Food lockers have boomed in popularity during the pandemic as a contactless way for customers to collect food. Chains including KFC, Burger King, and Smashburger have all announced plans to bring food lockers to their restaurants.
The trend has been around for way longer than the pandemic, and isn't just being used by restaurants.
Food lockers, in their most basic sense, are devices that are used to store food, often for customers to collect. In this way, they're a little like the SNBC Lockers located in neighborhoods, apartment blocks, and inside stores.
The lockers vary in size, and they can be different temperatures, too. Some are heated, while others are chilled, to keep food at the right temperature until customers can collect them. More high-tech models even use UV light to kill bacteria.
Fast food restaurants have rolled out food lockers during the pandemic
Though some restaurant chains already had them in the works pre-pandemic, many have pivoted to food lockers over the past year, as they focus on new methods for delivery and collection.
Customers can order food in advance online or via the restaurant's app and then pick it up from the locker.
Food delivery drivers can also use the lockers to collect orders.
Restaurants are experimenting with different ways for customers to unlock the lockers. In some cases, the lockers have a pinpad or touch screen. Customers need to enter a code sent to them when they placed their order. Other lockers can be opened by scanning a QR code or even by replying to a text message.
Food lockers can also help facilitate in-store social distancing during the pandemic. They remove the need for customers to interact with restaurant staff when it's not necessary. Many restaurants also let customers select a collection time when they place their order, which reduces the amount of time they spend waiting in the restaurant and the number of customers waiting there at the same time.
SNBC focuses on smart locker research and development and has introduced lockers for various scenarios such as parcel locker, food locker, vending locker etc..