No contact delivery, post-order-tipping and curbside pickup

March of 2020 changed all of our lives with the COVID-19 pandemic. It also required our roadmaps and strategic focus to shift while I was working at Papa John's. We pivoted quickly to serve our customers where they needed it most and that was the ability to get food safely for both customers and employees. All three of these product features and iterations were prioritized due to COVID-19.

No contact delivery

The first feature we implemented during the pandemic was no contact delivery. This required digital experience changes for the customer to choose no contact during checkout. We worked closely with operations and marketing to execute and communicate this new offering. The no contact option was executed with social distancing in mind and digital payments. We designed, coded, tested and released this feature within 3 weeks when the pandemic started. I was proud of our teams for our ability to be nimble and resilient to the fluidity of the pandemic early on.

Post-order tipping

With the digital payment requirement for no contact delivery created a challenge with driver tips. We were noticing that some customers wanted to wait until the received their order to tip, and with a no-cash option that meant some drivers would not able to be tipped post-order. We only had digital tipping in a pre-transaction state at checkout before the pandemic. Drivers were actually going back and knocking on doors for tips, violating social distancing guidelines. The solution to this was the ability to offer post-order tipping in our digital channels.

Challenges with post-order tipping:

We also took the opportunity to add in driver ratings to gain more customer feedback to help us improve in the future.Because of authentication issues, we launched this feature first in our native apps, since customers were already authenticated and payment methods were stored.

Curbside pickup

In 2020, curbside “pick up” grew in popularity as the restaurant & retail categories adjusted to evolving customer sentiment due to COVID-19 impacts. We found through our own survey data that upwards of 50% of customers were mentioning they wanted a curbside pickup option, and expressed negative sentiment due to not having the offering.

Our solution was to implement a branded curbside pick up solution that will continue to evolve with customer needs. Our high level scope of the MVP solution included customers choosing curbside carryout and providing needed information, alerting the restaurant of their arrival, team member awareness of curbside order and team member notification of customer arrival.

Strategy & Impact

Targeted KPI's were:

Key risks we considered throughout the process were that curbside had already started to become a baseline expectation from customers by the time we began this work, although we had rolled out no contact delivery immediately during the pandemic, we were slow to roll out a well orchestrated curbside solution. Additionally, we knew we would only get credit from great execution, due to experiences provided by Panera, Chick-fil-a and Target that were highly integrated and automated. We also wanted to monitor restaurant operations impact and team member safety.

Competitive Reviews

We extensively reviewed QSR and retail curbside pickup end-to-end experiences. While there were some common themes and outcomes, there was a lack of standardization across industries. All brands seem to have variety in footprint, but those most successful have designated areas to park for customers and designated stations with dedicated team members to execute. With something like pizza, timing is critical so food remains hot and fresh.

Innovators in curbside pickup are using both location technology to understand the proximity of the customer to the pickup location for optimal wait times and freshness. A challenge remains in training employees to execute these experiences, because the front-line service is critical to the outcome. We did find that regardless of the policy, some companies employees were not following procedures as advertised or instructed and the experience fell short of expectations.

Technology & Store Design Considerations

One of the more challenging aspects of designing and operationalizing a curbside solution is taking into account the design of the store itself and the surrounding area. Geofencing is a great option to use in combination with customer location services and hardware in the store. Some stores may want a dedicated terminal just for this, and others may find a way to integrate it into existing terminal and software.

Many Papa John's stores are designed differently, and many do not have dedicated parking spots. In the event they don't or they were all being used, we needed to make sure we had a fallback solution. Capturing the vehicle information ensured that the customer would be found by the employees easily.

Digital Experience Outcome

The primary objectives of the implementation of curbside pick-up options within the digital experience were tactical in nature. We wanted to give users an easy way to select the option and fill out necessary information to make their experience smooth once they got to the store, by setting the correct expectations. Ultimately, user entered vehicle information into a modern and smooth interface, and had instructions on what to do at various touch points such as the order confirmation screens, post-order email, and Papa Track.

Clear and simple explanations and instructions along the way helped set the right expectations with users so their end to end curbside experience could be executed flawlessly.