Alumnus wins pitch competition with food smart locker company

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As consumers quest for convenience to enjoy a good meal at home and many restaurants struggle to improve their online-driven delivery and take-out services, a new tech venture, co-founded by an FIU Business alumnus, aims to streamline the process.

Boxie, smart lockers designed for sorting and managing the still growing number of online food delivery or pick-up orders, was launched two years ago.

The way it’s set up, Boxie intercepts orders from delivery apps and online ordering sites. Boxie then auto-assigns orders available lockers and the screen displays the customer's name, logo of the ordering app, and a QR code which serves to track the order in real-time.

Once food is ready and placed in a locker, Boxie automatically sends a text message to the customer indicating it’s ready to be picked up, containing a link to open the box. Delivery drivers can scan the QR to retrieve the order.

“Delivery drivers and customers don’t need to speak to restaurant staff, they go straight to Boxie and pick up their order,” said Lemay Sanchez (BBA ’08) CEO of Boxie. “The units have the name of the person, making it more personalized and reducing mistakes or confusion.”

Sanchez and Boxie co-founders Daniel Galano and Arian Acosta won the FIU track of the 2022 Miami Herald Startup Pitch Competition Florida. 

The lockers cost $595 each, and a $12 monthly fee per unit guarantees its integration with any point-of-sale software and third-party delivery service.

Today in the U.S., 60% of consumers now order takeout or delivery at least once a week and online orders for the nation’s restaurants were growing 20% year over year even before the pandemic.

“When this trend started three years ago it was a much smaller number, restaurants could handle it,” said Sanchez. “The average restaurant was processing around 10 online orders per day, now we’re seeing over 100 per day. We believe that in the next three years online-driven orders will account for the majority of quick-service restaurant sales.”

In many restaurants the need for speed and lack of organization has led to chaos. Employees work to assemble take-out orders that are spread out everywhere as they take orders from customers at the counter.

“Customers want the food on-demand. They want to get in and out fast and frictionless. It is the same for food delivery drivers, and they appreciate anything that speeds up the process,” said Sanchez. “Plus, the food is safe and stored away from anyone touching it. It’s their own Boxie, even if it’s just for 5 minutes.”

Today several restaurants and ghost kitchens in the U.S. and Canada are already using Boxie lockers. Another 235 restaurants projected to adopt Boxie in the next 4 months, based on pre-orders. Sanchez noted that Boxie is also in advanced piloting and live testing with two well-known restaurant chains.