Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Practice social distancing. Self-isolate. With restaurants temporarily shuttering and people not dining at locations that are still open, it’s more important than ever to assure diners that your establishment is clean, hygienic and sensitive to the tumultuous state of the world and the health of its people. As restaurants continue to evolve in this ever-changing climate, curbside pick-up will give restaurants the financial boost they need to get through this crisis. In speaking with restaurateurs and based on our extensive knowledge of the industry, we came up with the following six tips and best practices for successful, safe and profitable curbside pick-up:
#1. Text Communication
Keep diners in-the-know regarding their orders. Use text messaging to confirm when an order has been received, provide updates on timing and alert them when their pickup is ready. Allow two-way communication so that diners can text when they arrive, eliminating wait times on both sides.
Make sure your curbside pick-up zone is easily identifiable. Assuming an influx of pick-up orders will be coming your way, it’s important that there is enough room for a line of cars and that safety measures are followed.
#3. Establish Handoff Procedures
When it comes to the actual act of picking up food, establish stringent handoff procedures. Do you place the order directly in the trunk of the diners’ car, or perhaps the back seat? Do you hand it to the driver, and if so, are you wearing gloves? Choose the method that works best for you and your diners but ensure that a designated procedure is in place and that it is followed 100% of the time.
Be mindful of how you’re packaging pick-up orders. Don’t overstuff plastic or paper bags so that the contents can spill in the back seat, front seat or trunk. If two bags are required, use them. Make sure any necessary, and plastic-wrapped, utensils are provided, along with napkins.
#5. Payment Processing
In order to best obey the rules of social distancing, require payment over the phone so that no cash or credit cards need to be passed between your staff and the diners. If technology limits your ability to take cashless payment at the time of order, make sure cleanliness standards are in place at the point of sale – primarily wipes to clean down credit cards, POS devices and pens.
#6. Meal Ideas and Upselling
It’s inevitable: families will be stuck at home with limited access to fresh produce (if quarantines/shelter-at-home orders are implemented) and the eventual depletion of their stock of canned goods and frozen pizzas. When it comes to offerings, think outside the box by creating family meals as dining options (large format meats, multiple sides, vats of soup) or larger sized servings to allow for leftovers. Have your team upsell diners with add-ons like frozen quarts of sauce and soup, unbaked pizza, cookie dough, etc.