Curbside pickup has been on a roll lately. As the contactless delivery trend continues to be a hit amongst consumers, many restaurants and fast-food chains have begun to upgrade their take out and delivery systems to be more accessible for guests.
Curbside pickup rose in popularity during the pandemic and many restauranteurs have adopted it as a permanent addition to their establishments. Contactless delivery is enticing because it offers consumers an easy and safe way to enjoy meals from their favorite restaurants and takes the off-premise dining trend to a whole new level.
Looking to make changes to your restaurant's take out and delivery system? Offering curbside pickup would be a stand-out addition to your business plan. If your establishment already has a curbside pickup program, you might be looking for ways to elevate your customer's experience and streamline the process for your employees. Either way, optimizing curbside pickup at your restaurant is ideal for generating another stream of revenue and keeping up with the latest consumer trends.
Why Curbside Pickup Works
Curbside pickup is a service that allows customers to place an online order, and pick it up in a designated parking spot at the establishment of their choice. Instead of waiting for customers to come inside and grab their order, employees take customer's orders directly to their cars and place it in their trunk or backseat.
Curbside pickup is virtually contactless, and drivers don't even need to step out of their vehicle to complete the process. In a world where contactless forms of interaction are the new normal, curbside pickup is a great way to encourage customers to dine at your establishment. Besides being beneficial to consumers, curbside pickup can also be advantageous for your business.
Reduces Reliance On Delivery Apps
If using third-party delivery platforms at your restaurant is cutting into a chunk of your monthly budget, curbside pickup is a money-saving solution for your business. While third-party delivery apps offer convenience and access to customers looking to order from your restaurant, the additional fees these delivery platforms charge restaurants can add up over time. By offering curbside pickup services at your restaurant, you'll provide customers with an extra option for off-premise dining and eliminate reliance on third-party delivery platforms to reach customers.
Opens An Additional Stream Of Revenue
Adding curbside pickup as an option for take out and delivery services to your restaurant operations is a great way to bring extra revenue. Providing a more convenient alternative to take out services at your restaurant will allow your customers to have more choices when they place an order. Customers who have only ordered curbside pickup from other establishments will be encouraged to order from your restaurant as well.
Off-premise dining continues to be a major trend amongst consumers and a major source of income for restaurants. Using curbside pickup to create another avenue of revenue for off-premise dining will create an influx of orders and help replace the revenue that has been lost from on-premise dining.
Ways To Optimize Curbside Pickup
If you've already established curbside pickup as a takeout and delivery alternative in your restaurant, you might think that it is a pretty straightforward process to operate. However, there are several ways to optimize curbside pickup at your establishment to ensure that everything runs smarter and smoother.
Extra Spaces In Parking Lot
Creating additional spaces in the parking lot of your restaurant is beneficial for curbside pickup orders. Curbside pickup stations generally only have one or two spots per dining establishment. If the amount of revenue being generated by curbside pickup is beneficial to your business, consider expanding the number of spots available at your restaurant.
More likely than not, if your restaurant had a dining room prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people looking to dine on-premise has diminished. This means that there are extra spaces available in your establishment's parking lot that is not being used as much as they once were. Converting 3-4 other parking spots into curbside pickup parking allows your business to fulfill multiple delivery orders at once and increase revenue.
Pass-Thru Pickup Station
More and more restaurants are seeing the benefits of off-premise dining for their business. Operators have even switched their restaurants' original layout to a design that creates more space for take out and delivery stations. A similar switch in structure can be done for curbside pickup stations. Some restaurants that have seen massive benefits from curbside pickup orders have decided to invest in their carry-out alternative by creating pass-thru pickup stations.
Pass-thru pickup stations are becoming the drive-thru lanes of curbside pickup stations. They work as a station placed on the exterior of your establishment, designed with sliding windows or doors where customers can easily drive up and grab their order. Employees can pass off meals through the sliding window, or step outside and place their order in a customer's trunk or backseat. This way, curbside pickup can remain efficient and contactless without having to use parking spots.
Better Take Out Packaging
When optimizing orders for curbside pickup, rethinking the way you package meals is important. Keeping the off-premise dining experience as enjoyable as possible for customers is essential in bringing them back to your restaurant time and time again.
The last thing you want to hear from your customers is a complaint that their orders spilled or caused messes during transportation. Take out and delivery orders require packaging that keeps foods fresh and mess-free during delivery. By investing in take out supplies, you'll be able to guarantee a pleasant experience for off-premise customers.
To successfully package meals for curbside pickup, choose take out containers that fit the size of meals you are serving. If you opt for containers and cups that are way too large, you risk having foods move around or spill during transportation. Be sure to pack sauces and condiments separately from containers to avoid messes. Plus, keeping sauces separate from certain dishes will stop them from getting soggy.
Provide drink carriers for customers who order multiple beverages. To ensure drinks arrive intact, use carriers that have secure built-in slots. Package large orders inside paper bags and use stickers to keep them sealed. If a bag falls over inside of a car during delivery, the containers inside won't fall out of a sealed delivery bag.
Provide Pickup Instructions
The easiest way to ensure that curbside pickup runs smoothly at your restaurant is to provide both patrons and employees with clear and easy-to-follow instructions. By creating a curbside procedure for your employees to follow, they'll be able to understand the flow of orders coming in from customers and avoid any mix-ups.
Start by creating an online ordering platform where customers can submit their orders, as well as:
- The model and make of their car
- Contact information
- Payment information
- What time their order will be ready for pickup
- Preference between backseat or trunk delivery
Online ordering platforms provide an easy way to keep track of customers' order information and remove personal interactions between customers and employees to make the experience contactless. After ordering, you can send customers a list of instructions they can follow to make their pickup experience easier, such as where curbside pickup spots are located.
Use the online ordering system to streamline information for your employees. Employees can prepare online orders as they come in and organize them with the correct information needed to fulfill each order. When orders are ready, you can send a confirmation email or text to customers and notify them. At your restaurant, be sure to place signs that indicate where the curbside pickups are so that customers can easily access them.