Location tech company BlueDot today announced two new features the company says will improve speed of service as well as personalization for restaurant customers, according to an email sent to The Spoon. Dubbed Hello Screens and Wave, the two features are geared towards pick up and curbside service — formats that have become a mainstay of doing business over the last year.
San Francisco-based Bluedot’s location and geofencing technology already powers a number of digital initiatives from QSRs, including McDonald’s, Dunkin’, and KFC. The company raised $9.1 million in July 2020. Around that time, it also released its Tempo feature, which is essentially a predictive arrival technology that helps restaurants better understand when to start fulfilling an order, so that food doesn’t sit waiting for a customer to arrive.
The new features build on this idea of making the pickup process more efficient. Wave is a simple arrival notification feature that lets customers alert the restaurant when they have arrived to pick up their order. Upon walking inside or pulling into a curbside parking space, the customer simply hits the “I’m here” button, which sends a notification straight to the kitchen, so a staffer can bring the order out. Wave can be added to any channel of the restaurant’s through which customers order, including mobile apps, SMS, and email.
Simultaneous to that process, Hello Screens alerts the restaurant when a customer is en route to the restaurant, giving an estimated time of arrival. The in-browser feature gives both visual and audio cues and can run off a tablet, computer, phone, or other device.
Speeding up all three of those formats has become more important over the last year, since they’ve been the only options through which restaurants can serve customers. Dining rooms are beginning to increase their capacity volumes now, but the general consensus is that customers will continue to want to-go food as well, preferably made as quickly and efficiently as possible. BlueDot itself released a survey recently that found long wait times are a “dealbreaker” for many consumers nowadays.
Automating not just the actual pickup process but also elements of order fulfillment operations could feasibly shave seconds off each order coming into the kitchen. While that sounds small at the individual level, when added up, that time saved and make the restaurant operation move a whole lot faster.