Curbside pickup has become a favorite choice of busy off-premise customers. They like the convenience of being able to order in advance, then simply drive up, get their order and go. It’s fast, and it has the added bonus of no delivery fees.
Operators like curbside pickup, too, because it’s often profitable. It can boost sales without affecting dine-in capacity, and ticket sizes are often larger than dine-in averages. Also, curbside pickup customers don’t add to crowding issues inside while they wait to pick up.
Still, curbside pickup has drawbacks that make it less convenient for customers and less profitable for operators:
- Customers often have to wait for their order after they arrive, and they’re not happy about it. In fact, 50% of customers say they’re frustrated when their order isn’t ready when they arrive.
- Curbside service pulls employees away from serving dine-in guests—the very customers who want the pleasure of a sit-down meal with an attentive server.
- Delivering orders to customers’ cars is an inherently inefficient process, since employees often need to make several trips back and forth, in all kinds of weather, to find the right order and get it to the right customer
These problems are just a few of the reasons leading restaurant brands have started using smart food lockers such as those from Apex Order Pickup Solutions. They make pickup a reliable, guest-centric experience for the growing portion of customers who prefer digital engagement. They also let restaurants offer an end-to-end digital experience, with a complete data picture of every step in the digital order journey.
Attract more customers with a no-wait pickup experience
Customers appreciate reliable wait times. With smart food lockers, they know that once they receive the order-ready notification, their order is in the locker. They won’t have to spend time waiting in their car for an employee to bring their order. They can just slide into a parking spot, step up to the locker and scan their QR code, take their order and go. They can be on their way in less than a minute.
This efficient, predictable experience is a magnet for busy customers, and can be a powerful incentive to help restaurants grow this off-premises channel.
Make order handoff more efficient for employees
Ironically, operators usually rely on their front-of-house servers or hosts to handle the additional demands of curbside service—spending their time helping customers who have chosen a minimal-contact option. In an era of labor shortages and shrinking margins, operators would do better to keep employees primarily focused on serving dine-in customers who have chosen to come inside for the “full” customer experience.
Using smart food lockers helps restaurants optimize employee labor and make it easier to get the right order to the right customer. Employees simply make one quick trip to the locker, place the order inside and they’re done. They can go back to serving customers inside, where their effort has the most impact on improving the dining experience.
Perhaps the best part of using lockers is the ability to gain data for the order handoff, completing the digital chain of custody that helps make curbside pickup as smart and efficient as other digitized areas of the operation.
Make curbside pickup faster and smarter
Curbside pickup is here to stay, and not just because customers love the convenience. They also love having control of their time, control of when and how they order and control of when they pick up their food.
According to a recent survey by the National Restaurant Association, 66% of all adults say they’re more likely to order takeout food now than they were before the pandemic. That’s why it’s well worth it to improve their order pickup experience with faster, more efficient options such as Smart Food Locker Solutions from Apex.
This post is sponsored by Apex Order Pickup Solutions