Apex Order Pickup Solutions has unveiled a new, exterior smart locker solution. The OrderHQ Exterior is designed to provide pickup in less than 10 seconds through the exterior wall of a restaurant, while employees load orders from inside.
According to a company release, the solution was designed in response to restaurants continuing to see high demand for pickup orders and struggling with locations crowded with delivery service providers and consumers both waiting for orders. The new smart locker also provides data insights that give the operator a complete digital chain of custody for every order.
“One of the trends we’re seeing now is a shift in operational investment from the back of house into that connection point where back of house meets front of house," says Mike Wills, CEO of Apex. "Automations such as the OrderHQ Exterior Smart Food Locker help operators ensure a highly accurate, highly secure order handoff to off-premises customers and delivery drivers, so their team members can focus on providing the best experience for dine-in customers.”
Apex has seen a growing number of installs on college campuses in recent years, and the company's smart locker solutions have proven an effective pairing with Grubhub mobile ordering. Universities are leveraging the smart lockers for mobile order only locations, as well as a means to underpin ghost kitchen concepts.
The new OrderHQ Exterior Smart Food Locker seeks to alleviate growing labor shortage concerns by streamlining the order fulfillment process and optimizing staff capacity.
With an exterior pickup option, the congestion in the front of the house can be mitigated, while consumers and delivery service drivers benefit from fast service that doesn't require physically entering the building.
In May, the “2022 Restaurant Online Ordering Trends, U.S. Edition” report found that some 86% of consumers are ordering takeout as much or more than they did last year. In that same report, 79% of diners reported having ordered pickup in the past month.
For dining operators, the OrderHQ Smart Food Lockers could help boost profitability due to increased throughput, optimized labor, and decreased waste. The locker’s also include the company's ApexIQ software, which provides real-time operational data to help operators fine tune the customer experience.
The OrderHQ Exterior Smart Food Locker will be manufactured by Merco, a Welbilt brand, and is expected to be available in 2023.