Re-thinking of your restaurant’s operations and layout should be tailored to Covid-19’s challenges. Restaurant operators who are experiencing losses as a result of declining dining room sales now rely heavily on drive-thru services. But there’s another concept that is considered as a breakthrough restaurant feature born out of the needs of the pandemic age – the takeout and curb-side pick-up service that has shifted into the fast lane.
What is fascinating about this takeout and curb-side pick-up service is that it’s an old service that can be greatly coupled with our new technology which has brought massive sales opportunities for restaurants. In the improved service, customers order ahead via an app or through the restaurant’s website. They can set their estimated time of pick-up and then pull into one of the assigned slots where they can pick up their meals. Those who are unable to pay online or via app would be given the option to pay using their phone or a tablet while being assisted by a restaurant server. It is considered very appealing to both restaurant operators and consumers thanks to technological enablers that have studded the service. This alternative has become a major sales driver as customers opted for this service during the lockdown period. Even after restrictions have been lifted and dine in service has been allowed, most consumers still prefer the takeout and curb-side pick-up service based on some analyses conducted by ERC.
More like a valet service, with takeout and curb-side pick-up service, there’s an exterior station shielded by an overhang and covered by a sliding window where customers can pull up much like a drive-thru. The meals are being passed through the window or they can put the order in the customers’ trunk or backseat. For most restaurants, this set-up does not require much to build.
As restaurants start to adapt the contactless online ordering, another feature that the new system for takeout and curb-side pick-up is that it allows customers to enter the model and color of their car so not much time is consumed on matching order to customers. This is also the same channel being used by service delivery drivers on how orders are being passed on to them.
Undeniably, restaurants who have tried the modern takeout and curb-side pick-up service have seen a great increase in their sales. Such is the future of off-premise business and what is needed now is to further strengthen its capabilities through the help of technology. Among the areas that should be enhanced are the upgrading of the payment process and how user-friendly the restaurants’ online ordering capabilities are. More like designing a restaurant, better accommodating the curbside business means having locations where there are interior waiting rooms with a staging area where customers can pick-up their meals.
As maximizing takeout / delivery drive-through is a top priority at this age of Coronavirus, having an enhanced and more sophisticated curbside ordering flow is a surefire way to attract customers. It’s a great way to contend with the traditional drive-thru service that quick restaurants have.