DETROIT -- The International Franchise Association (IFA) has recognized Little Caesars for developing equipment that gives customers the option of a completely frictionless experience. The organization honored Little Caesars with the Marketing and Technology Innovation Award for its Pizza Portal pickup technology.
First tested in units in Tucson, Ariz., in 2017, the Detroit-based chain rolled out the Pizza Portal to all U.S. locations in September. The company says the device is the first heated, self-service mobile order pickup station in the restaurant industry.
The Pizza Portal is used in conjunction with the Little Caesars app. Users place their order and pay via the app. After receiving a notification that their pizza is ready, customers can make a beeline to the Pizza Portal. After entering a three-digit pin or scanning a QR code, the door to their pizza compartment opens, ensuring they have the correct order without once interfacing with a Little Caesars employee.
"We're very pleased by the incredible feedback we've received from customers about the Pizza Portal pickup after our recent national rollout,” said David Scrivano, president and CEO of the restaurant brand.
Little Caesars teamed up with Apex Supply Chain Technologies, Mason, Ohio, to craft the Pizza Portal.
The IFA selected Little Caesars from hundreds of applications. "It's exciting to see franchise businesses adopt new ideas and technology to better serve their customers," said Robert Cresanti, IFA president and CEO. "I commend Little Caesars for their innovative and high-tech approach."
In addition to the Pizza Portal, the brand has been adding other features to its mobile experience. For instance, customers can schedule an order via the apps up to six days in advance and use touch ID and fingerprint and face ID to log in.
CHICAGO -- Convenience-store food went from frumpy to fabulous in about a decade—it has even permeated high fashion. For her recent lingerie launch, supermodel Emily Ratajkowski posed in a bodega while eating a churro. Some chains are no longer merely reacting to trends but anticipating them.
Participants in CSP’sOutlook Survey 2018 say the rise of foodservice is one of the trends that will most affect the c-store channel in the long term, behind only the growth of e-commerce, alternative fuels and tobacco regulations. Although young consumers might be eating up the food fads popping up in stores, foodservice category managers don’t always find them quite as appetizing.
Here are the trends c-store foodservice leaders hope will die in 2019 ...
“When did ‘Ignorance is bliss’ go by the wayside? I contend that people don’t need to know the origin of everything we put in our mouths! My mother purposely withheld information about what went into her sloppy Joes, because she knew her uber-picky daughter would never give ingredients like Worcestershire sauce and onions a fair chance. If our parents didn’t tell us about ingredients that made stuff delicious, why should companies have to?”
Douglass Distributing Retail
“Stop using packaging that seems to promote leakage, condensation, sogginess, sticking and/or disassembly of the product. A sturdy bucket for an eight-piece chicken is far better than the world-famous thin, cheap barn box. You must love your customers and your penny profit, but without the first, the latter won’t matter!
"As we trend away from Earth-unfriendly packaging, look at it as an opportunity to be creative toward better functionality. It’s not just changing from foam to paper, it’s a huge opportunity.”
Vice president of food services
Food services manager
High’s of Baltimore LLC
“As a chef, my top priority is always quality and flavor profile. The trend, or should I say perception, that you can get a quality meal in two minutes or less at a value price point of 99 cents—this one should definitely die. Operationally, there’s been an upward trend in freight costs. Could we change that to a downward trend?”
Director of foodservice
“There is a big trend toward health and wellness, a proliferation of ‘clean’ items. In my opinion, retailers have pushed these items into sets to the detriment of days of supply. Every new ‘thrivestyle’ item takes the place of a faster-moving, more profitable, less healthy item. It is important to keep shelves full of options, but not to interrupt the needed shelf space of top sellers that are filled with flavor and ‘craveability.’ ”
Director of foodservice
West Des Moines, Iowa