Pizza Hut announced in a statement this week that it is testing out Brightloom’s automated pickup cubbies at its Hollywood location. It’s the same technology currently used in chains like MAC’D and Chicago-based Wow Bao.
The point of Brightloom’s cubby system is to speed up service and give customers a way to order digitally then retrieve their food without every having to interact with a human being. Users can place an order via the Pizza Hut app or website, though Pizza Hut said in the statement they can still order via phone or in-person if they prefer.
Once at the restaurant, users find their designated cubby, which digitally displays their name on the door and is built with a special lining that keeps pizza hot and drinks cold. From there it’s just a matter of grabbing the pie and heading out.
The pilot kicked off yesterday. Pizza Hut says it plans to roll out more iterations of it in West Coast locations in 2020.
The pilot also follows the Brightloom announcement this week that the company formerly known as Eatsa has rebranded, raised $30 million, and is working with Starbucks to license the latter’s mobile order-pay-loyalty technology for its own system. Brightloom will in the near future license this newly revamped tech stack to restaurants.
Linking up with Brightloom is a smart move on Pizza Hut’s part. As my colleague Chris Albrecht said not long ago, “pizza continues to disrupt itself,” and there seems to be no end to national chains throwing new tech initiatives at the process of ordering, retrieving, and delivering pies to customers. Little Caesars’ Pizza Portal is similar to the Brightloom cubbies in that it’s a temperature-controlled, self-service pickup station that also allows users to order and pay digitally. Domino’s, meanwhile, has kept busy releasing everything from in-car ordering functionality to AI-powered scanners that check pizza quality.
But as we mentioned at the time of the Brightloom-Starbucks news, Starbucks is arguably the leader when it comes to mobile order, pay, and pickup technology, and combining it with Brightloom’s already-powerful end-to-end restaurant management platform could seriously raise standards around all restaurant technology. Pizza Hut hasn’t said if its subsequent cubby rollouts will include this new version of Brightloom’s platform, which will be unveiled in October. However, a relationship with Brightloom could help give Pizza Hut the competitive edge it needs when it comes to technology over the long term.