“Food Pickup App is the Future of the Food Industry”: Do You Really Need It? This Will Help You Decide!

food pickup app is picking up these days.

In 2019, Snackpass food pickup app reported it had raised $21 million in Series A funding. Within a few months to this, in the pandemic stricken world of the year 2020, the significant question arose if the order-ahead app was to be the next stepping stone for the food industry. The global lockdown proved that for the foreseeable future, the biggest loss suffered in the food business is likely to be by food stands, restaurants, and vendors unless they happen able to pivot and offer meals with minimal human touchpoints.

However, a Food Pickup App could be the way out in these crucial times. It might also uniquely pave way for the course of change in the food delivery business.

Food picks up or orders ahead food app usually lets its customers schedule orders ahead of time. The Concept suggests customers can preorder anywhere from 2 hours to 4 days before they want to receive their order. Food orders move from Scheduled to Active closer to the expected pick up time. One can track their orders via mobile apps hence limiting the hassle to call to know the status.

Food pickup App has already witnessed the upstart with its success in the food industry. In late 2014, Taco Bell launched its mobile order-ahead app. It was the first large chain “quick-service restaurants” to roll out an order-ahead app for its customers. The benefits of which were almost immediately realised. According to reports, by mid-2015, Taco Bell was reporting that average order size through their mobile app was 20% greater than their in-store average order size. This figure jumped to 30% by the end of the year, 2016.

Reasons Users Love Food pickup App

User Friendly – It lets users browse participating restaurants, order ahead, leave special instructions, and pay within the app.

Customers Love Jumping the Line – Order-ahead food apps offer discounts and let customers skip the long waiting line. Thus becoming a time-saving option. Order-ahead experiences are supposed to have quick service which is fast and easy. 

Mobile Ordering Meets the On-Demand Economy – Food businesses set the stage for mobile apps. Such a food pickup app enables consumers to identify, order, pay, and receive services.

Monitor User History and Buying Patterns – Create app engagement with loyalty programs and speciality menu items. To get your customers to become regular into the order-ahead habit, it has to be easy. Monitoring the user’s history and buying patterns to showcase an option to repeat regular orders.

How could Food Businesses leverage a pandemic situation through App?

Restaurants around the globe have had to change their business models because of COVID-19. The pandemic has forced some out of business, but others are trying to adapt to different models.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Center for Disease Control (CDC), and U.S Food and Drug Administration(FDA) all say that there is no evidence that the novel coronavirus is transmitted through food or food packaging. The main concern is the transmission from person to person, according to Ryan Steele, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Yale School of Medicine and program director of the Yale Allergy & Immunology Contact Dermatitis Program. This is where one can bring in the concept of takeaways once again be in food businesses. Places like the United Kingdom and the United States of America have always been flourishing in terms of the takeaway market.

India, on the other hand, ever since the introduction of food-delivery apps such as Swiggy, Uber Eats, and FoodPanda became a home-delivery market. But, with the recent change in scenarios due to pandemic has caused fear and distrust towards food delivery. The fear was build up when the Zomato delivery boy who tested COVID positive in Delhi’s Malviya Nagar and got 72 families into quarantine. After such times, it is possible that many customers in the future would prefer to rather pick food from their favourite restaurant on their own for greater safety, and want to eliminate a handler in the middle.

Adapting to the Digital Realm

Sparse attendance at restaurants – Social distancing will be the biggest bane of the restaurant business. The pick-up in business will be directly proportional.

Greater technology, no waiting, no contact –There is a prediction of a decrease in street food consumption, greater pick-up in take-aways, and better prospects for home delivery. Small eating places and remotely located restaurants and empty dining rooms, with minimum ratings, are depending upon various pickup options.

Generating Profit – Regular users can schedule a fixed order for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily to save time. Online food delivery is gaining popularity among both consumers and foodservice providers as it is benefiting both. Consumers are adopting online food delivery because of its ease, speed, and precision, while foodservice providers see the potential for increased revenue, reduced labour expenses, and reduced errors.


Another order-ahead food app successful example is Ritual. The core idea of it is to Order ahead for contactless pickup. Ritual is a way out for independent restaurants to test off-premises ordering. The app’s pickup-only focus makes it cheaper for restaurants to participate such as no drivers to pay. This way they can easily gauge how much their customers want off-premises orders and which meals work best in a to-go environment. The simplicity of the food pickup app makes it appealing to restaurants that can’t or don’t want to fork over fees associated with some of those other apps.

Chipotle Digital Kitchen

Chipotle a fast-casual Mexican chain recently announced a new restaurant format. This model of business works around dealing with services pickup and deliveries. The Digital Kitchen concept is focused on accelerating the digital business in non-traditional locations. It is unique because it does not include a dining room or front service line. The guests must order in advance via, the Chipotle app or third-party delivery partners.

