Digital-only pickup locations are a unique business opportunity for several eateries. While US restaurants are predominantly exploring this trend, the ample benefits may translate well to kitchens across the UK.
With any trend, it’s important to ask why it surfaced, how it benefits restaurants, and if it’s here to stay. More importantly, your business must know how to profit using the trend and enhance its profits.
The Rise of Digital-Only Restaurants?
Before exploring the digital-only pickup location, we need to understand some of the other trends in recent years. Restaurants are constantly changing. Innovations like ghost kitchens and virtual brands are more popular than ever. Several chains, however, have sought to increase profits with outpost locations.
Outpost locations offer food pickup for areas where the local conditions won’t support a full-service restaurant. At an outpost location, patrons place an order with the restaurant’s app or through a third-party delivery service. A full-service restaurant prepares the food and delivers it to the outpost location for pickup.
There are several problems with outpost locations. First, business owners must solve the many logistical aspects of an outpost. Your kitchen needs a way to reliably take orders, prepare them alongside your own dining service, and arrange transport for the finished food. With a digital-only pickup location, you can eliminate these problems.
Perks of Digital-Only Pickup
A digital-only pickup location differs from an outpost by having a kitchen of its own. Customers place orders the same way, but the kitchen staff prepares the food locally. Digital-only pickup maximises space by eliminating the dining area. Customers simply enter and obtain their order from someone overseeing a small reception area.
These locations have several advantages over outposts and only require enough space for a small kitchen to operate. Established restaurants may choose to invest in a pickup location for several reasons:
Battling Labour Shortages
Foodservice organisations across the UK are still battling labour shortages and may be for a long time. With these shortages and rising prices, kitchens are under immense pressure to profit with fewer resources.
These pickup locations vastly expand your service area with minimal staff, bypassing much of the labour problem with opening a new location. With this trend, you only need to hire kitchen staff and a single person to supervise the pickups.
Logistical planning is often complex for an outpost location. An outpost needs to supply food from an existing kitchen. This need significantly hinders staff, as they have a service of their own to attend.
If you settle on creating a digital-only pickup location, you can take the pressure off your existing kitchens and reduce the need to find reliable transportation. As a bonus, your pickup location easily integrates with your existing apps and third-party services.
Flexibility for Space
It’s challenging to find a new location for a restaurant. Dining service requires a large kitchen and enough dining area for guests. More spatial flexibility is a critical benefit of digital pickup locations. Digital-only pickup locations only need space for the kitchen and enough room for an attendant to distribute orders.
Keys to Digital-Only Pickup Locations
You’ll need to examine the benefits to determine if digital-only pickup is right for your business. If this trend is right for you, there are a few keys to success when opening a location.
Your kitchen must be cost-effective. Proper labelling reduces spoilage and helps your staff’s food rotation process. In addition, FIFO and portion control products maximise profit with every plate. After all, these locations boast cost savings, so you should also minimise costs during food preparation.
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