Quarterly FSE&SEXCERPT: Since the pandemic, takeout orders have been skyrocketing in the restaurant industry. This includes not just quick-service operations but also fast casual and even fine dining. And, of late a growing number of noncommercial operators, like healthcare, college and even corporate foodservice, allow customers to order ahead and pick up their food.

The early adopters of takeout were restaurants that could handle the phone orders, according to Mark Moeller, founder and restaurant consultant, Recipe of Success, Westport, Conn.

“It is easier for restaurants to put items out for pickup to speed up service since customers can just grab their order and go,” he says. “they no longer need to wait in line of interact with anyone.”

How It Works
Foodservice operators need to decide what components of their pickup areas will contain as well as the logistics for preparation.

“Over time, these area have become more sophisticated both on the front and back end,” Moeller says. “Restaurant operators need to look at how to best bag the products, whether refrigerators or hot holding is needed, etc.”

Pickup lockers are even becoming a substitute for drive-thrus, with some QSRs looking to implement more of these systems in combination with online or app ordering to eliminate long lines.

“Drive-thrus have been a great option during the pandemic, but pickup stations are less labor intensive, and the opportunity to make mistakes is decreased with online or app ordering,” Moeller says.