Drone Delivery: The Future of Takeout?
El Pollo Loco is a chain of Mexican-style restaurants with nearly 500 locations nationwide. Like many others, they experienced a sharp rise in delivery orders during COVID-19. Now El Pollo Loco is launching a drone delivery service to take takeout to new heights.
On June 24th they launched the pilot program. “Air Loco,” as it’s called, makes what’s already convenient even easier. It’s cheaper to use drones than people, and better for the environment since it produces less emissions. That’s important to a lot of customers nowadays. And since delivery isn’t going anywhere soon, customers can expect evolutions like this to make the process even easier.
How Drone Delivery Works
Air Loco isn’t the first to test drone delivery, although theirs may be one of the most convenient. While other stores have designated pickup areas where guests can get their air-dropped food, El Pollo Loco sets containers down right in customers’ yards or at the front door. It’s just as convenient as using drivers, but cheaper. Though restaurants are typically the ones paying commission fees out to third parties, consumers are often left picking up parts of the bill via service fees.
During the height of COVID-19, El Pollo Loco experienced a 250% increase in delivery orders. Air Loco captures every aspect of takeout that made sales skyrocket then, plus added convenience. This is made possible by their collaboration with Flytrex, a Tel Aviv-based startup whose drones travel 32MPH and can carry more than 6.5 pounds of food. Then an 80-foot wire lowers and releases the tamper-proof bags at their target destinations.
Although they’re still piloting it for the next couple of months, select El Pollo Loco’s Loco Rewards members located in Southern California will have the option to try drone delivery. Ten El Pollo Loco locations will have access to Air Loco while it’s in its pilot phase. If it tests positively, they plan to expand to more of their hundreds of venues.
What’s Next for Takeout
When can consumers expect to see restaurants around the country utilizing this type of technology? It may not be as far off as you think. Although it certainly needs more testing and development before becoming wider-spread, there are already brands vying to get in on this service. Everyone from Amazon to Uber Eats is experimenting with drone delivery, so El Pollo Loco isn’t the first to visualize where takeout should go next. Simplicity and convenience virtually guarantees the evolution of takeout services as we know it. The only question remaining is what will capture customers’ attention and, eventually, the restaurant industry as a whole.
Smart technology is undoubtedly important for sellers and customers alike. Restaurants all over now rely on Point of Sale systems to make customer relationship management simple. Save guest profiles so they can swiftly reorder their favorite meals and securely pay, while also collecting critical data that you need to make smarter business decisions.