Curbside Delivery in the Wake of Coronavirus

Mar 19

If you’re feeling a little bit like you’ve got whiplash keeping up with the ever-changing guidelines around COVID-19, you’re not alone. Cities and states are updating their guidelines for staying healthy by the day, if not the hour.

Texas Restaurant Association put together a panel of restauranteurs to talk about what they’re doing to survive the closure of dining rooms across Texas and to offer customers curbside delivery. Rewatch it here.

Curbside Delivery Webinar Resources:

Our panel was made up of:

  • Thomas Nguyen from Peli Peli
  • Jessica Delgado from Delgado Collective
  • David Cea from Orlando’s
  • Anna Tauzin from TRA

What’s Going On?

There’s a lot going on and a lot of information that you need to know as this situation changes quickly. Here are some quick guides and resources that can help you as you make decisions for your business.

Communicate With Your Customers

The number one thing you can do for your business right now is to communicate with your customers. Most small restaurants have a broad community of customers that care about them. They want to support you! Share with them how they can support you and stay healthy. For many restaurants, that’s curbside pick up or delivery.

Action items:

  • Update your website
  • Post on social media
  • Post signs on your doors
  • Update your phone tree
  • Update your online menus (including on third party delivery sites)

While this is a stressful time for everyone, don’t forget your humor or gratitude. Share with your customers what you’re doing to keep everyone safe, but also have a little humor. And, as always, keep your customer service shining by telling your customers how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate their order.

Get Your Tech In Order

If you want to offer pick up or delivery to your customers, that’s going to require a shift in how you do things. Your first step is to get your tech in order and make sure you can offer customers the food they love in a new way.

Curbside Pick-Up
Many restaurants are offering customers contactless curbside pick up. The key here is for customers to order ahead online, pay online, and then pick-up their order. Restaurant staff brings the order outside, opens the car door, and places the food in the car. No contact between the customer and staff. Don’t forget a friendly smile and wave — changing times don’t mean customer service isn’t important.

Many restaurants are now offering a delivery option. Things to consider when offering delivery:

  • Talk to your insurance to make sure the car and driver are insured under your policy
  • Consider how you’ll pay drivers
  • Think about how you package food for delivery

Third-Party Delivery Options
Many of the third-party delivery apps are offering discounted rates. Here’s the rundown:

  • Favor - 0% commission
  • Grubhub - deferred commission (they expect it to be paid back later)
  • Uber Eats - $0 delivery fee to consumers but still full commission rate
  • DoorDash - 0% commission rates for NEW restaurants to their platform, reduced commission for their existing restaurants on the platform

Online Ordering Options
There are a number of systems you can use so customers can place an order online.

Change Product Offerings

Offering delivery or curbside pick-up isn’t enough. While you must change how customers are getting your food, you might also need to change what products you offer to customers. Your customers are currently working from home without the ability to leave, many of them will also have their kids or other family members home with them. Some of your customers are now out of work or working reduced hours.

Change your product offerings to serve your customers’ needs. Shift the types of dishes you prepare to be more affordable, one-stop meals. Consider offering boxed lunches and simple dinners. Customers are seeking, healthy, flavorful food that’s affordable.

In our webinar, Thomas Nguyen of Peli Peli shared that they’ve shifted their traditional dinner offering that costs $30-$40 to be a $10 meal which includes a protein and two sides. Jessica Delgado of Delgado Collective shared that they’re now offering bulk meals that are discounted in price the more you buy. Customers can purchase a number of individual meals or a bulk packaged meal that simply needs to go in the oven and can feed a family of 6.

Customers’ needs have changed. That means you have to rethink what you’re offering customers.


Many restaurants make a majority of their profit through alcohol sales. A topic that was raised multiple times during the webinar was how to offer alcohol for pick up or delivery. Currently, it is legal for restaurants in Texas to deliver alcohol. We are awaiting additional guidance from TABC for potential new opportunities. TRA hosted a webinar recently about alcohol delivery if you’d like to learn more.

We’re All in This Together

Most importantly, please remember that we’re all in this together. TRA is working closely with the Texas government and TABC to make sure that the voices of restaurant owners are heard during this time of change.

Also, we’re here for you. If you have questions, reach out. We’re updating our website regularly and sending out daily emails to members with updates on the situation.

Don’t forget to reach out to your friends in the industry. At this time, it’s so important that we all support one another. Check-in on your own wellbeing as well as those of your friends and employees. 
We will get through this, and we’ll do it together.

Visit this link to take action and contact your representatives.


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