Will Curbside Pickup become a requisite for restaurant success in 2021 and beyond?
We are living in the COVID-era where safety and convenience have become the common cardinal for both businesses and customers across the world. So when the restaurant folks were looking for the alternative to sell food without losing their ground on the business during the most unprecedented year of the last few decades, Curbside Pickup came to the rescue. Easily adopted, and immediately accepted.
Why Curbside Pickup?
Consumer habits have changed drastically in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. And while some changes might have started out as temporary, many of these changes look like they’re here to stay.
The growing popularity of curbside pickup is one such example. The premise is simple- instead of opting for food delivery or dine-in, customers drive to their favorite restaurants and cafes and pick up their food orders, without having to step out of their cars. In a time where dine-in isn’t an option, this mode of restaurant service is favored by many.
Established names in the food and beverage industry such as Shake Shack and Panera bread have revealed how this mode of business has led to higher growth for them. Naturally, curbside pickup offers multiple advantages that guarantee this trend is not going anywhere even after the pandemic.
What are the Benefits?
Lower Wait Times
Standing in long queues is past, pick up your phone, place your order and wait for the pick up message — it doesn’t get more convenient than this. Does it? Curbside Pickup during COVID times and even beyond that assures high-degree safety and convenience — not just for customers but also your restaurant staff. The added flexibility of online ordering only helps improve the bottom line, leading to higher conversions and high cart value.
Higher Average Cart Value
Continuing from the previous point, there are statistics that prove that customers order more when they use digital menu, an app or a website to place food orders. Since curbside pickup in the new age, the COVID age, majorly involves utilizing the web ordering system, customers can browse for as long as they want, without feeling the anxiety and pressure of the next customer in line.
A Safer Option
In times of social distancing, you need to ensure safety for your employees as well as customers. Curbside pickup limits the contact taking place between your staff and customers. The health and safety of both parties are guaranteed. This decreased level of contact also makes it more manageable to implement constant sanitizing or disinfecting.
Low Operational Cost
With curbside pickup, there are much lower costs involved compared to food delivery, especially if you are using third-party services. By encouraging people to pick up the food from your restaurant’s pick up point, you can ensure 100% profitability for each order. Plus, you don’t even need to hire additional staff or buy vehicles to make the deliveries. The current infrastructure can be used to fulfill all orders.
How to set up Curbside Pickup
Setting up your restaurant for curbside pickup is pretty simple. Here’s what you need to do:
For starters, you need to have a designated space for curbside pickup. This could be a parking lot where cars can drive through or the sidewalk in front of your restaurant. It’s a good idea to get in touch with your local authorities, get all necessary procedures done before you open the curbside wing. Next, make sure there are clear arrows and signs guiding customers on how to pick up their order. For handoff, there are a couple of options-
You can have your employees hand customer orders to them directly, or
You can request customers to open the trunk of their cars where the orders can be placed to eliminate any contact between employees and customers altogether.
Train your Staff
Curbside pickup is not new, but yes, apart from few QSRs, not many restaurants felt the need to open Order N Pick facility. If this is the first time that you’re setting up a curbside pickup point at your restaurant, you might want to spend some time training the staff to ensure smooth operation. Create an SOP for all steps and have your staff go through them each day before they start work. From receiving orders via the ordering website or app, from preparing meals to packaging and handling, every step should have a proper guidelines that employees can follow. The goal is to make it as quick and seamless as possible to deliver the best curbside customer experience.
Modern day curbside facilities should refrain from getting orders via phone. Given the current situation, when resources are scarce, we must build a system that requires less manpower and high automation.
Setting up an online system that your customers can use to place orders at their convenience would not just be beneficial for them, but also help you streamline the ordering process, especially during high-traffic days. Make sure that your customers are made aware of all the ordering channels they can use to place orders. In addition to this, offering various online modes of payment will make help you enhance customer experience.
It is essential that your customers know that your restaurant offers curbside pickup. Add this feature to your profile on Google my Business. You need to promote it at full throttle on your social media as well. You could also include an FAQ or How-to guide on your social media handles to familiarize customers with the process. Spelling out the whole sequence of events will make them more comfortable.
Introducing Curbside Pickup with RestoLabs
Restolabs online ordering system offers one-click ordering functionality for curbside pick, at no added extra cost. Customers have to place their orders online and select the restaurant location they’d like to pick up their order from. Depending on this, they will be informed about the estimated pickup time. Customers can pay online in advance for their orders, which is usually the preferred mode of payment nowadays. They also have the option of real-time updates as their order is prepared.
While it may have started off as a solution to the ongoing global health crisis, curbside pickup is one restaurant trend that is here to stay. As the world grows more and more tech-savvy, it’s important you meet changing consumer expectations. The sooner your restaurant can incorporate it into business, the more it will thrive.
Get in touch with our support team if you want to get started. Make the switch to curbside pickup today!