Picture someone just coming home from work, thinking about placing an order from their favorite local restaurant. As they narrow down their menu choices, they’re also weighing their options between takeout and delivery, creating a pros and cons list in their mind.
“I’m craving tacos! I think I’ll just order delivery, relax and watch a movie. Hold on, this says the wait time is 40 to 50 minutes! And delivery charges are WHAT?? I’m hungry now—and I could drive there myself in half the time.”
Today’s customers are facing higher costs everywhere from rent to groceries to travel, making them more likely to consider takeout—especially if the restaurant makes the experience quick and reliable.
Takeout: Once bitten, twice shy
Unfortunately, restaurants sometimes overlook the importance of making order pickup enjoyable. In a recent Bluedot survey, over 50% of customers said they’d had bad pickup experiences: their order was taken by someone else, they had to flag down staff for help or their order wasn’t ready when promised.
To shift the customer’s pros and cons list toward takeout, operators need to remember they’re competing with ultra-convenient delivery. That’s where smart food lockers, such as those from Apex Order Pickup Solutions, are a big help. They make sure the right order goes to the right customer at the right time—and pickup takes less than 10 seconds. They also give operators valuable data for the last step of the order journey that they would otherwise lose to delivery service providers.
With no fees, the price is right
For many customers, what tops the list of takeout “pros” is that picking up from a food locker doesn’t cost them anything. There are no fees or menu markups. That’s a welcome option given the higher cost of food these days—consumers have seen grocery prices go up nearly 9% in the past year, while restaurant prices are up about 7%.
That means the do-it-yourself option of picking up from a smart food locker fits their budget and makes them feel better about their decision. With that extra money in their pocket, they might even upsize their order or add a dessert or appetizer.
It’s fast and reliable
Thanks to carefully timed pickup notifications, takeout customers know they can pick up as soon as they arrive. Many restaurants now combine smart food lockers with intelligent location services that detect when customers are on their way. That helps them choose the best time to fire the order and place it in the locker so the food is as fresh as possible when guests arrive.
Once that guest comes in, picking up from the locker is a snap. They simply scan the code on their phone, their compartment lights up and its door pops open. Then they take their order and are on their way—all in about 10 seconds.
With smart food lockers, the order handoff process is more efficient for restaurant employees, too. They just load one order and move on to the next, knowing they’ll all go to the right customers. If by chance a customer is delayed and the order has been sitting too long, its compartment light will change color to give them a heads up.
There’s no contact and no stress
Let’s face it: when someone is tired and a little bit “hangry,” a fully digital experience sounds just right. Food lockers are ideal for people who prefer the precision, the speed, and the crowd-free experience available from today’s restaurant technology.
Once these customers have experienced how easy it is to pick up from a food locker, they’ll come back to it whenever they want their favorite meal without the added expense of delivery. They know their order will be ready when they get there, without anyone else touching it (or a driver possibly eating their fries!)
Using an automated solution like the OrderHQ™ Smart Food Locker from Apex gives restaurant operators a powerful way to shift customers from delivery to takeout and own the complete customer journey (and its data,) while offering an experience that ensures repeat visits from their customers.
Visit Apex Order Pickup Solutions to discover how to make self-serve order pickup the reason busy customers choose takeout
This post is sponsored by Apex Order Pickup Solutions