Curt Garner, Chief Technology Officer of Chipotle said,

“The Digital Kitchen incorporates innovative features that will complement our rapidly growing digital business while delivering a convenient and frictionless experience for our guests. With digital sales tripling year over year last quarter, consumers are demanding more digital access than ever before so we’re constantly exploring new ways to enhance the experience for our guests.”


Famous fast-food company McDonald’s back in 2019 had acquired artificial intelligence (AI) developer Dynamic Yield for more than $300 million. This was done to revamp its drive-through touchscreens and self-serve kiosks for better personalization.  With more people turning to takeout and delivery to avoid public places in 2020, due to the coronavirus outbreak, McDonald’s has evolved and has a plan to make its drive-thrus faster. It’s testing express lines for people who place digital orders ahead of time, as well as dedicated pickup spots and automated ordering.

Food Pickup App is the new Drive-Thru

food pickup
Long Queues at restaurant’s drive through. Courtesy: Sky News

Be it Food Delivery app or takeaway app, mobile ordering has also become a big business. According to statistics around 60% of U.S. consumers order delivery or takeout once a week. According to another report, 59% of restaurant orders from millennials are takeout or delivery.

Keeping these preferences into consideration Grubhub, a well-known food delivery app has partnered with around 300,000 takeout restaurants in more than 3,200 US cities.

With modification in the process of the food delivery business, the introduction of order-ahead food pick up apps has caused the concept of takeaways and drive-thru to evolve. Food places will no longer require their customers to wait while their order gets prepared. The long car queues near drive-thru will witness a reduction in traffic with the prerequisite order being put in.

Food Delivery Apps could also modify themselves and generate significant revenue. This might prove to be a successful venture for them as they tap into an unexplored market of the food industry. Food Delivery Apps can provide a separate space to small restaurants, dining places, and popular food chains such as Subway with special options on the menu to place food order ahead for pickup from the app. This will help them attract customers under the time-crunch to opt for takeaways and drive-thru.

“Every problem is a gift — without problems we would not grow.” – Anthony Robbins

Order Ahead Food Strategy has given a new meaning to food pickups. It has given businesses a promising head start and has the potential to bring about positive changes to the dimension of food business. It is the one true solution to the problems and shortcoming of customers and  eating places respectively.

Redefining Experience with Food

  1. Solving problems like lack of time, space and shortage of funds to invest in a third party for maximum reach of the business. This direct restaurant to customer workflow has proven to be beneficial to both the parties. 
  2. With no third party intervention, the benefits are directly passed to the customers. 
  3. With no sharing of user’s information for delivery purposes, the data of the customers remain safe and secure. 
  4. The high commissions given to the third party are eliminated with eating places setting up their own order ahead food pickup app. Hence, securing long time loyalty of customers and creating a brand image for themselves.

End to End User Journey on Food Pick up App

Food pickup App is the next stepping stone to creating an evolved and better future. It offers a significant business strategy for those involved in the food industry. The overall experience from the ordering to pickup is user friendly to a great extent.

  • Signing Up – Users can easily sign up to the app with the phone number and verify it through OTP. This is necessary to ensure that the user is on board. The phone number used will be the default phone number to be contacted on by the restaurants when the order is being processed.
  • Browse Menu – Restaurants/Grocery stores can display their menu items for customers to make a choice. Restaurants may offer a few options for balanced meals in order to attract a variety of customers.
  • Add to cart – Add the items you’d like to eat to the cart. Users can place a request for extra disposable cutlery along with the food order. Special instructions about food can be given (example – no tomatoes).
  • Schedule – Users can then schedule the date and time for your pickup of their order.
  • Easy Payment Options – Customers can directly pay Online within the app.
  • Tracking – Users will be subjected to real-time tracking of the food. They will be updated using the tracker by the restaurants once the order is ready.  Customers will be notified to pick it up.
  • Pickup – Customers can then head to the restaurant/grocery store to pick up their order. To ensure safety, this can be done from the pick-up window. Customers can enjoy and relish their order prepared by your restaurant.
  • Rate & Review – An option to provide feedback through Rate and Review option will be available after every order to maintain transparency regarding the service.

Make Real – Improvise. Adapt. Overcome

At Yati Labs, we could help you design, develop and launch your own custom white-labelled food pick up app solution. Within the app, one can easily incorporate all the payment gateways or mobile wallet app services available in the market. Payment Modes such as Google Pay, PayPal, Amazon Pay, iOS Wallet, Stripe, Credit/Debit Card, Online Banking and Cash On Delivery (COD) alternatives will be available to provide a smooth hassle-free experience to the customers. Restaurants and Grocery Centres can offer promo or voucher codes usage from a similar page to their regular customers under the loyalty programs. 

Yati Labs believes this strategy would surely help small businesses as well as giant food chains. It is bound to build up customer loyalty, grow their brand image and diversify their business.

Drop us a line in case you are looking to build a food pickup and/or delivery app.