Apex Order Pickup Solutions has launched its OrderHQ Exterior lockers that are designed to provide customer or pickup through the exterior wall of a restaurant, while employees load orders from inside.


The new product, officially called OrderHQ Exterior Smart Food Lockers, debuted at the FSTec industry conference in Texas. Apex claims it’s a response to restaurants continuing to see high demand for pickup orders, while struggling with crowded lobbies and labor shortages.

“One of the trends we’re seeing now is a shift in operational investment from the back of house into that connection point where back of house meets front of house,” said Apex CEO Mike Wills. “Automations such as the OrderHQ Exterior Smart Food Locker help operators ensure a highly accurate, highly secure order handoff to off-premises customers and delivery drivers, so their team members can focus on providing the best experience for dine-in customers.”

This streamlined process and technology optimizes staff capacity. Kinetic12’s “Emergence Q2 2022 Insight Report,” states 60 percent of operators say staff shortages and labor are among their top three business challenges.

With an exterior pickup option, the chaos and congestion in the front of the house is mitigated, while consumers and DSP drivers enjoy fast service without having to enter the building. Offering flexible service options also creates a competitive advantage for operators and drives loyalty for today’s mobile-focused customers.

In May of this year, DoorDash stated that 86 percent of consumers are ordering takeout as much or more than they did last year. In that same report, 79 percent of diners said they had ordered pickup in the past month.

The new locker’s scalable, enterprise-grade ApexIQ software provides real-time operational data that helps operators create “delightful” customer experiences.

The OrderHQ Exterior Smart Food Locker will be manufactured by Merco, a Welbilt brand, and is expected to be available in 2023.