How One Smart Food Locker Startup Is Revolutionizing The Restaurant Pick-up Experience

Marcus Gunn, CTO - Lavii, Inc. - December 26, 2020
A customer scanning a QR code from a mobile phone to open the Lavii smart food locker.
A customer scanning a QR code from a mobile phone to open the Lavii smart food locker.
“I’ll be ordering from here more often, now that I know they have this!”

This was one of the many great responses we’ve heard since restaurant customers have started using the new Lavii smart food locker system. When I overheard this unprompted response in a conversation between friends at a nearby table, I knew that we had achieved one of our primary goals with the product. It was installation day for our first client, Crab Boss Seafood & Crab Shack on H Street in Washington DC, and customers had just started rolling in. Already their feedback had convinced us that we had created a pick-up process so desirable that customers would want to order food from their favorite restaurants more frequently. That’s a win-win for customers and restaurants!

It’s already evident that convenience is king. No arguments have to be made supporting the fact that we all want things fast. When it comes to restaurants, there have certainly been some significant improvements in the area of convenient pick-up over the past few years. Online ordering has allowed us to complete the transaction before arriving at the establishment and, in most cases, even bypass the lines to get our order. Curb-side has made it so that we don’t have to leave the comfort of our cars. However, even with the introduction of these improvements, there are still some issues. For instance, with traditional pick-up, there’s a chance that you’d have to wait in line when arriving, wait to get the attention of staff as they serve other customers, or have to sift through other people’s bags on a counter or shelf to find your order, which is not secure. With curbside, the shelves and counters are obviously eliminated, but the long-line and staff attention issues are just moved outside once the number of orders starts picking up. To sum it up, the improvements that have been made to standard pick-up processes still had efficiency and security issues that needed to be addressed. As annoying as these problems can be, these are problems that we’ve accepted and learned to live with.

Now, with the arrival of COVID-19, we add health safety to the list of issues. As many of us have recently observed in some restaurants, making transactions contactless means leaving the pick-up tables or shelves completely unattended. Let’s add that any sneezing or coughing in the pick-up area potentially contaminates all of the orders. As far as curbside goes, handoffs obviously aren’t contactless.

With efficiency, security, and safety in mind, let’s consider a different process now, one that addresses all of the problems mentioned above. Imagine going online to order your evening’s dinner from your favorite local place. As you are headed to pick it up, you receive both text and email notifications stating that your order is ready and that the linked QR code can be used to access it. You walk into the restaurant and head to the designated pick-up area, bypassing all of the long lines of people and service counters inside. You then scan your QR code at the locker bay and the doors immediately open, allowing you to grab your food and be on your way.

While the process is super simple, it yet addresses all of the problems we have talked about. There is no waiting in any line. There is no need to interact with any staff, making the transaction contactless and efficient. Insulated compartments keep the order secure away from any potential theft and safe from any germs. Because the software ensures customers can only open their assigned locker, people get the correct order without searching through everyone else’s. It should also be considered that the ordering process has not changed in any way. Customers order as they usually would from the online site. No mobile app download is necessary for the restaurant or the lockers.

The restaurant also benefits significantly in this scenario. The contactless nature of the transaction means that staff is kept safe too. No restaurant employee is needed to handle the pick-up area to serve customers means that they can be re-assigned to more pressing operational tasks. Also, faster pick-up means fewer people standing around in the establishment. This lowers the chances of customers spreading the virus or the restaurants hitting COVID-19 building capacity limits. Let’s add in a few more details such as optional custom designs to match the restaurant’s look and feel, integrations for the POS and third-party drivers, seamless automatic software updates, affordable pricing, and it’s easily a no-brainer for the restaurant.

Lavii smart food lockers at Shark Bar @ Seafood House in Waldorf, MD

Since we’ve launched, restaurant customers have raved about their experiences with the lockers. This was our overall goal from the beginning, to address all current pick-up issues while also creating what we like to call “The Simple Experience” for restaurants and their customers. After all, pick-up should be easy, efficient, secure, safe, and maybe even fun.

Feedback collected from customer surveys

Check out for more information about our smart food lockers. Follow us on Instagram at @lavii_inc to follow our innovative and fun journey as we continue to transform the takeout experience.