Coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed our world with the subtlety of a sledgehammer and now billions of people around the world are under ‘stay at home’ orders. In many communities restaurants and bars are closed or only allowed to deliver meals or make them available as ‘to-go’ or takeaway orders.
But, even with the plethora of food delivery services in the United States and elsewhere, people still prefer drive-thru to food delivery when they choose not to dine in. But what are you to do when your restaurant isn’t configured with a drive-thru window?
One answer would be to re-imagine the drive thru and takeaway by learning from the automats of the 1930’s and 1940’s (the last one in New York City closed in 1991) and Amazon Lockers.
You can create lockers for warm food and lockers for cold food. Before the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began spreading across the globe some companies were experimenting with food lockers combined with mobile ordering at ballparks:
And, Pizza Hut was experimenting in Hollywood with Pizza Lockers to eliminate interactions with employees (picture top of article).
One could imagine that as Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns stretch from weeks from months, and the virus lingers for the next 12-24 months, and fears of individuals linger potentially even longer, restaurants may want to re-imagine how they configure and leverage their physical space.
Is it worth redeploying an external wall of the restaurant to optimize to go or takeaway orders?
The idea isn’t that difficult for an individual restaurant to adopt as there are companies manufacturing food lockers already, and they can be combined with PIN’s to unlock them that can be delivered by email or mobile platforms and reset after each use.
During a virus outbreak (or on an ongoing basis) sanitizing wipes could be provided or if the lockers are on the street, then one employee could be staffed for delivering food from the kitchen to the lockers and then sanitizing the lockers on the outside of the restaurant.
Have you seen this type of solution growing in your part of the world?
Innovation or not?