Is Click & Collect a remedy for the beleaguered restaurant market?

An established model in retail, Click & Collect is increasingly being deployed by restaurants. NPD Group found that this channel grew 16.1% from June 2016 to June 2018, compared to 8.9% for delivery.

In our recent white paper, we explored the rise of delivery. Click & Collect is merely an extension of take-away and online ordering, offering the benefits of delivery – capturing more customers and increasing revenue from existing space – but with fewer operational headaches and less margin impact.

In our view, Click & Collect has five key advantages:

Advance ordering online is convenient for customers and allows operators to forward plan. On-site, there are time-saving benefits as waiters do not have to take orders, and furthermore, no tables are occupied, meaning increased capacity and better kitchen utilisation.

Taking third party distributors out of the equation means commission charges are lower or completely avoided for Click & Collect, thereby increasing profitability.

Data capture
The restaurant retains customer data, as opposed the delivery business ‘owning’ the customer. This is a valuable tool to gain insight and enable targeting and personalisation, to increase loyalty – critical in a crowded market.

With the customer visiting the restaurant to collect their order, there is an opportunity for the operator to showcase the brand, deliver great face-to-face service, and build a relationship to drive repeat business.

The reduced reliance on third parties means operators do not depend on others to deliver a satisfactory customer experience. The responsibility lies with the restaurant to prepare and serve, and the customer to get food home in good order, giving greater control over the transaction and brand perception.

The benefits of Click & Collect are clear but there are key considerations for operators, to fully exploit the potential of this channel:

Restauranteurs are keen to avoid waves of delivery drivers impacting dine-in customer experience. Long lines for Click & Collect could pose similar problems, so restaurants will have to think about layout and logistics to ensure the collection process runs smoothly.

Fundamentally, implementing staff training alongside the right technology platforms will determine success. There are a host of turnkey solutions, which are cost effective and easy to implement; white-label platforms where consumers feel like they are ordering with the actual restaurant, creating a seamless experience.

On balance, Click & Collect is not a miracle cure for operators facing a barrage of increasing external pressures: business rates, labour costs, cost of goods, rents and market saturation. But it is certainly an obvious layer of defence that operators can employ relatively easily to increase customer reach and control.

Jessica Williams