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Dispensary Workflow Tips: Setting up Delivery, Curbside Pickup, and Order Ahead

25 March 2020  |  18 min read

Online pickup window at Green Dragon

With each passing day, more states are deeming cannabis dispensaries as “essential businesses,” which makes them eligible for temporary regulation amendments.

Colorado, Oregon, and Michigan are allowing curbside pickup. California is granting extensions on paying taxes.

These types of industry changes often pick up steam as they go, so we’re anticipating more states will start doing the same. To stay current with what cannabis measures are being taken in your state in light of COVID-19, see this chart.

In the meantime, these sudden changes will require you to operate your business in a different way. To help serve both your customers’ needs and the mandates for social distance, you need to change your workflows.

No one knew COVID-19 would sweep through and impact business the way it has, so you may not be set up to handle order ahead, delivery, or curbside. Maybe you’re already doing order ahead or delivery, but not curbside. Or maybe your state hasn’t allowed delivery, but now is. Alternatively, maybe you have temporarily closed your doors (either by choice or mandate).

Regardless of where you’re currently at, we’ve got a workflow to help keep your operations efficient, while also maintaining compliance and prioritizing public safety.

The workflows are separated into ordering options and receiving options. You have the opportunity to customize your workflow based on how you want customers to place their orders, and how they are going to receive their product from you. You can either choose one from each list, or offer several options; just be sure to communicate with your customers so they understand your new operating procedures.

Jump to a workflow below to quickly get your dispensary ready to handle new types of transactions during the coronavirus pandemic.

How customers place orders to your dispensary

dispensary place an order online

The challenge right now is to find new ways to allow customers and patients to place their order without coming into your dispensary. Here are a few options.

Dutchie or Jane order ahead workflow | API integration

This workflow is for customers placing their order using Dutchie or Jane integrations within your POS. Customers can access your online menu through Dutchie or Jane and place orders remotely.

Requirements

  • Cannabis POS - Flowhub customers need to be using the new Cashier experience
  • Dutchie API integration or Jane API integration
  • Staff
    • Dispatcher - or someone to watch the incoming orders, communicate with customers, and notify customers when the order is ready
    • Budtenders - to fulfill orders

Workflow

  1. Customer places order online through Dutchie or Jane.
  2. Order is received in your cannabis POS system. Dispatcher confirms the order within Dutchie or Jane and passes to the budtender.
  3. Budtender manually checks in the customer and builds the order within the POS.
  4. If this order is for delivery, print two receipts, one for your delivery driver and the other for your records when reporting to Metrc and reporting taxes. Notate the full address (or minimally, just the zip code) on the receipt. Some states have different tax rates based on the delivery address. This step will help with the tax reporting process.
  5. Budtender fulfills the order and completes the order through the POS. If they are out of stock, they can recommend an alternative or let them know that they could not fulfill the complete order.
  6. Customer is notified when the order is ready via text from Dutchie or Jane.
  7. Customer pays for and receives their product — workflow is dependent on which receiving workflow you choose.

Phone, text, or email order workflow | No API integration

This workflow is for customers placing their order via phone call, text, and/or email. Customers could place their order from the comfort of their own homes or from your parking lot (curbside ordering).

We recommend choosing one of these methods rather than allowing all three to help streamline and operate most efficiently.

If you are not allowing customers in your dispensary right now, you'll need signage or staff outside to direct customers how to place their order via phone/text/email.

Requirements

  • Phone - to accept text or call-in orders and communicate with customers
  • Email - to accept email orders and communicate with customers
  • Staff
    • Dispatcher - or someone to watch incoming text orders, answer the phone, check email, communicate with customers, and notify customers when their order is ready
    • Budtenders - to fulfill orders
    • Budhop - like your old-fashioned carhop, the budhop helps customers understand the process
    • Security - to manage the front door
  • Menus - can be an online menu or a real-time printout of your inventory
    • In Flowhub, pull this info from the “Get current inventory” section within the inventory tab. Pull this report throughout the day to keep current. To make this a customer-facing document, export and remove a few columns.
    • Another solution is the Par Level Report; have it automatically email at the top of every hour.
  • Business cards - or some way to easily share contact information so customers know the number or email address to call/text/email with their order. Consider making a simple card to hand to customers that spells out your new process to limit interaction with staff.

