It used to be that if my family wanted to get good Cuban food, we would have to load everyone up in the minivan to drive to our local restaurant. It’s easy when you’re a couple, but an hour and a half ordeal when you have kids. Kids who fuss at each other, kids who won’t stop playing with the silverware at the table, kids who complain that their chicken nuggets (ordered at a Cuban restaurant, mind you) are “too spicy.”

While we can’t make the kids get along, we have turned to technology to make the dining experience easier. Thanks to a handy app, we discovered that our favorite Cuban place offers free delivery. No more having to get everyone to a restaurant when we can be noshing on empanadas in the comfort of our own house. Similarly, we can place an order at our big box store and pick it up at our leisure without having to set foot in a single aisle. Call it laziness, call it convenience, but more consumers are figuring out how to take age-old processes like “dining” and “shopping” and streamlining them.

Many of the meat businesses with markets do this already, to some extent. I recently discovered a local meat market that lets you buy an $85 package that fills your home freezer with enough roasts, ribs and chicken breasts to last for weeks. The package comes in several options, but the consumer walks away with a convenient bundle of meat without having to pick any of it out. I know of others that have installed meat vending machines for after-hours sales. While it may seem like a gimmick, imagine being able to sell bacon or brats whenever the customer feels like visiting, regardless of your operating hours.

What other convenience measures have you implemented, or could you implement if the price was right? Would you deliver groceries or a deer order to a local customer for a surcharge? Would you take a shopping order by phone and have it waiting behind the counter when your customer arrives? Would you let a customer formulate a bratwurst of their choice, assuming they had to order a minimum batch size to make it worth your while?   

These new consumer convenience features are being done everywhere, from Walmart to McDonald’s. Other major chains will be implementing similar programs. It may take a while before the expectation of convenience trickles down to the local meat market, but it will eventually get there. If you start working at it now, you’ll have more time to figure out how to enhance customer convenience in a way that’s convenient for you, too.