or delivery orders. Since the ghost kitchen model is focused around minimizing all staff and utility expenses, food lockers will allow those kitchens to increase their rate of service beyond what would otherwise be possible under such limited space and serving capacity.
Additionally, the lockers provide more flexibility for customers who are able to pick up their order within a wider time frame. If they scheduled to pick up for one time but find themselves running late, they can rest assured that their order will not grow cold sitting on the counter.
2. Grocery Stores
Food lockers would allow grocery stores to increase their stream of revenue from curbside orders by allowing guests to simply pick up their order from a conveniently located locker. Curbside requires employees to track down each order and deliver it to the correct car. For shoppers, the convenience of curbside can be negated when they return home only to find the wrong items or even the wrong order in their bag.
Food lockers address both issues as they eliminate the need for employees make runs for each order, and they allow the customer to review their order’s contents before leaving the store. Employees and personal shoppers can place an order in a locker for pickup which will automatically alert the shopper that their items are ready. The shopper can then review their order and grab any items in person that they may have forgotten to purchase online before leaving with their groceries.
3. College Dining Halls
Colleges have struggled to balance their desire to bring back students with the need to protect student and staff health. Many dining halls are reworking their dining hall models to accommodate a clean, sanitary and socially distant environment with take-out only options and individually packaged meals. Food lockers would offer an elegant and safe solution for efficient and contactless food service.
Students can place an order through their mobile devices for a specific pickup time and access their locker without ever coming into contact with kitchen staff or students. Colleges would be able to better enforce social distancing, as well, by eliminating the need for students to stand in line and congregate in cafeterias. Alternatively, staff could still safely serve students customized plates using two-sided lockers, perfect for salad bars or buffet-style stations.
4. Sporting Arenas
Concession stands can get notoriously busy, and even a dehydrated and hungry fan won’t want to risk missing the game waiting in line for a corndog. Food lockers can help reduce friction at stadium food vendors by directing customers through different channels of food ordering and pickup. Between in-person orders and mobile orders for food locker pickup, both stadium staff and fans will appreciate the flexibility and convenience of lockers.
Food lockers will also allow fans to maximize the time in their seat. While waiting in the stands, fans can place a mobile order so that they increase the time they spend watching the game and reduce the time they spend waiting to order. Kitchens benefit because they are able to serve more customers more quickly by preparing orders in advanced of the break-time rush.
Food lockers are changing the game for customer-centric food services. From improving delivery and take-out efficiency to protecting individuals from unnecessary contact, food lockers are an adaptive and versatile innovation that will benefit food-based industries everywhere.