Workflow

  1. Customer either texts/emails/calls from home or drives to your dispensary.
  2. Budhop meets customers at their car and lets them know to remain in their car and place the order through text, call, or email. The budhop provides: A) a menu of current inventory, B) contact information or instructions, and C) required information to include when ordering: full name, date of birth, MED card # (if applicable), and phone number or email address to know when the order is ready. This information will be verified when the customer pays for their order. If curbside pickup, you'll also need to know make, model, and license plate number of their car.
  3. Customer submits their order via text message/email/phone to the dispensary.
  4. Dispatcher passes the order to budtender. The budtender pulls the order for the customer. If they are out of stock, they can recommend an alternative or let them know that they could not fulfill the complete order.
  5. Dispatcher texts or emails the customer when their order is ready.
  6. Customer pays for and receives their product — workflow is dependent on which receiving workflow you choose.

Email form order workflow | No API integration

This workflow is for order ahead in dispensaries that do not have an integration with Dutchie or Jane.

With this workflow, customers will submit their order via a templated email form before they come to the dispensary.

Requirements

  • Email - to accept email orders and communicate with customers
  • Google Drive - for building an email order form
  • Staff
    • Dispatcher - or someone check email, communicate with customers, and notify customers when the order is ready
    • Budtenders - to fulfill orders
    • Budhop - to help customers understand the process
    • Security - to manage the front door
  • Online menu - either directly within the order form, or link to an online menu (ideally one that is updated in real time).
  • Customer communication - email your current customers with a link to the order form and instructions. If you do not have email addresses, use social media and your website to let customers know the process.

Workflow

  1. Create an order form (here’s an example order form) including the following: Full name, date of birth, MED card number (if applicable), email address or phone number (to notify when the order is ready), and available pick-up time slots (if you want to offer pick-up scheduling). If curbside pickup, you'll need to know make, model, and license plate number of their car.
  2. Once the order form has been received via email, the dispatcher creates the order within the POS. Here is an example order tracking sheet to keep track of orders.
  3. Budtender fulfills the order before the customer’s pick-up time. If they are out of stock, they can email the customer with an alternative or let them know upon arrival that they could not fulfill the complete order.
  4. Dispatcher emails the customer that their order is available to be picked up.
  5. Customer pays for and receives their product — workflow is dependent on which receiving workflow you choose.

How customers receive their orders from your dispensary

order-ahead-dispensary-workflow

Once you have the customers’ orders, there are several options for how to get the product into the hands of customers.

Your city or state regulations may limit which option(s) you can choose, so be sure to keep a close eye on updated mandates to ensure you’re staying in compliance.

In-store pickup workflow

This workflow is for when customers come into the dispensary to pick up an order that they place through phone/email/text or through Dutchie or Jane’s order ahead feature.

It’s important to remember that if you’re still allowing customers to enter your dispensary, it must be done under strict social distancing. See our post on keeping employees and customers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic for more tips on this.

Requirements

  • Phone/email - to notify customers when their order is ready
  • Staff
    • Dispatcher - to communicate with customers, and notify customers when the order is ready
    • Budtender - helps customers who enter the dispensary, including fulfilling orders and completing transactions
    • Security - to manage the front door. If you’re doing order ahead only, this person will ensure anyone who enters has placed an order

Workflow

  1. Dispatcher informs customer via text/email/phone or through Dutchie/Jane that their order is ready.
  2. Customer drives to the dispensary if they aren’t already there.
  3. Customer goes to the dispensary door. Security checks ID and customer waits in the queue (if applicable) for an available budtender.
  4. Customer and budtender review the order together and budtender checks the ID again.
  5. Budtender completes the transaction and sends the customer on their way.

Curbside pickup workflow | Colorado, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Michigan

This workflow is for curbside pickup, which is new for Colorado, Oregon, and Michigan dispensaries through amended laws. This workflow can be used with any of the ordering workflows.

Note: On 3/23/2020, Colorado is mandating recreational dispensaries do curbside pickup only (med can still do in-store transactions). Colorado update 3/30/2020: Recreational dispensaries are allowed in-store sales again with extreme social distancing. Both rec and med can still do curbside pickup as well.

