Postmates launches curbside pickup to help restaurants reduce in-person contact

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Postmates is launching new feature for its on-demand delivery platform called curbside pickup, which the company says is an industry first that could help more restaurants safely operate takeout businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The option will join pickup, delivery, and non-contact delivery options, and it will be able available for both customers looking to pick up directly from a restaurant and for the restaurants as a choice for how it wants its customers and delivery drivers to accept orders. Postmates first launched non-contact deliveries in March in response to nationwide shelter-in-place and business shutdown policies that went into effect in California, New York, and other cities.

Curbside pickup will be opt-in for restaurants, Postmates says. That means the option will only be available to customers if the restaurant has allowed it, a Postmates spokesperson confirmed to The Verge. If a restaurant decides it wants to handle all orders curbside, it can do so, and both customers and delivery drivers can wait in their cars or outside on foot for a restaurant worker to hand off the order. Postmates says any business with access to the Postmates dashboard, which is available once a restaurant signs up with the platform, can enable curbside pickup starting today.

“To use this feature, the merchant chooses whether or not they want to hand off their goods curbside. If the customer chooses pickup, the customer will ‘Check In’ in real time when they get to the merchant to notify them to come outside,” the company explains in a blog post. “The fleet app will also support curbside pickup, so Postmates will be able to let the merchant know that they are there to pick up the item.”

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