December 14, 2022
Alipio Umiten IV

Curbside vs. In-Store Pickup: What’s the Difference?

As food trends and restaurant industry trends continue to evolve, so does the way restaurants serve their food. 

Fast food and casual dining establishments are increasingly offering pickup and curbside as an option for busy consumers who want the convenience of picking up their food whenever and wherever they want.

Both allow customers to order online and pick-up their food at a location or store. But don’t let the similar names make you think they’re the same: curbside and in-store pick-up offer different benefits depending on the consumer’s needs.

Key Takeaway: Curbside vs. in-store pickup presents restaurant owners with two sets of unique advantages suited to different markets and restaurant operations.
Compare curbside vs. in-store pickup to learn which is best for your restaurant business.

What is Curbside vs. Pickup? 

Like most people, you’re probably wondering what the difference is between curbside pickup and in-store pickup. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the main differences:

  • Curbside pickup refers to the process of ordering food in advance and then receiving it at a designated time from a designated spot, such as the restaurants’s curbside location. This is typically faster and more convenient than in-store pick-up, since you don’t have to go inside the store to get your items. Ordering can be done through eCommerce food websites or online ordering apps.
  • In-store pickup refers to the process of online ordering and then going inside the restaurant or store to pickup your food. This option is typically less expensive than curbside pick-up, but it can take longer depending on the store’s policies.

Curbside vs. In-Store  Pickup Pros and Cons

The debate between curbside and in-store pick up has been heating up in recent years as the restaurant industry looks for ways to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction

Both methods use innovative restaurant technology, have pros and cons, and come down to what makes the most sense for your business. Let’s take a closer look.

Curbside Pickup


  • Customers can remain in their vehicles, which is more convenient for them
  • This option also reduces traffic inside the restaurant
  • It can be faster than in-store pick up, since customers don’t have to wait in line


  • May require additional staff to manage the curbside operation
  • It can be challenging to coordinate during busy times
  • Customers may have to wait longer for their food if the curbside operation gets backed up

In-Store Pickup


  • Customers can come into the store and learn more about the restaurant while they wait for their food
  • It eliminates the need for additional staff to manage a separate curbside operation
  • In-store can be more efficient during busy times since customers can go straight to the counter to pick-up their orders


  • In-store pickup may also increase traffic inside the restaurant, which can be chaotic during peak hours
  • Customers may have to wait in line for their food
  • The process overall might be more time-consuming than curbside pick-up

If you’re looking for a way to improve operational efficiency and reduce customer wait times, curbside pick up may be the way to go. 

On the other hand, if you’re more concerned about increasing foot traffic inside your store, in-store pick up may be a better option.

Whichever you choose, make sure you communicate your clearly to customers, so they know what to expect when they visit your restaurant. 

To help guide you, a well-researched restaurant business plan will consider all of these factors and help you make the best decision for your business.

Benefits of Curbside Pickup

Offering a curbside pickup option can be a great way to increase business and boost profits in your restaurant. 

Here are some of the main benefits of providing curbside pickup at your restaurant or chain::

Increased Business

By offering curbside pick up, you can attract new customers who may not have eaten at your restaurant. This can lead to increased business and more profits.


Curbside pick up is convenient for both customers and restaurants. Customers can order their food and have it ready to go when they arrive without having to wait in line. Restaurants also avoid the complexities of serving dine-in customers.

Faster Service

Curbside pick up speeds up service since customers can order and pay for their food in advance. This can lead to shorter wait times and happier customers.

Reduced Labor Cost

Businesses save on wages and other associated costs by eliminating the need for wait staff. This is a significant advantage for small businesses operating on tight budgets.

Increased Profits

Curbside pick up is also 85% more likely to increase restaurant sales. This is because shoppers have significantly increased curbside pick up orders compared to pre-COVID-19 rates. Customers are also more inclined to order extras, such as drinks or sweets, when they pickup their food.

