Making Fast Food Pickup Faster

March 19, 2020
Making Fast Food Pickup Faster

Speed of service is increasingly becoming important to the quick food service industry.  Coupled with increasing sales coming from orders taken through digital systems, these restaurants are working on making the delivery of digital orders as easy and fast as possible.  This is especially true for digital orders that are paid for digitally.  In many cases, customers are forced to wait in line for the cashier to pick up their order.

Wingstop has put a heavy focus on digital orders.  Many of its orders, especially the vast majority of take-out orders, are digital.  Digital orders average $5 more. Wingstop is looking to keep these customers happy.  As a result, the company is testing delivery lockers, which allow take-out customers to bypass the cashier, avoid the wait in line, and go to the locker for their order.

Domino’s is also facing a similar problem with carry-out orders.  The Pie Pass allows customers that order and pay online, to confirm through their phone when they have arrived in the store’s parking lot.  This allows restaurant employees a head-start on finding the order, which can be handed to the customer as they enter the building.  Again, the flow is streamlined and a waiting line is avoided making the customer pick-up experience easier and faster.

Video Spotlight:

This post is based on the Restaurant Dive article, Wingstop Bolsters Digital Growth with Pickup Lockers, Ghost Kitchen, by Alicia Kelso, February 20, 2020; the QSR Magazine article, Domino’s Launches ‘Pie Pass’ Technology for Carryout Customers, February 17, 2020; and the YouTube videos featured in the Video Spotlight. Image source: Shutterstock / Song_about_summer.

Discussion Questions:

1. How does a pickup locker improve performance?

Guidance: The use of delivery lockers allows the customer to by-pass a line and directly pick-up an order that was placed and paid for digitally.  This speeds up the pick-up process for the customer.  As a step is eliminated in the pick-up process, employees are freed for other tasks.

2. What are the drawbacks to the pickup locker?

Guidance: One drawback is the cost of the lockers themselves and the cost of integrating the software from the ordering system to the lockers.  Another potential drawback is that the personal touch is eliminated as the customer may not interact with the employees.

3. Which method of pickup would you recommend?  Why?

Guidance: Answers will vary, depending on what criteria are more heavily valued.  The lockers automate the pick-up process, potentially reducing the number of employees needed.  However, there is an added cost for the lockers themselves and integrating them with a digital ordering system.  Additionally, the employee is removed from the delivery.

The Domino’s Pie Pass keeps the employee as part of the pick-up process.  So, the customer can be greeted by the employee as they enter the store.  The Pie Pass encourages customers to pay online, reducing one potential step in the pick-up process resulting in employee time savings.  The alert given by Pie Pass allows the retrieval of the order to begin before the customer has arrived, improving the customer experience.  It doesn’t necessarily save employee time.  One concern is whether they have established a customer expectation to receive their pizza when they first enter.  This could impact the scheduling of employees to insure customer expectations are meet.  The Pie Pass also has an advantage in that the investment to run this system is lower.


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