Monday, July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021

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Vancouver company aims for food pickup that’s Perfect

Perfect Company develops touchless way to get hot eats to customers

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
3 Photos
Customers use their smartphones to generate a QR code, which the cabinet scans, to open the door and retrieve their orders.
Customers use their smartphones to generate a QR code, which the cabinet scans, to open the door and retrieve their orders. Photo Gallery

Vancouver-based Perfect Company is launching a new product for restaurants that is basically the “Amazon locker” for hot foods. The local technology company’s executives believe the possibilities for expansion are global.

The new device is more relevant than ever due to the pandemic: It allows customers or delivery drivers to pick up meals from a heated locker in a restaurant without interacting with anyone. Perfect Company designed the software in Vancouver.

The lockers, called PUCs, are already being used at Boston College. Kitchen staff load meals into the back of the lockers, and students pick up the food from the front door by scanning a QR code.

“The kitchen is on one side; the students pick up the food on the other side,” said Jayson Tipp, chief growth officer.

It’s a safer option during the pandemic, and it’s more cost-efficient from a labor standpoint, too.

Perfect Company secured $6 million from investors for the technology that’s been about two years in the making. Within months, Michael Wallace, co-founder and CEO of Perfect Company, hopes to have thousands of units around the country and eventually reach a global market. Perfect Company is already working with two huge food chains to roll out the technology on a massive scale, but Wallace said he can’t release the names of the companies yet.

“We’ve already exchanged conversations with large brands already leaning into pickup,” said Tipp.

Perfect Company has partnered with food service equipment manufacturer Middlby, which builds the customizable, modular, secure cabinets in Michigan.

Wallace on Friday demonstrated the cabinet technology in Perfect Company’s lab space, located in a nondescript building along downtown Vancouver’s Main Street.

A few unmarked black metal cabinet prototypes sit in the lab space, which Wallace approached with a smartphone in his hand. He flashed the smartphone’s screen, showing a QR code, under the scanner on the cabinet. A door opened with a beep and a click.

In addition to opening the door, Perfect Company’s software generates emails or texts that are sent to customers’ smartphones, alerting them to the orders, the pickup times and more.

It’s a similar technology to Little Caesar’s Pizza’s Reserve-n-Ready technology, which launched in 2017 and has been finding growing success.

Wallace said that the demand for the PUC technology is advanced by the pandemic, which led diners to seek contactless orders and deliveries.

“Out of the lockdown and the pandemic, there’s a greater investment in tech from restaurants,” said Wallace. “I think it’s accelerated a lot of the trends we’re seeing.”

The leading investor in the new technology is Oxbridge Capital Partners. Wallace said that Perfect Company has found global investors because the technology will go to market on a global scale.

In 2011, Perfect Company invented Paper Jamz toy guitars with touch-screen technology. It also invented a digital scale and software that measures ingredients for mixed drinks or baked goods.