As customers have become more careful of their safety, businesses like restaurants are forced to make changes to cater to such needs. Many food places switched to full deliveries and cut off their dine-in services. But if home deliveries aren’t working that great for your restaurant’s profits, you can consider adding a curbside pickup for the orders.
This setup works like a drive-thru service wherein customers can order their food from a safe distance from the restaurant staff. A well-planned curbside pickup involves pure contactless transactions and convenient ordering and pickup. This is an excellent way for you to keep safe not only your customers but also all your staff. Plan and set up your restaurant’s curbside pickup station by following these simple steps.
1. Create an online ordering option
Restaurants without an online ordering system can surely miss out on plenty of orders. Customers these days perform almost everything online, including ordering food. Your restaurant’s online ordering system should enable customers to seamlessly browse your menu, create an order, and pay for it. You can choose to use an app or on your own restaurant website.
If you plan to use a third-party platform, look for other useful features such as timely notifications and integration with your current POS. To better inform your customers, provide content assets like a short video or infographic containing instructions about placing an order. Lastly, your online ordering system should also send complete details regarding the pickup location and time.
2. Pay attention to the packaging
The next crucial aspect of a curbside pickup is the takeout packaging. In door-to-door deliveries, restaurants typically rely on the warming or thermal bags of the couriers. But that’s not the case if you’re setting up a curbside takeout.
To ensure the safety and freshness of the orders, only use the appropriate container for every food item. Pay attention to the food that needs to stay cold or hot, and choose the proper packaging. It may be a biodegradable material, styrofoam, cardboard, or plastic.
For further peace of mind of the customers, use tamper-evident labels on your order’s packaging. It’s also a good marketing tactic to include your restaurant’s logo or name on the packaging for visibility. As most customers may want to eat in their cars, a curbside takeout should also have complete condiments, napkins, and utensils.
3. Prioritize food safety
Food safety is a hot topic for restaurants. It’s your top responsibility to follow the proper safety guidelines and sanitization procedures. Handing out meals that are unsafe to eat can bring down your entire restaurant in a blink, so make sure your employees understand the protocols well.
Since direct human contact is a great concern today, using foodservice equipment like curbside pickup trolleys or carts is wise. Use the food carts to store and organize the orders until the customer arrives to pick them up, limiting close contact between your staff and customers. Your restaurant staff should also wear gloves and hairnets when preparing the food for pickup. Those food carts would be useless if the orders were initially prepared with carelessness.
Don’t forget to inform your customers about the curbside pickup procedures, so they won’t get confused on where or how to get their takeouts. You can share your sanitization and food safety procedures on your website or include them in the order confirmation email.
4. Promote your curbside pickup
Lastly, you’ll also need to invest some money and effort in promoting your curbside experience. You should first update your restaurant’s Google profile and add a pickup badge for your customers to see. You can also let customers know about your curbside pickup service by sharing it on your restaurant’s social media pages. Include details about the ordering and pickup process, as well as the location and time. You can use video content or features like Instagram Highlights and Stories to promote your curbside pickup.
Or, you can send out email notifications to customers with some special deals when they choose curbside pickup. Other ways to put hype on your curbside pickup include incentivizing your dine-in customers, upgrading your packaging, and creating a designated pickup area for the locals to see.
Offering a proper curbside pickup for your restaurant will enable you to provide food to customers in a no-touch way. Your customers won’t have to wait in a long queue or wait for the delivery man to arrive. Plus, if done creatively and smartly, a curbside pickup option is also an attractive asset to attract more people to your restaurant. Use this guide to start your own curbside pickup.