The e-commerce giant has more than just retailers following its every move. Its plans to change the way consumers do essentially everything could also have an impact on restaurants. Here’s how.
Entry into grab-and-go
A potential game changer for quick-serve spots, Amazon is testing out a new grab-and-go concept offering meals prepped by chefs, minus the familiar trappings of cashiers and checkout counters.
Customers gain access to the company’s new 1,800-square-foot Amazon Go facility via smartphone, grab the items they’d like to buy and simply walk out. Purchases are tabulated and charged to patrons’ accounts via the app, with no scanning required. Sandwiches, baked goods and salads are among the items available, as are Amazon’s fresh meal kits.
This concept is one of three brick-and-mortar food concepts in test by the e-retailer, which plans to roll out at least 20 supermarket-style facilities, though it’s unclear how many would fall under the Amazon Go format.
Meal kits on demand
The company is delivering meal kits on demand as part of its AmazonFresh same-day grocery service, which is now in more than 18 cities. Members will soon be able to place orders for scheduled pickup as well. Upon arrival at one of the company’s drive-in grocery centers, orders would be brought out to customers’ cars. In addition, Amazon is reportedly developing license plate-reading tech that would speed throughput at these curbside collection facilities.
The e-tailer's newest way of getting meals into customers' hands is via drones. Amazon has been exploring drone delivery in 30 minutes or less for a few years, placing development centers in the U.S., U.K., Austria and Israel, and is negotiating with regulators to test its personnel-free system internationally.
It's already a player in the delivery of restaurant meals. Crowdsourced drivers pick up and drop off meals from 130 restaurants in an hour or less to Prime members in 17 cities. Delivery is free, and customers can track their orders in real time.
Twenty-seven percent of restaurants buy supplies online once a month or more. Meanwhile, Amazon enables instant ordering for more than 200 household products at the push of a button for Prime members. Could allowing restaurant regulars to order favorite items with one touch be next?
Amazon has begun selling its own private-label items, offering snacks and coffee through its Happy Belly line, baby products through its Mama Bear brand, and food and other household items under its Elements umbrella. With proprietary food products as well as extensive ordering and delivery capabilities, could Amazon become the next headless restaurant?