Note: As of 3/27/2020, Massachusetts is allowing curbside pickup at Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MTCs) for qualifying patients and caregivers,

Requirements

  • Phone/email - to notify customers when their order is ready
  • Staff
    • Dispatcher - to communicate with customers, and notify customers when the order is ready
    • Budtender - to fulfill orders inside the dispensary
    • Budhop - like your old-fashioned car, helps customers understand the process and delivers product to customers in their cars
    • Security - to manage the front door and ensure no customers enter
  • Nug for check in (optional) - Flowhub’s mobile Nug device can be used for checking customers into the queue and validating IDs. The Nug serves as a handheld way to triage customers based on order of arrival.

Workflow

  1. Dispatcher informs customer via text/email/phone or through Dutchie/Jane that their order is ready.
  2. Customer drives to the dispensary if they aren’t already there.
  3. Budhop meets the customer at their car, verifies ID, collects the cash, goes back into the dispensary, and completes the order in the POS.
  4. Budhop brings back change, hands the product to the customer, and sends them on their way.

Note: You could offer a curbside order and pickup process, where the customer would order from their car, the budtender would go inside, process the order, go back out, inform the customer of the subtotal, verify ID, collect cash, make change, and then the budhop would bring the product to the customer. Using one of the order ahead workflows above will streamline operations, but know that a curbside ordering process is an option.

Another emerging option is to offer drive-through pick-up. If you have a building with an exterior window that opens and your state regulations allow it, you could consider this modification. The workflow could be just like curbside — where they either order ahead or order at the window — but instead of a budhop bringing the order out, they’d work with customers or patients through the window.

Delivery workflow using Dutchie | California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, and Oregon

This workflow is for using Dutchie to receive online orders for delivery. Not all states allow delivery, so check with your local regulations on whether this is a feasible workflow.

This workflow will only work with the order ahead through Dutchie workflow above.

Requirements

  • Phone/email - to notify customers when their order is ready
  • Staff
    • Dispatcher - to manage the Dutchie queue, and notify customers when the order is ready
    • Budtender - to fulfill customer orders
    • Delivery driver - to bring orders to customers and complete the transaction
  • Cannabis POS - for Flowhub customers, you’ll need to be using the new Cashier experience
  • Dutchie API integration for delivery
  • OnFleet or Google Maps - for building routes for your delivery drivers
  • Michigan only: Either API integration to Dutchie or the state online ordering system

Workflow

  1. Customer places order online through Dutchie.
  2. Once the order is fulfilled, the budtender finishes the order and prints two receipts, one for your delivery driver and the other for your records when reporting to Metrc, reporting taxes, or making adjustments. Notate the full address (or minimally, just the zip code) on the receipt. Some states have different tax rates based on the delivery address. This step will help with the tax reporting process. In California, there are advanced tax laws and you need to track delivery location to ensure appropriate taxes.
  3. Dispatcher sends the order out for delivery with a driver. Use Google Maps to plot out routes for delivery. * Michigan only: You need to chronicle any non-delivery stops and there is a maximum of ten cannabis deliveries per trip.
  4. Most states need to include a manifest from Metrc (this is true for Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, and Oregon). This pulls the delivered quantities from your Metrc packages. * Flowhub customers: To prevent negatively impacting inventory, follow these steps: 1) Pull your Metrc CSV offline, 2) Using your delivery receipts, isolate the delivery transactions, using the date/time field, along with quantity field, 3) Remove those transactions from the Metrc Receipts CSV, 4) Log into Metrc and upload sales, 5) Finalize sales for the delivery manifests. Note: If you have two transactions that happened at the same time, go to the adjustments page and look up the sale using the Sale ID.
  5. Driver delivers the order to the customer. Driver verifies ID, and the customer pays at the time of delivery. We recommend collecting a signature at delivery (this is required in Michigan).

* Michigan only - You need to fill out a delivery log to accompany the delivery order and Metrc manifest. Here is a sample Medical Delivery Log and Recreational Delivery Log. The delivery log must include the following fields: 1) date and time that the delivery began and ended, 2) Name of the delivery employee, 3) Amount of marijuana product allowed to be possessed for delivery, 4) Lot number of the marijuana product and name of the strain of that marijuana product, 5) Signature of the customer who accepted delivery, and 6) Deviations made under subrule 7(d).

* Massachusetts only - Only marijuana and marijuana products that are shelf-stable may be delivered. Products that are perishable, or time and temperature controlled to prevent deterioration, shall not be allowed to be delivered by or on behalf of an MTC.

