Digital Ordering

What is Curbside Pickup and How to Make it a Seamless Experience

Using curbside pickup and making it a seamless experience is effective for creating additional revenue without expanding capacity or raising prices.
Kamryn Elliott

Simply put, curbside pickup is a safe way to pick up orders from participating restaurants. It has become an increasingly common choice for restaurant customers who want to enjoy their favorite dishes from the comfort of their own homes. Rather than dining in, customers can order ahead, pull up to the restaurant, and have their to-go order brought out to the storefront curb, or to their vehicle.

What used to be a quick, additional off-premise service is now a mainstay for restaurants. For brands that haven’t added curbside pickup, it’s an easy way to retain guests by making them more comfortable to order takeout in today’s climate. It’s also an effective tactic to rake in additional revenue without expanding capacity, raising prices, or investing in additional equipment.

To make curbside pickup a seamless experience and maximize efficiency, there are a few simple processes to follow before restaurants start offering the off-premise service to their community.

Choose a Curbside Pickup Area. The curbside experience is an extension of your restaurant. You should be able to provide the same service you would under normal circumstances, but now you’ll be doing it from an off-premise location, and your customers won’t be leaving their cars. If you have your own parking lot, this is the best space to set up your curbside service. You can use traffic cones or signs to direct customers to the designated spaces. If your restaurant is located in a metropolitan area, you can contact city authorities to request permission to set up temporary 10-minute parking in front of your business.

Create a Curbside Staging Area. Now that you have a pickup area for customers, it’s a great idea also to create a curbside area for employees. Add a table or counter or find space to stock to-go utensils, napkins, and condiments that customers might need. This space can also house completed orders that customers are on their way to pick up.

Implement a Seamless Curbside Ordering Process. With the curbside pickup areas in place, it’s important to have a convenient process for guests to place orders, pay, and have a pickup time. Using intelligent guest engagement software that provides a fully branded, customizable, and effective online ordering system will help you create that seamless curbside experience. You can even create a specific menu for pickup and delivery only, giving you more control over what your customers are ordering. 

Great Packaging Leaves a Great Impression. Investing in quality packaging benefits both your business and the guest experience. You can keep warm foods warm, cold foods cold, and have containers for specific items instead of a mosh pit of combined food. The guest will appreciate the preparation, organization and leave with a lasting impression. Branding the packaging is also a great idea to remind guests about your restaurant and is excellent visual marketing.

Don’t Forget to Train Your Staff. This is an essential part of the curbside pickup implementation process. Ensuring your staff knows how the curbside pickup experience works and is trained to provide the best quality service is crucial to how successful this off-premise service will be. Remember, even though your staff doesn’t interact with guests, they can still provide the best service through high-quality food, stellar customer service, and fast, effortless pickup.

Curbside Pickup in Action

Highway Restaurant is committed to providing a world-class restaurant and lounge in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. The restaurant opened in 2019, offering guests two unique experiences: a family-friendly casual restaurant and a separate lounge with an exciting atmosphere.

Our platform provided an all-in-one solution that allowed them to introduce online ordering, re-imagine their digital communication with guests, and integrate seamlessly with their existing tech stack. Sales have increased 152% year-over-year with Incentivio, and 69% of their total digital revenue sales are curbside pickup orders!