Mike Hardman, online manager at catering equipment supplier Alliance Online, takes a look at the pros and cons of a click and collect service and whether it will be the right addition to your restaurant
In the UK, the climate for the restaurant industry is as challenging as ever, with a 0.1% net decline in the number of managed premises open for business in 2019 (CGA). As a result, it’s little surprise that many businesses are looking for ways to boost their revenue and expand their customer base.
One of the biggest trends to emerge over the past year has been click and collect, where food can be ordered online and picked up when it’s ready. One survey found that one in five people had taken advantage of this service (CGA) and, while delivery (58%) is still more popular, this represents a significant figure for something that’s relatively new to the casual dining sector.
With click and collect seeing a wider take up, it’s worth taking a look at the advantages and disadvantages to decide whether it’s the right fit for your business.
What are the advantages of click and collect?
- It expands your customer base: Putting your restaurant’s services online is an easy way of quickly growing your customer base and offering your food to people who might not have thought about trying it before. Signing up with a well-known food order platform can put your offerings in front of a new audience immediately.
- It can boost your revenue: In your restaurant, how much business you do is limited by table space but, by adding click and collect, you’re effectively able to process more orders through your kitchen. Therefore, it’s a great way of increasing your top-line revenue.
- It makes the customer experience more convenient: By allowing a customer to choose what they want in their own time and arrange pick up when they need the food, you can add an extra convenience to the customer experience that’s not possible via table service.
- It reduces the margin for human error: As all click and collect orders are recorded digitally, it removes the possibility of mistakes being made at the ordering stage and provides an easy reference point for other stages of food preparation.
- It is increasingly easy to implement: Thanks to the prevalence of many turn-key solutions, it’s easier than ever to set up a click and collect service in your restaurant. From adding the necessary software to integrating it into your website, things can be straightforward.
What are the disadvantages of click and collect?
- Its reach can be limited geographically: Click and collect can be successful if your premises is located in an accessible area, like a city centre. But, if you’re based in a suburban or rural area, the appeal can be reduced if a customer has to travel a long distance for pick-up.
- It can incur extra costs to grow your customer base: While you can access a large audience online, you may need to sign up to an ordering platform to do so, which can have an up-front fee and may take a percentage of each sale as commission.
- It requires your kitchen to operate at a higher capacity: Being able to process and prepare more orders than usual means that your kitchen needs to handle the demand. You may need to purchase extra equipment and hire more staff to cover this.
- It needs investment in technology: To process click and collect orders you will need to acquire the right software (and potentially hardware), as well as pay implementation costs, like adding the option to your website.
Is click and collect worth it for my restaurant?
If you’re based in a busy area with high footfall, then you could benefit greatly, as people are much more likely to order ahead and then pick up as they’re passing or even just make the easy trip. With a more limited area, you may want to think about whether the service will be popular enough to justify your investment.
You also need to think about your restaurant infrastructure, because adding the service on a whim may leave your kitchen overburdened as extra orders come flooding in. It’s wise to plan ahead and assess the costs of any upgrades or new hires you need to make before coming to a final decision.
Mike Hardman (pictured) is online manager at catering equipment supplier Alliance Online