* Massachusetts only: Dispatcher either creates a medical delivery manifest or a recreational delivery manifest for every delivery. The recreational delivery manifest must include: 1) The originating marijuana retailer name, address, and license number, 2) The name and license number of the delivery-only licensee or a marijuana establishment with a delivery endorsement performing the home delivery, 3) The names and marijuana establishment agent numbers of the marijuana establishment agents performing the delivery, 4) The consumer's name and address, 5) A description of the narijuana or marijuana products being transported, including the weight and form or type of product, 6) Signature lines for the agents who transported the marijuana or marijuana products, 7) A signature line for consumer who receives the marijuana or marijuana products, and 8) Delivery vehicle make, model, and license plate number.

The medical delivery manifest must include: 1) The originating MTC's name, address, and license number, 2) The names and MTC agent numbers of the MTC agents performing the delivery, 3) The patient or caregiver's name, address, and registration number, 4) A description of the marijuana or marijuana products being transported, including the weight, form or type of product, cost, and transaction number entered in the patient sales system, 5) Signature lines for the agents who transported the marijuana or marijuana products, 6) A signature line for the person who receives the marijuana or marijuana products, and 7) The MTC vehicle make, model, and license plate number.

      Optional adjustments process

      * Flowhub customers: Since you are completing the sale before receiving the payment, you can track this within the adjustments page. Here’s a video to help with this process.

      1. Look up the sale by the Sale ID.
      2. Highlight the sale and select “Edit” under the details.
      3. Select “Field to Edit.”
      4. From this dropdown, choose “Payment Amounts to Edit.”
      5. Select “Cash.”
      6. Select a “Reason.” These are not pertinent to the transaction; you can select “Incorrect Quantity,” for example.
      7. Complete by selecting “Yes, Re-Calculate.”

      What to do if you’re temporarily closing your dispensary

      Some dispensaries are closing, either as a safeguard to employees and customers, or because the state required it. Either way, this comes with some concern for the future.

      Security checklist for closing day

      Please ensure:

      • All of your cannabis products are securely stored in a vault or safe.
      • All of your money is securely stored in a vault or safe.
      • Your security equipment is fully functional and online.
      • All doors and windows are locked and secured.
      • Valuables are away from windows/doors.

      What to do while you’re closed

      Use this time productively to enhance your business and get to those to-do’s that you usually don’t have time for. Sometimes an unexpected slow-down gives us time to plan for the future.

      Here are some things you can do now to help your store when things return to normal:

      • Do a thorough audit and make sure Metrc, Flowhub (or your POS), and your store all match.
      • Evaluate products and make plans to bring in new products, enhance offerings of certain brands, or stop carrying others.
      • Look at your tech stack to determine business opportunities, including order ahead, online menus, loyalty programs, informational offerings within the store, etc.
      • Beautify your waiting room with a fresh coat of paint, new chairs, or just a different layout.
      • Update your website, logo, social media pages, or other brand opportunities.
      • Dive into store data to better understand your business, maybe eliciting updates in staffing, store hours, specials, etc.
      • Do a deep clean, including inside every display case, the back rooms, bathrooms, offices, etc.
      • Review staff, update standard operating procedures (SOPs), conduct trainings (maybe even virtually) with staff, etc.

      Conclusion

      This industry is always evolving, but since coronavirus became a pandemic, we’ve seen some unexpected changes. This has caused some panic in the industry as dispensaries need to dramatically shift the way they do business, sometimes overnight.

      We hope these workflows help you adjust to the “new normal” while maintaining some sense of calm in your store and amongst your staff. Public safety is the primary concern right now, and it’s our responsibility to make sure customers and patients have access to the products they need, while following the regulations at hand.

      If you’re a Flowhub customer and need help getting integrated with Dutchie, or would like a Nug to help your curbside operation, send us a note to help@flowhub.com or (844) FLOWHUB. We’re working round the clock to make sure you have what you need to stay successful and compliant.

      If you’re not a Flowhub customer, request a demo today. We can get you up and running in a matter of days.

      0284 From The Hip Photo

      Chad Heater

      Manager of Customer Solutions and Services at Flowhub

      Chad Heater is one of the longest tenured employees at Flowhub, with over three years of cannabis experience in product support, training, implementation, and solutions. His passion for cannabis stems from seeing how it benefited his best friend when battling cancer. He brings this passion daily to the Flowhub team and cannabis industry to work towards national legalization giving everyone the opportunity to access safe cannabis.

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