“What’s taking so long? I could have made the food myself by now.” Guest experience means everything. This applies as much to your portability program as to your dining room.
No one wants a hassle, and your operation has a lot of control when it comes to providing a smooth, simple process on everything from ordering through pickup or delivery. It helps to break it down into four steps:
1. Guest ordering
If you use a digital platform, avoid frustration by keeping your menu up to date. Also make sure your staff is using a current menu and pricing when talking to guests who call on the phone. Finally, let them know an approximate time their order will be ready and instructions on pickup or delivery procedures.
2. Food assembly
For all off-premise orders you need a designated area for customer or delivery-driver pickup. Before orders reach this area, go through a checklist that includes not only the food, but all of the other items—napkins, utensils, condiments, coupons, comment cards, etc.—that go into the package.
3. Guest arrival
When guests arrive, make it clear how pickup works. Have signage to designate pickup parking spots. If you offer it, have a number to text or call for curbside service—customers like it, and it avoids a line in your business. Consider back-door access for third-party delivery drivers to free up staff for on-premise guests. If space permits, use a shelf or counter for contactless pickup.
Contactless payment is growing more popular, but don’t overlook important customer touchpoints that improve the experience. Let them know about your loyalty program. Invite a return visit with a coupon or discount. Tell them about your daily or weekly specials.
By taking time to review your pickup process, you can add little changes that keep customers happy, encourage good reviews and build repeat business.
—Written by Gordon Food Service Culinary Specialist Adam Walkover