If you’re looking for ways to increase restaurant sales, offering curbside pick up is a great option to consider. By offering it through integrated online ordering solutions, you can attract new customers, improve customer satisfaction, and make more money.

In-Store Pickup Benefits

  • It helps save on costs since you won’t need to hire extra staff to handle delivery orders.
  • You can control the quality of the food more easily, since it won’t be sitting in a delivery car for an extended period of time.
  • Pick up order fulfillment is faster than delivery orders, which means your customers will be happy with your speedy service.
  • There’s less chance of something going wrong with in-store pick up orders since third-party service delivery is not handling them.

Curbside vs In-Store Pickup: What’s Right for Your Restaurant?

If you’re looking for a fast and convenient option for busy customers, curbside service may be the way to go. However, pickup may be a better option if you want more control over your inventory and customer flow. Whichever route you choose, offer a quality product and excellent restaurant customer service to ensure success.

When choosing whether to offer curbside or pick up service at your restaurant, there are many factors to consider. Food cost, labor cost, overhead expenses, and customer preferences are all important factors to weigh.

If your restaurant is in a high-traffic area, curbside service may be the best option to minimize wait times. Curbside service may add to the restaurant monthly expenses more than pick-up, as it requires additional staff and equipment. However, it’s usually faster and more convenient for customers.

Pick up may be the best option to minimize costs if your restaurant is not in a high-traffic area. Pick up service is typically less expensive than curbside, requiring fewer staff and resources. However, it may take longer for customers to receive their food.

Whether you offer curbside or pick up service at your restaurant depends on many factors. Consider the needs of your business and your customers to make the best decision for your restaurant.

Revolution Ordering Resources

Frequently Asked Questions About Curbside vs. In-Store Pickup

Find out how curbside and pickup compare for online orders by exploring these common questions. You’ll see that restaurants use pickup, curbside, and restaurant delivery software to promote smooth operations and better customer satisfaction.

How Does Curbside Pickup Work?

The process of curbside pickup begins with your customer’s online purchase (usually from your website). They select the pickup location or store they prefer at checkout. 

When the order is ready, customers are notified to pickup their items through live order tracking. In short, restaurant owners can imagine the workflow in a series of at least five steps:

  • Customer makes the purchase.
  • Online order reaches POS system.
  • Inventory is prepared for pickup.
  • Items are staged at pickup location.
  • Staff match orders to customers.

What Does “Pickup Only” Mean?

If you see “pickup only” on a restaurant’s menu, it means that the restaurant does not deliver. You will need to go to the restaurant to pick-up your food. If you're a restaurant owner contemplating whether to offer deliver too, just note that it can drastically increase sales.

Why Do People Use Curbside Pickup?

Curbside pickup remains convenient, fast, and safe for customers concerned with maximizing their experience. Because curbside stands out as faster than in-store dining, customers choose it to save time and minimize frustrations. 

This brings certain advantages to enterprise restaurants that integrate their CRM systems and restaurant software. They can more easily use restaurant inventory management software tools to further the savings and sales enabled by curbside.

Why Buy Online and Pickup In Store?

Buy online pickup in-store (or BOPIS) is a service that allows customers to purchase items online and then pick them up at a local store. This can be convenient for shoppers who want to avoid shipping costs or who need to get their hands on an item quickly. Some retailers even offer discounts for customers who use BOPIS.

Is Curbside Pickup the Same as Delivery?

No, curbside pickup is not the same as delivery. With curbside pick up, you will need to go to the restaurant to pick-up your food. With delivery, the food will be brought to you. However, most restaurants offer both options. It's also worth noting that it's vital to offer both to be as inclusive as possible.

Let Us Help You Offer Curbside or In-Store Pickup!

If not, now may be the perfect time to do so! If so, we've got just the tools to help you out! Offering these services is a great way to show your customers that you care about their experience by making standard processes much more convenient. So, feel free to book a demo with us to learn more abou how enterprise restaurants to learn more.

Get curbside and in-store pickup orders organized with Revolution Ordering.