- Domino's launched carside delivery Monday, a contactless carryout option for diners that order their pizza online, according to a company release.
- Customers who select carside delivery online will be asked to add their vehicle color, make and model so employees can identify them when they arrive at the restaurant. Diners can also choose where they would like their order placed, including the passenger side, back seat or trunk. Customers can also wait to make this decision until they arrive.
- Carside delivery customers can hit an "I'm here" button on Domino's Tracker page or reply "HERE" to Domino's opt-in text to alert the restaurant they have arrived and prompt employees to bring out their orders.
Even before the novel coronavirus pandemic, demand for pickup was beginning to outpace delivery, and Domino's began tailoring its off-premise strategy accordingly.
The month before COVID-19 restrictions began to roll across U.S. dining rooms, the pizza chain launched Pie Pass, tech that allows diners who order and pay online or via the chain's app to skip the line when they pick up their food. Diners can check in via the Domino's Tracker once they reach their restaurant's parking lot so employees can have their order ready when they walk in. An in-store menu board also displays customer names above the order pickup area.
Convenience was already at the top of diners' priority list — 95% of consumers report that having their order ready on time is the most important aspect of in-store pickup, according to a Gartner report shared with Restaurant Dive. But now, sanitation and social distancing are also expected alongside speed of service. Allowing diners to access the "pickup" experience without leaving their cars seems to be an easy tweak to the existing pickup model that could have big payoff with customers who are worried about entering businesses amid the pandemic.
Rival Pizza Hut trialed its own convenient pickup option last summer, installing self-service cubbies in Hollywood, with plans to test the model in other California cities this year. The cubbies were developed with Brightloom and are synced with the brand's app, website and phone orders.
Other QSRs are making off-premise investments following the COVID-19 outbreak, too. Shake Shack, for example, is planning to remodel a number of stores to include drive-thru lanes and walk-up windows for pickup that allow diners to better maintain social distancing. This "Shack Track" concept follows temporary social distancing measures like pop-up drive-thrus that the chain rolled out during dining room closures. Applebee's largest franchisee has also chosen to test removing delivery in three markets and focus on its dine-in and carside to-go business.