Convenience store chain Lawson Inc. will start testing unmanned outlets in July as a possible solution for stores that cannot operate around the clock due to labor shortages.

Two technologically advanced outlets, including a franchised store, will be chosen for the test period, which is scheduled to last for several months from midnight to 5 a.m. each day, the company said March 29.

Franchise owners in the convenience store industry have had difficulty filling staff shortages and are calling for a review of the 24/7 operations.

In Lawson’s test, the entrances to the two outlets will be locked before dawn.

Users must first register with Lawson’s smartphone app, which will provide a QR code that will open the doors when placed over devices at the entrances.

Payments can be made through smartphones or self-checkout machines, which automatically provide the change.

Cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, which require proof of age, will not be sold during the test period. Fast foods cooked at the stores and services for public utility payments and tickets will also be unavailable.

A staff member will initially be stationed in the back of the store for the experiment before the entire nighttime operation goes unmanned.