Little Caesars Will Roll Out New Self-Serve Stations Nationwide in 2018
The automated Pizza Portal allows customers to bypass human interaction entirely.
Little Caesars describes its new self-serve pick-up stations as a game-changing technological breakthrough, but will it mean fewer jobs in the long term?
Little Caesars has taken the pizza industry one step closer to full automation with its Pizza Portal, a machine that will let customers pick up a pie and never interact with another human being.
The company announced it will roll out RESERVE-N-READY self-service pick-up stations nationally in 2018 after testing them in select markets in Arizona this year.
Little Caesars describes the Pizza Portal as “the first heated, self-service mobile-order pick-up station in the quickservice restaurant industry.” To place an order, customers download an app and pre-pay for their food on their digital devices and receive a three-digit pin number or QR code. When the customer arrives at the store, they can go directly to the Pizza Portal, skipping the line entirely, and input the number or scan the QR code on the machine. “Then, the door on the customer’s secured compartment opens, and they take their hot, fresh order. It’s that easy,” Little Caesars explained in a press release.
While Little Caesars is best-known for its HOT-N-READY pies with limited toppings, Pizza Portal pizzas can be custom-ordered with any choice of toppings.
“The genuine purpose behind integrating advanced technology into our stores is all about improving the customer experience and building on our convenience and quality,” David Scrivano, President and CEO of Little Caesars, said in a company press release. “We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to mesh mobile with our HOT-N-READY model to improve on the ‘World’s Easiest Way to Pizza.’ We changed the pizza game when we introduced HOT-N-READY. We think RESERVE-N-READY, featuring our breakthrough Pizza Portal, has the potential to do it again.”
It also has the potential to save labor costs, although Scrivano told USA Today that the company will have to hire more people in-store to teach customers how to use the technology. How this will affect jobs in the long term—once customers know how to use the machines and don’t need any help—is a different question entirely.
With an estimated $3.6 billion in U.S. systemwide sales at about 4,294 stores, Little Caesars ranked No. 19 among chains in Nation’s Restaurant News’ most recent Top 100 Census.