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Five ways to boost your restaurant’s profit margins with curbside pickup

Published April 14, 2022

During shutdowns, restaurants had to become more resilient, flexible and creative. Many found themselves caught in a constant tug-of-war between managing business and keeping staff and customers healthy.

Restaurateurs around the globe had to pivot quickly to open their businesses, even if their dining rooms were closed. Many new operational models were implemented at all kinds of restaurants, from creating makeshift drive-thrus and implementing more outdoor seating to leveraging third-party delivery apps. One of the most successful and widespread methods of offering safer restaurant experiences was curbside pickup. It allowed customers to get their favorite food without having to dine in or enter the restaurant.  And it helped restaurants build a more robust system for contactless pickup.

There are many ways for restaurants to implement curbside: simple call-in orders, online orders through the restaurant’s website, mobile apps, orders through third-party delivery apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash and more. Some restaurants even implemented curbside ordering and pickup, too, leveraging mobile and contactless payment methods to enable guests to pay for orders from their cars.

Offering curbside pickup has become a new standard for restaurants across the industry, and this trend shows no sign of abating.

Here are five ways curbside pickup can increase your restaurant’s margin.

It allows you to increase your tickets per day without reducing capacity

Curbside pickup doesn’t impact your dine-in capacity. This means you can earn more through off-premise orders without disrupting your core business of on-site dining.

You can leverage your existing staff to facilitate curbside pickup, too. Much like carryout orders, one major advantage of the store pickup model is that it doesn’t necessarily require additional workers to execute. While a surge of off-premise orders will make your kitchen staff busier, front-of-house employees can manage the order handoff. If business is slower, a member of the kitchen staff or a shift manager can take charge of fulfilling online orders as customers arrive.

Curbside pickup is easy to implement into your overall infrastructure, thanks to online ordering

Unlike several other restaurant processes, integrating curbside pickup into your operations is simple.

Figure out how you want to receive off-premise orders and payment and how you want to give customers their orders. Here are a few suggestions on how to set up a curbside pickup.

  • Have a designated area in the restaurant for customers to walk inside and pickup their orders such as a table or shelves  in a designated area inside where they look for their name on the ticket and grab the order without having interaction with anyone.
  • Set up a system where customers don’t have to leave their cars by bringing their order out to them:
    - Customers can text or call number to let the restaurant know they’ve arrived and parked, so a staff member can bring out their order.
    - Some restaurants set up a station outside the restaurant (weather permitting) where staff wait outside to greet curbside customers at their cars instead of customers having to call or text a number.
  • Give customers the options to order via online ordering platforms (restaurant’s website and/or a third-party site like Uber Eats or similar) or calling the restaurant to place an order for pickup:
  • After customers place an order, send them a text acknowledging you’ve received their order.
  • Designated parking spots for curbside pickup customers regardless of which curbside pickup system you implement.

Related: Second-party delivery: What it is and why you should embrace it

Curbside unlocks flexibility for your customers

While many people love dining inside a restaurant, it’s not always the most convenient option for customers who are on the go. By offering a curbside pickup option, you’re giving your customers another way to enjoy your restaurant’s food. There are a host of reasons why curbside is more convenient such as avoiding delivery fees, faster, and

  • if the restaurant implements a system where the customer has to come in to pick up the order at a designated station/area, the restaurant doesn’t need to worry about having a staff member designated for curbside orders. Or constantly having to monitor the pick-up station.

Curbside service is a safe way to serve your customers

During the pandemic, we’ve seen an increase in the ways people get food from their favorite eateries. Over time, consumers have continued to appreciate the flexibility of choice in dining, especially customers who feel more at ease staying safely within the confines of their cars.

  • Depending on which curbside pickup system they implement (customer has to go inside to pick up their order or staff member brings out the order), there’s limited human contact in both scenarios.
  • Restaurants can stay safe by allowing customers to note in their order how they’d like to receive their order, for example if they want the restaurant staff member to put it in the backseat or to hand it directly to the customer.
  • Have customers pay and tip in advance.
    - Limits human to human interaction and the touching of payment cards and devices.
    - Makes the process faster for both the restaurant and the customer.
  • Require staff to wash hands before handing the customer their order and require them to wear a mask for extra precaution.

Curbside pickup offers an easy opportunity to increase profits while maintaining healthy and stable operations. Are you ready to add curbside pickup to your restaurant?

When your restaurant is backed by NCR VOYIX, it's simple to stay out front.

Whether that's literally up front with your customers, or out front of your competition.

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