As a society, we certainly don’t want to become so automated that we start to look like the people in WALL-E.
That said, customers are willing to spend more money if you offer a convenient experience..
For the restaurant industry, the pinnacle of convenience is to offer buy online and pick up in-store services (BOPIS).
70% of consumers agree that having a BOPIS option has improved their experience and influenced their decision to select where they spend their money.
Of the different BOPIS methods, curbside pickup is the second most popular.
Photo Credit: Smart Insights
Perhaps COVID has newly necessitated that you offer curbside pickup. Or maybe you’ve been doing it for years. Either way, we have some ideas that will help you market your service to attract more new and repeat customers.
60% of U.S. consumers order delivery or takeout at least once a week! And while businesses like pizza joints and fast food shops are expected to offer curbside service, it’s not always assumed outside the quick-service world.
That means it’s up to you to advertise to customers that not only do you provide an excellent dine-in experience, but you can also replicate that service with 5-star curbside pickup.
From real-time communication tools to advertising strategies—here are six ways to drive more takeout business.
Your restaurant’s Google Business Listing is one of the main portals a customer uses to contact you. But did you know that you can actually promote your curbside pickup service directly on your listing?
As a resource for small businesses in the wake of COVID, Google is offering a free pickup badge to add to your listing. This badge can quickly signify that your restaurant offers curbside pickup!
To find out if you’re eligible and get the ball rolling on your badge, simply submit this Google form with your restaurant’s information!
If the concept of curbside pickup is new to your restaurant, you may need to incentivize your dine-in customers to give it a try. An easy way to do this is to offer a special dish only available for pickup, or a prix fixe pickup menu.
Other unique ideas include meal kit services, family meal bundles, or grocery items! A deli in Charlotte, NC even offered a free roll of toilet paper with each order during the nationwide shortages in early 2020!
This exclusivity will set your curbside experience apart for existing customers and also inspire curiosity among new patrons.
More than 90% of people read their text messages within three minutes of receiving them. This makes text message marketing for restaurants one of the fastest ways to reach people.
An SMS ordering system makes it easy for customers to share their order and receive real-time updates right on their phones. No telephone tag, no background noise. Just a simple way to collect orders and send a text when their food is ready in a few clicks. Here’s how it works.
To begin, a restaurant could add a sign outside their location that says “Text PICKUP to 1-800-304-5966”. From there, they can set up an auto-reply asking for a name, plus the car model and color. When the order is ready, staff can send a text alerting their customers to head to the pickup location and seamlessly deliver the order when they see the vehicle pull up!
Speaking of working SMS into your ordering strategy, if your restaurant already has curbside pickup software, you can integrate it with your online ordering system.
With Zapier, you can create no-code integrations with tools like SimpleTexting, Squarespace, and Google Sheets to entirely facilitate no-contact ordering. Here’s how it would work.
Create a zap triggered by a new Squarespace form submission on your restaurant’s website. The zap would instruct Squarespace to send the name, phone number, and order selection from the form directly to a Google spreadsheet.
Next, you’ll set up a second zap that pulls the fields from the Google Sheet to trigger an SMS message to your shop’s staff letting them know the new order.
The text message that includes the order will also have the customer’s contact information, so baristas can follow up with any questions and send a message when the order is complete and ready for pickup!
Takeout isn’t for everyone. Some cons are enough to keep customers from ordering out entirely, including:
The common denominator across all three is the feeling that they’re receiving a diminished value for what they’re spending. Small changes to the way you prepare, package, and deliver your food to the curb could add extra value worthy of the price tag and help provide more of the dine-in experience…in a bag!
Some changes you could make include:
Another simple swap that makes a big difference is designating a short-term parking space reserved for curbside pickup. This helps your staff deliver food to cars quickly and efficiently, and ensures customers know exactly where to go and what to do when they arrive for pickup.
Simple swaps and savvy marketing can turn tired curbside pickup into a new kind of dining experience.
The key is to utilize smart technology, keep an eye out for details, and remember to represent your brand inside and outside of your restaurant!