You’ll want to get this part right. Creating a poor pick-up experience for the customer not only could cost you repeat business, but the current sale and any meals already prepared.
These factors may seem obvious, but too many concepts fall short. Here’s how to optimize your pickup experience:
1. Start by clearly articulating the pick-up process at the end of the online order process (or be sure to share it with them if it happens to be a phone-in order). Ensure any third-party marketplaces also have this process and agree to share it as well.
2. Offer as many pick-up options as you can reasonably support. Traditional take-out is table stakes. Drive-thru (if you have one) and curbside (food delivered to car) are additional options that add an extra layer of convenience; it helps relieve congestion, too, which would otherwise risk customer satisfaction.
3. Create a “check in” process. Ideally, this would be supported on the original ordering channel and communicate with your staff in real-time. So, if they ordered on an app, the app should have the ability for them to check-in. If you have a system that supports this natively, perfect! If not, there are a variety of non-integrated solutions you can explore that use texting or tablets. Try to avoid making the customer call a phone number—but if that’s your only affordable option, roll with it.
4. For traditional take-out & third-party delivery, consider the flow of customers and drivers entering your restaurants. Having a dedicated path and pick-up location is becoming an industry norm these days. Some concepts are even going as far as separating the delivery orders from the pick-up orders to further avoid congestion. Consider a partial remodel to account for these spaces.
5. For group orders, ensure bags/boxes are labeled clearly with names and “# of #” numbering to ensure the customer doesn’t walk away without everything they ordered. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting home or to the office only to find out you’re missing your fries or drink.