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How Takeout, Delivery and Curbside Pickup Have Changed the Game for FSRs

Jul 20, 2021 Franchise Information

2020 was the year that food delivery really stepped into the spotlight.

Due to the pandemic, fast-thinking operators found solutions to make food ordering experiences more efficient and enjoyable.

As a result, takeout, delivery, and curbside pickup have changed the game for FSRs, their staff, and their customers — but will this be a forever thing?

We think yes.

Customer Comfort

The pandemic has changed our behaviours; especially when it comes to food, how we buy it, how we order it, and how (and where) we consume it.

Agri-Food Analytics Lab estimates that 4.2 million more Canadians are ordering food online at least once a week than the pre-pandemic average.

While some people may have honed in on their at-home cooking skills, others have looked for convenience and variety from their favourite restaurants, trying desperately to hold on to life’s simple pleasures.

“The convenience of drive-through and take-out has been one of the core drivers of Foodservice growth over the past 40 years. This will not change.” – FSR Magazine

With the loss of dining-in, take-out has become even more of a go-to option. Delivery is now less of a luxury and more of a lifestyle choice.

“57% of millennials say that they have restaurant food delivered so they can watch movies and TV shows at home” – Mintel

So, while some fully vaccinated customers will be the first to rush to patios and dining-in as soon as possible, it’s likely that others will choose to remain in their newfound, socially distanced, comfort zone — at home with Netflix.

Customer Convenience

Delivery and curbside options removed the need to leave home (or your car) for food, creating a sense of increased safety, and therefore customer satisfaction and loyalty, during a truly challenging time.

By increasing customer convenience via technology, FSRs have created a framework that has proven to work far too well to ever go back on. FSRs have also collected incredible data that will help them to strategically make great business decisions.

“Data analytics of curbside will become a growing area of focus for operators. With the amount of data gathered on users, orders and the impact of promotions, operators will have a wealth of information to further refine their curbside business.” – FSR Magazine

The industry’s interest in technology has taken on a life of its own, as customers expect more and more in areas of online ordering, tracking, and map guidance.

“45% of consumers say that offering mobile ordering or loyalty programs would encourage them to use online ordering services more often.” – Nations Restaurant News.

In other words, operators will have no choice but to get on board (and stay onboard) with increasing requests for transparency, benefits, and convenience.

Customer Contact

Pick-up and delivery sales have increased because of preferred limited contact.

“85% percent of shoppers have significantly increased curbside pickup orders compared to pre-COVID-19 rates, and 79% say a contactless store pickup is very important to them.“ – Business Wire

Customers have opted for less socialization and greater distance, to protect themselves and others. Limited contact has also simplified the buyer’s experience for those on the go, and for those with a car full of kids.

With the convenience of ordering food online through aggregators like Skip The Dishes or Uber Eats, customers can feel safe and secure, remaining in their bubble.

Curbside is also the fastest and most efficient of all off-premise options — saving money and time.

“Curbside has a perception of being managed with fewer touchpoints and therefore as “safer.” We should not underestimate the importance of customers wanting to feel like their food is safe.” – FSR Magazine

For some, removing the need for small talk and social interaction may also play a factor in their preference for contact-less delivery in the future.

Customer Choices

Takeout and delivery and aggregators have also pushed consumer adoption to order more from restaurants, including those that they would not normally have tried.

“20% of consumers say they spend more on off-premise orders compared to a regular dine-in experience. 34% of consumers spend at least $50 per order when ordering food online.” – Statista

Apps allow families to view options from a number of vendors and be exposed to cuisines or options they previously hadn’t known about or may have been reluctant to try.

So, as we plan for the future, we see curbside and delivery offerings continuing to be a key growth driver for the FSR industry.

After all, according to Pizza Magazine, customers who place an online order with a restaurant will visit that restaurant 67% more frequently than those who don’t.

Food delivery has entered, and will remain, in the spotlight.

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