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Why restaurants need more insights on the order handoff process

By not knowing the ins and outs, operators could be in the dark when it comes to customer service.
Photograph: Shutterstock

The last year’s surge in off-premises orders came as a welcome life raft for many restaurants. Being able to offer customers’ favorite foods for delivery, takeout and curbside/contactless pickup was a boon for business, but for many operators, there were—and are still—some challenges to work through. One of those challenges? Not having enough visibility when it comes to the order handoff process. 

Many restaurants use dedicated shelves for storing digital orders for pickup. And due to regulations about capacity, many restaurants simply make customers wait outside for their curbside pickup orders. Neither of these is an ideal solution. By using a shelf or making customers wait, restaurants don’t have any data to help them see how they’re performing, such as how long it takes for customers to get their orders, how long orders are waiting to be picked up (AKA foods’ “dwell time”), or even if the right order is going to the right customer—but when the order is wrong, the restaurant will definitely hear about it.

Thankfully, there’s an alternative. Automated order pickup lockers are designed to provide all of these insights to restaurant operators—and beyond that, they help enhance the customer experience. 

Offering insights

According to a Hospitality Tech study from March 2021, a whopping 79% of restaurants consider their data strategy for sales and service prediction/optimization to be moderately, slightly, or not at all effective. To ward this off, operators can implement a system such as Apex automated order pickup lockers. These lockers provide managers with time-stamped, complete order fulfillment data, and also provide insights into calculated data such as dwell time and create-to-load time. Knowing these numbers can help restaurants better plan for kitchen processes—cooking according to which dishes take longer to make, for instance. The order data can even provide operators visibility to individual stores across a brand’s entire portfolio or to multiple locations grouped in a manner that suits the business needs.

Customer service

Having access to this type of data isn’t just critical for order information and process planning, either; data helps enhance the customer experience, too. Blue Dot’s State of What Feeds Us report found that 67% of survey respondents said waiting six minutes or more for in-store pickup is too long and frustrating, and 86% of consumers feel frustrated waiting 10 minutes or more for a pick-up order. In fact, only 18% of consumers say they are willing to wait more than 10 minutes. But what can operators do to prevent customers from arriving too early? Apex automated order pickup lockers are the solution. By using automated pickup lockers, operators can notify customers the minute their food is ready for pickup, so customers can be sure their order is ready when they arrive. Rakuten’s Contactless Playbook report noted that 73% of consumers want to know exactly when their order will be ready for pickup, and by using these lockers, operators can do just that.

Without having this functionality available, operators are left to the old ways of doing takeout business, and those long wait times or mixed-up orders can lead to customer dissatisfaction. By using a solution that streamlines order pickup, customers may be encouraged to increase their visit frequency and spend more on each order. Over the lifetime of the customer, that boost in loyalty can be invaluable.

To learn more about how Apex automated pickup solutions can give operators the data they need to provide a superior experience, visit www.apexorderpickup.com.

This post is sponsored by Apex Order Pickup Solutions