HT caught up with Karalyn White, Executive Director Corporate Affairs for Paramount Fine Foods, operator of Box'd, to get the scoop on the automated restaurant that has taken Toronto by storm since its June 2020 opening.
Here’s the concept: Customers order from the menu from their phones, computers or an in-store kiosk. The order goes to the kitchen, and in about 10 minutes, the customer’s name shows up on digital signage above a wall of glass cubbies. Guests tap a button to open their cubby to their freshly prepared, sealed meal, ready to grab and go. The restaurant’s suite of technology solutions ensure minimal waiting, minimal contact, fresh food and convenience in ordering.
HT: What were the tech struggles Paramount Fine Foods was facing?
Karalyn White, Executive Director Corporate Affairs: Paramount Fine Foods, which operates Box’d, Paramount Middle Eastern Kitchen and Krispo (a Nashville-style fried chickien concept) was looking for a solution to improve operational efficiency at its restaurants. Due to the popularity of the various concepts, customers and delivery partners were having to wait in long lines to order or pickup food.
For Box’d, we wanted to create a hands-free, self-serve delivery option, using as few suppliers as possible. We knew we needed a partner that offered an all-in-one solution, because we didn’t want to cobble the solution together. That level of integration across different providers can be difficult and doesn’t always work seamlessly.
Due to its longstanding track record of solving operational challenges, knowledge of PCI compliance and seamlessly integrated solution, Givex was able to solve all of our challenges and create a model that is completely unlike anything else in the restaurant space. Plus, its products, whether it's the look and feel of the kiosks or the customization of the website, offered a great user experience for customers as well.
HT: What products are you using?
HT: What are/were the results of using these solutions?
White: Givex enabled us to create a seamless ordering system that completely removes face-to-face interaction with our team members, which has been very well-received amid the global pandemic. Customers can place an order on their phones, see from outside if their meal is ready and come inside for 30 seconds to pick up their meals.
HT: What tech solutions, if any, were you planning to add in 2020 before COVID-19?
White: Before COVID-19, we were trying to service more people at once to reduce lines and increase throughput at our restaurants. We ended up making a concept that is completely free of face-to-face contact. When the pandemic comes to an end, people are still going to want to avoid direct contact and adhere to social and physical distancing guidelines, so we are well-positioned for a post-pandemic world.
HT: What do you see as next on the horizon?
White: As we’ve seen in 2020, people have adapted to the pandemic and changed their behaviors. If something is easier to do and takes less time, I don’t think that is going to change. Ordering online and picking up from a cubby is the wave of the future. Even after people return to offices, they are still going to want to be able to pick up their lunch quickly and easily. We plan on applying the roadmap of Box’d to our other restaurants.