- Postmates has added a new curbside pickup feature for merchants that enables both customers and delivery drivers to pick up orders without entering restaurants or retail establishments, according to a company release.
- Restaurants can choose to opt into curbside pickup from their Postmates dashboard. Customers are prompted to check in when they get to the merchant to notify them to come outside.
- Postmates drivers are also able to let the merchant know when they’ve arrived to pick up an order.
More than half of American consumers aren’t interested in leaving their homes even though businesses are opening back up, according to a study by PYMNTS. This poses a challenge for restaurants itching to get diners and sales back to normal levels. Curbside pickup is a viable solution, and has emerged as a major COVID-19 storyline, with chains like Potbelly, Dunkin’, Burger King, Taco Bell and Chick-fil-A adding the channel within the past few months. The channel has long been a staple of casual dining concepts like Outback Steakhouse and Olive Garden, but it also presents yet another off-premise opportunity for other restaurant segments to get food to customers who aren’t quite ready to dine out.
Notably, Postmates' feature could help level the playing field for restaurants that want to add curbside pickup but don’t have a robust mobile app. Postmates’ curbside pickup feature joins its non-contact delivery option, launched in March in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Grubhub also recently added curbside pickup for its drivers.
Adding curbside may help ease the anxiety of drivers or customers who don’t want to venture inside a restaurant. However, as many restaurants add the curbside pickup channel on their own, the question becomes whether or not they need a delivery app to serve as the conduit for such orders, particularly if that means those orders come with a commission fee. A company like Postmates may not ruffle feathers by collecting fees on delivery orders, considering the extensive logistics involved in that channel, but those same details don’t exist with curbside. Time will tell if restaurants adopt the service through a third-party or venture into the channel on their own.
Either way, chances are the curbside pickup channel remains viable after the coronavirus crisis passes, which is likely why Postmates is making a play in the space. Taco Bell CEO Mark King recently told Forbes, curbside pickup enables customers to take control of their experience.
“I don’t think [curbside pickup] will replace the drive-thru, but I think this is definitely one of those areas that sticks as consumers are taking control, looking for safety, contactless and convenience,” he said.