Guests Prefer Curbside Pickup and Dine-in to Delivery. Here’s What That Means for Your Restaurant

Curbside pickup and delivery have arguably been the salvation of at least some of the restaurant industry as it’s scrambled to find any way to survive after COVID-19 fundamentally changed the landscape for service industries in general in early 2020. Overnight, millions of hungry consumers were suddenly hesitant to set foot inside any establishment where they might be placed near others. But they were still hungry. They missed their favorite restaurant fare. And restaurants were there with improvised delivery and takeout models to fill the culinary void.

Now, as vaccines move inexorably toward realization, the question for the restaurant industry becomes, “what will diners prefer as dining rooms open?” Will they remain enamored of the convenience of their favorite dishes being delivered directly to their couches, or will they welcome the opportunity to reenter the dining room to dine in the company of others? A study by Black Box Guest Intelligence has some answers.

Being there

According to Black Box, despite having grown accustomed to the convenience of in-home delivery during the pandemic, most consumers seem more inclined toward takeout and dining in as the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel comes slowly into focus. According to their study:

  • Guest sentiment for delivery remains lower than for to-go and much lower than for dine-in. Despite the pandemic and the incremental reliance on delivery, guests still tend to perceive it as the least positive experience. 
  • Online reviews and comments reveal in many cases, a poor to-go or delivery experience is lowering the guest’s stated intent to return to the restaurant even for dine-in. 

What does all this mean? Well, as much as consumers have appreciated the opportunity to continue enjoying their favorite restaurant fare, once it becomes a viable option, they much prefer the chance to do so away from home. 

Somewhat more disturbing, perhaps, is the revelation that, even though many may still prefer delivery, a less than desirable delivery experience in the past may lower guests’ desire to return to a restaurant in any capacity in the future.


Thanks to COVID, however, consumers have become more aware of sanitary procedures now than they’ve ever been before, and their expectations of due diligence are not likely to go away any time soon. Those of us who experienced the COVID pandemic will no doubt always be at least partially on the lookout for unsanitary conditions when we dine out, and the slightest red flag could send us to another restaurant despite our culinary preferences.

Contactless solutions like those from OneDine can help meet these new expectations and streamline your dining and food-service capabilities to efficiently and quickly serve customers, via in-house or takeout service, with a leaner workforce and in a way that keeps everyone safer and coming back for more.

With OneDine’s solutions, patrons can order via their mobile device, without waiting for overworked wait staff to get to them or risking unnecessary social contact. They can quickly pay, split the check, or pay per item, and they can do all this on their schedule from the convenience of their table, their home, or your parking lot. 

Using OneDine’s off-premise solutions, customers who opt for curbside pickup can easily navigate the process, from ordering to payment to delivery, directly from their mobile device from the comfort of their car. Upon arrival, your guests simply choose a parking spot and scan a QR code from a sign to check in and announce their arrival. Guests will then be directed to your custom mobile ordering website, where they can safely order and pay, and let your team know which parking spot they’re in

OneDine tracks whether the customer has paid were to take out the food, and how long the customer has been waiting. You can also manage the transaction by sending an SMS to the customer with a payment or notification link. Guests can order and pay in less than 2 minutes and be on their way quickly and easily without ever leaving the warmth and safety of their car.

The OneDine platform can even use customer-centered profiles and purchasing histories to offer personalized offerings and menu suggestions tailored to each individual patron.


If COVID has taught us nothing else, it has undoubtedly underlined the value of being able to adapt to rapidly evolving circumstances quickly. While investing in contactless ordering and delivery methods may have been entirely below your radar in 2019, in 2020 and beyond, these measures have become a must.

But the restaurant industry has never been anything but resilient. And that resiliency, along with a little help from OneDine, will go a long way toward getting you through the minefield of 2020 and into a more prosperous future.