5 Tips for providing better curbside service


As a restaurant operator, you’ve likely implemented curbside operations to facilitate takeout orders or are considering doing so. Introducing a new mode of operating “on the fly” is hard—especially if you’ve been learning as you go. Here are a few best practices that you can “carry out” to make your curbside operations successful:

1. Provide clear customer communication

Even if you’ve gone curbside, your customers might not know you’re offering this service. Update your business listings, website, app, and emails to tell your community you’re still open and how to order. Don’t forget to frequently post to your local community social platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram to drive awareness of your curbside service and highlight specials.

2. Offer contactless payments

Right now, consumers are hyper-aware of person-to-person interactions and could feel uneasy if you aren’t offering extra precautions to safeguard against exposure to the coronavirus – this extends to payments, too. Consider offering contactless payment options – either with curbside payment devices or an online ordering platform – to give the customer control of their card.

If your employees do have to take a card from a customer, make sure they wear gloves, ask if the guest wants to use their own pen to sign the receipt, discard the gloves afterward and practice proper handwashing. If you’re currently discouraging cash payments, proactively communicate that before guests pick up their order.

3. Extend your ordering capabilities

Even if the internet is your primary ordering channel, you may find you need your point-of-sale to be “closer to the action” to drive more efficiency—and more orders—in your curbside operations. Although your POS was originally implemented with your dining room flow in mind, you may still be able to use it outside at your curbside location to take orders there in addition to your online or phone orders. You can either use your existing tablet POS or move your fixed POS terminal if it makes sense.

4. Drive efficiency at the curb

Clearly show guests where to park when picking up their order, whether that’s assigning numbers to parking spots or using cones or markers to route customer traffic. You can also speed up the process by having your guests call once they arrive and tell you where they want their order placed inside their car—in the back seat, for example, or possibly the trunk. Not only does this facilitate physical distancing, but it also gives your staff guidance prior to bringing it to the car to make the food drop even faster.

5. Shift your labor

With the pivot to off-premise-only dining, many restaurants are adapting their labor model to more efficiently support this change. Consider reallocating staff members to run orders to curbside customers, supplement your kitchen staff, and monitor the door, the phone, and online or social inquiries. If you’re looking to use some of your employees for delivery, first check local laws and regulations.