With life becoming more rapid, consumers are placing an emphasis on convenience more than they did in previous years. In fact, the National Retail Federation (NRF) report claims 83 percent of consumers value convenience more than they did in the past five years, and 93 percent of consumers consider convenience when choosing a retailer. For the restaurant industry, convenience likewise holds a priority, with 63 percent of customers ordering carry-out or delivery options from restaurants on a weekly basis.
These statistics aren’t surprising, as the pace of life is increasingly changing the way consumers interact with businesses. One area, in particular, is the interaction between customers and restaurants. As the statistic above mentioned, customers are preferring quick, convenient ordering processes that fit into their busy lifestyles.
With this shift in food ordering, restaurants are adapting to meet the needs of their customers, but sometimes, choosing the most effective solution can be difficult. To mitigate this, consider food lockers.
Yes, food pick-up lockers! When you order carry–out, you may walk into the restaurant to find your food sitting on the counter, growing cold as the delicious aromas waft out of the bag. To make matters worse, by the time you pay for your food and drive home, your food is cold to the point where you have to warm it in the microwave for a minute or two before eating it.
With self-service food lockers, this scenario disappears. In the food and beverage industry, food lockers are a typical locker unit with cubicles able to hold food inside of them for pick-up. Throughout the pick-up locker system, each cubicle is insulated and has its own customizable temperature control.
No longer will your food grow cold as it awaits you! This isn’t the only feature of lockers, though. In addition to a customizable temperature control system, the dimensions of food lockers and the cubicles often are customizable in order to tailor to the needs of the restaurant. Furthermore, food lockers can integrate with ordering and restaurant management systems, and customers can use a PIN or QR code to unlock the cubicle containing their food. Moreover, the lockers are two-sided, so employees can directly place orders into the locker cubicles after preparing them. This allows the food to stay warm while eliminating unnecessary additional human contact with the food.
Here’s how it works.
You’re hungry, so you decide to order from your favorite restaurant. You can choose either to order online or at the location, through a kiosk or cashier. Depending on your ordering choice, you’ll either receive a text notification that your food is ready or at the location, you’ll see your order number completed on a digital board. Then, the final step is simply scanning a QR code or entering a PIN code in the self-service food locker to retrieve your order.
Easy enough, right?
Let’s consider the business side of food pick-up lockers. For employees, employees prepare the order per usual. The only difference here is that once they’ve completed the order, they place it into the self-service locker from their prep side and then indicate the order is completed through their restaurant management system. This then triggers the digital board or text notification to notify the customer that their order is ready. This seems like a much better alternative to the first scenario mentioned, and that’s because it is a much better alternative.
With food lockers, the carryout process becomes streamlined, simplifying the pick-up process for customers and the food preparation process for employees. Less time is wasted, and convenience reigns. Who wouldn’t want that?