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Hospitality, retail and food service providers are "picking up" on the popularity of curbside and are incorporating new tech to manage this new revenue channel that is here to stay.

You’ve heard it before, and we’ll say it again. At Branded we subscribe to the theory that the pandemic has changed nothing, but accelerated everything – and there is no greater example than the adoption of curbside pickup/takeout.

Curbside pickup/takeout/delivery, also known as click and collect, should be looked at as both an omnichannel delivery model and an extension of e-commerce. Diners place their orders digitally and pick them up from a brick-and-mortar location while using tech to track the status of their order. Curbside has met the needs and expectations of the “connected customer” at the intersection of food service, technology, and innovation – sound familiar?

While Curbside pickup was available prior to the pandemic, just a small number of big chains were offering it. Today you can get anything from a coffee to a steak dinner delivered right to your car moments after it’s been prepared. According to a Technomic study for the National Restaurant Association, curbside was added by 67% of operators surveyed from March to August 2020 alone. Customers and operators love the convenience. For the guest, it cuts down on wait time and reduces added fees tacked onto third party deliveries. For the restaurant, it eliminates the dreaded bottle neck, has added a new source of revenue, and also puts dollars back in the register by having guests order direct.

Is curbside here to stay? The answer is a resounding yes. Another recent study, COVID-19 And The Future Of Commerce, found that 87% of customers want restaurants to continue to offer curbside pick-up after the pandemic is over and this report found that 75% of consumers who subscribe to multiple delivery services say they will continue opting for curbside delivery. As curbside continues to grow its roots in the off-premise landscape, there are two directions for which it will continue to branch.

1. The Curbside Hand-Off: This is the most traditional option where customers’ place their orders online (via website or delivery app) and pick them up, literally and figuratively, at the side of the curb whether they’re in a car, on a bike, or on foot.
2. The Curbside Walk-In aka Pick-Up: This option is all about bringing the outside experience inside. Guests can also place their orders online, but instead of an employee handoff, they can retrieve their orders at an inside pickup station, cubby, or pod. This is very popular in metropolitan and urban cities where customers are mainly on foot.

Branded has two partners who are not only proving that curbside and pick up are NOT just a fad, and are reducing labor and changing the pickup experience with their to-go technologies.

Deliver a 5 Star Pick-up Experience with Curbit

Curbside can either be a check the box amenity or the preferred takeout experience that generates drive thru revenue without the real estate cost or operational strain. The question every operator must ask themselves is whether they have an air-traffic control solution in place to handle the timing fluidity created by the off-premise channels. If the answer is no, the solution is Curbit.

Curbit is a cloud based SaaS solution that uses machine learning and real-time kitchen signals to orchestrate on-time arrivals across all handoff methods. They are the lubricant that removes the friction associated with takeout.

Curbside has lacked industry consistency and consumer confidence which is why it has largely failed or become a small percentage relative to the other handoff methods. Curbit is on a mission to change this. A reliable curbside experience must be thought of like a virtual drive thru. This requires queueing orders based on guest location and progress in the kitchen.  Curbit’s technology serves as a virtual drive-thru by funneling all those inbound guests into a queue so arrival expectations are managed like a traditional drive-thru. This means:

  1. Orders are sent to the kitchen based on guest proximity
  2. Accurate timing expectations generated
  3. Real time order progress and pickup instructions messaged to the guest from checkout to handoff
  4. Well-directed staff meeting the guest upon arrival
  5. No calling, no dedicated stalls, no confusion

The Result:  A magical guest experience and significant reduction in operational chaos

Sold on Minnow’s Contact Free Pick-up Solution

The rise of off-premise ordering has put pressure on the existing infrastructures of restaurants and food service facilities to keep up with new demand without disrupting the dine-in experience. Operations questioned, how does to-go, not interfere with to-stay?

Prior to the pandemic, pick-up shelves and tables were “fit in” to allow guests to grab their pre-ordered, pre-paid food and go. But without proper management, this led to theft, lost orders, lag in order timing, and loss of customers. The solution? Minnow Pod.

Minnow’s contact-free Pickup Pods keep food secure and people safe. Pickup Pods can be used anywhere food is delivered or picked up. The pods enable food service operators and commercial property managers to offer their customers and tenants a safer and more convenient food pickup or delivery experience. Requiring less than 4 square feet of floor space, the Pickup Pod can handle up to 32 deliveries per hour. That’s enough to support up to 500 users. The versatile cloud software enables the Pickup Pod to accept food deliveries from any delivery service, restaurant, ghost kitchen, or caterer. No mobile app or integration is required.

It’s time for food service operators to rethink the pickup experience, and the proof is in the pick-up pudding. 86% of customers say that contact-free pickup is important and 96% want their food kept in an insulated compartment while it’s waiting to be picked up. Minnow has now handled more than 45,000 deliveries and pick-ups, and leveraging a Minnow Pod reduces the cost of delivering food by up to 90%.

Curbside and pick up will continue to be key growth drivers for the industry as it does a better job delivering on the wants and needs of both consumers and operators. They are true labor savors, as curbside can be the most profitable off-premise option. If you are involved in hospitality, real estate, hotels, stadium and other industries where food & beverage delivery and pick-up is part of your ecosystem, let’s discuss Curbit and Minnow Pod.  Both these solutions are too good and important to be ignored.

At Branded, we subscribe to the theory that it takes a village. If you’re interested in exploring investment opportunities within the Curbside/Pick-up space alongside Branded, please contact us directly.