COVID Restaurant Marketing Communications

7 Ways To Keep Customers Coming Back For Curbside Pickup

While nothing can replace the in-restaurant experience, establishing an efficient and memorable curbside pickup program can keep customers coming back for more. With the right approach, restaurants can build trust and even help customers have a little fun, too. So show your customers you’re thinking about their needs in entertaining, helpful and useful ways with these curbside pickup experiences.


Whether it’s rolling up to your customer’s window in a T-Rex costume or offering a free roll of toilet paper with every order, we could all use a little more joy right now. Give your curbside customers a reason to smile that aligns with your brand. It could be something as simple as a surprise appetizer in their order or even singing to them while they wait.


Grocery stores are crowded, and shelves are empty. This is a restaurant’s chance to step in. Save your customers a trip by offering hard-to-find staples like eggs, milk, bread or even highly coveted TP and face masks. It’s as easy as selling inventory not being used in-store, ordering and offering more choices from your suppliers or even partnering with a local farmer’s market to offer fresh produce for pickup.


Singing to customers tableside will have to wait. Instead, help them celebrate at home by handing off a dessert, candles and a signed gift card from the staff. Or offer a unique kit for upcoming holidays like Easter or Mother’s Day that doubles as a family activity, such as a DIY cookie decorating kit or an all-in-one holiday feast to-go.  


One coffee shop in Rochester, NY went so far as to set up a mobile coffee bar with only two employees at a time and an acrylic window to keep contact to a minimum. While this may sound extreme, safety cues—like designated curbside pickup spots, staggered pickup times and a limited menu of best sellers to keep food handling (and prep costs) down—put customers at ease.. 


Offer curbside customers a feel-good reason to order by creating a buy-one-give-one program to support medical staff and first responders working long hours. Extending your own restaurant’s hours once a week to align with a nearby hospital’s shifts is also a great way to cater to an underserved audience while showing support. Or go a step further and, immediately after closing, donate anything that didn’t sell for the day to those on the frontlines.


Like the rest of us, parents could use a break. So catering to them with family-oriented offers can help keep them coming back. Try a deal for kids to eat for free with the purchase of a regular entrée. Or a recurring order-ahead family dinner on a designated day of the week at a special value. You could implement DIY meal packages that get everyone in the family involved in preparing food at home, or create kids’ activity sheets that come with kids orders. You could even offer a family dinner-and-a-movie night bundle that includes a digital movie download.


Curbside pickup is the perfect opportunity to show what your restaurant thinks about everyone in the car. Four-legged friends included. Whether it’s a doggie bag with treats or a dog-friendly dessert, a little thoughtfulness goes a long way.