What Is the Difference Between Pickup and Curbside?

January 29, 2023
Alipio Umiten IV
December 19, 2022
Table of Contents

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

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Curbside vs Pickup: What Is the Difference?

Like most people, you’re probably wondering what the difference is between curbside pick up 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 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 utilize innovative restaurant technology, have pros and cons, and ultimately the decision comes down to what makes the most sense for your business. Let’s take a closer look at each.

Curbside Pickup


  • Customers can remain in their vehicles, which is more convenient for them
  • 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
  • Can be more efficient during busy times since customers can go straight to the counter to pick-up their orders


  • Increases traffic inside the restaurant, which can be chaotic during peak hours
  • Customers may have to wait in line for their food
  • Can be more time-consuming than curbside pick-up

If you’re looking for a way to improve 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 the better option.

Whichever service you choose, make sure you communicate your intentions clearly to customers, so they know what to expect when they visit your restaurant. A thoroughly 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 this type of service:

  • 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.

  • Convenience

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.

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 (businesswire). 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 business and boost profits, offering curbside pick up is a great option to consider. By offering this type of service, 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 orders can be fulfilled 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 Pickup: What Is 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 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 be more expensive 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.


Frequently Asked Questions About What Is the Difference Between Pickup and Curbside

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.

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.

Have you tried adding curbside or in-store pick up? If not, now may be the time to do so! Offering these services is a great way to show your customers that you care about their convenience and can help improve your relationship with them.

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