Delaying delivery when opening new shop

Any thoughts on not doing delivery immediately - until things get ironed out? Are people going to be upset by this and will it be ‘too late’ to get them if you add this service later?

You’re normally leaving a lot of money on the table by not doing delivery. When we first opened we did delivery then we stopped for about 6 months. One of the biggest mistakes we made since opening 4 years ago. Sales dropped immediately. We restarted advertising delivery and it took almost 6 months for things to get back to normal. Right now we use a service, but in the fall we will use our own drivers.

Hey PJ… just my thoughts on things… my biggest competitor as fas as quality and price has been around for about 10 years now. They have 3 locations and have never delivered from any of them. It all depends on the product you are offering. If you are selling something that the customer is willing to take the 20 mins and come to you…then no problem. If you are going up against the chains as far as pricing and food quality… you better have the engines already running. :slight_smile:

If you are going up against the chains as far as pricing and food quality… you better have the engines already running

Sorry QFC, my personal opinion is that there is no competition with the big chains in term of food quality and maybe even in the pricing category. Your biggest success comes from a quality product and superior customer service – both of which the major chains lack. Basically the only real thing they have to offer is low prices and a familiar name.

If you are planning to deliver - then I think you need to do it from the start.

There will be people that will call for delivery - and you will tell them you don’t deliver yet - and they might not ever call you again - because they don’t know that you now deliver.

No need to make it confusing for the customer.

So the question to be answered by those who demand to sell high quality pizza is this…

Would you rather sell $15k worth of a Little Caesar’s quality pizza or $5k of your high end quality pizza.

I think we all believe that the big 3 is the big 3 because of number of units, marketing dollars and consistency. They have not, as of late, focused on quality, they go for speed and convenience.

We can put all the quality we want in a pizza and only a small part of the population will actually appreciate it.

Just a few rambling thoughts.

Houston that was kind of the point I was trying to make. The problem that I see in here is that it looks like there are a lot of people that are trying to open pizza establishments and are trying to go against the national chains. Personally I do not think it is financially wise to try that route. You have to make it on quality and customer service. I believe that people will pay that little bit more for the better product and the comment I was making was in reference to my local competition that I will be opening against. 10 years and no delivery since day 1. They make a good pizza and they charge a premium price and every single one has been picked up or eaten there. That’s what I was talking about…not actually supporting the idea of trying to compete with the mass produced garbage out there.

Bubba you will always have both ends of the game in whatever type of food catagory you look at. You have the big companys that sell mass produced garbage and the smaller ones that make the higher quality products. It all depends on your market and what you want to make out of your business. If your market only supports the coupon loving always needing a buy on get one free mindset…then you need to buy cheap so you can sell cheap… but the other side of the coin is if you do not want to be tied down by that rat race you can build a client base that will pay for a decent pizza as a meal and not just as a fast food option. The dollars can be there on both ends…just depends if you want quantity or quality. Pick the middle and find which side your market pulls you towards.

I am in NJ, we don’t even really have the big 3 here. This is not about volume by any means. Theres plenty of other choices if you want $5.99 pizzas. Anyway…

Thanks for the replies. My thoughts were also that we should do delivery from the start, wife and business partner thought we could delay delivery. My concern was confusing or upsetting customers and of course if/when we do add delivery, it will be difficult to get anyone on board.

[quote="I believe that people will pay that little bit more for the better product and the comment I was making was in reference to my local competition that I will be opening against. 10 years and no delivery since day 1. They make a good pizza and they charge a premium price and every single one has been picked up or eaten there. That’s what I was talking about…not actually supporting the idea of trying to compete with the mass produced garbage out there.[/quote]

The restaurant grave yard is full of good intention hard working aspiring restaurant owners who thought that people will pay more for a better product. Some people will, but most order from takeout for these reasons speed and convenience. In our takeout we offer 3 different kinds of fish: A good tasting low end,(with a very high profit margin) a middle of the road good tasting and a high end great tasting. The middle of the road outsells the high end 7 to 1 the low end out sells the high end about 4 to 1. Our place is located across the street from another pizza joint that sells traditional style pizza slices during lunch and there’s another joint that sells pizza slices half a block away. In the last week of school we started selling slices as well. For that week we averaged about 30 pizza’s a day (Mon to Fri) All we offered was cheese and pepperoni. The one across the street offers 3 types the one down the street offers 3 types. All 3 of us sell the slice for the same price. I think we have the best product ( I could be a little biased) but what we do have is two things the others don’t; a proofer that allows us to make our pizza slices ahead of time so that when the rush from the two schools and office buildings comes, they’re in and out. The second thing is we are the closest to the schools and office buildings.

In my opinion, if you want to be successful, watch what the successful people do. Don’t take one example of someone who does not deliver and use that as your guide. The fact is most places big and small do deliver. I would probably use the fact that my competition doesn’t deliver to attack their business by offering delivery…but that’s me.
Sorry a bit long winded, but you asked :smiley:

110% on the money…if you are going to do it, do it from the start…tell your partner that on those bad weather days that pick-up and dine-in are dead you will be very happy that you deliver…not only does it save your day it might even be better than normal…we did not deliver for 20yrs and in 3 yrs it has become a major part of our biz

one of the most important things I’ve learnt in this business is about being consistent in all areas of the business. This goes for service as well. Don’t do something that you’ll later change and which will confuse customers. The worst thing in the world is when they call up expecting xyz only to be told they ‘well now we do abc instead’. When you open people will pay a LOT more interest than when you are open. So getting the message out that you’re starting delivery after you’ve been open for a while will be wayyyyyyyy harder than doing it from day 1.

So if you plan to do delivery, do it from the start but be prepared to be busy as the other big thing I learnt was I didn’t have anywhere near enough drivers and that p***ed off a LOT of customers many of whom were put off for a LONG time!!!

Good luck!

There is a lot of ground covered here in this thread. I would suggest a soft opening. Try opening for a week or two, no delivery, just walk-ins and give them a discount (25% is good) and a card explaining that you are in your pre-opening, thanking them, inviting them to your Grand Opening, and offering another discount when they do come in again. I walked into a restaurant during their pre-opening a few years back, and got that same treatment. You can bet I told everyone. They didn’t even mention a 25% discount until the bill came, making it an even better surprise. With that special invite to the Grand Opening, I felt like a VIP from day one.

That story aside, you are fine adding services later on. It is much more of a hit to take away services. Like Capt mentioned, if you start delivery, stopping it (any time) will be a big hit to your sales. It is the kiss of death to start and stop and start and stop. Customers lose confidence, so if you are going to do it, then stick with it. That doesn’t mean that stopping deliver after a few years will affect your bottom line though. A store I consulted for stopped delivery, and sales dropped by 40%. Stress levels dropped by 90%, and the change in profits was negligible. Yes 40% of sales is ‘leaving a lot of money on the table’, but I am curious what Capt’s profit numbers looked line before and after delivery.

To sum that up, open with no delivery, work out the kinks, and then go full bore. You didn’t have delivery before (you weren’t open), so the customer has no reason to be upset about it. If you start from day one, and have hour delivery times, you can be assured they will talk to everyone they know about the crappy service they had with that new restaurant. You can never get a second chance at a first impression.

Sorry disagree with pretty much everything above ^^^^ apart from doing a soft opening (sought of assumed you’d be doing that anyway).

The problem with the above approach is that you simply don’t get any chance to iron out the kinks with your delivery service. The whole point of a soft opening is to try everything in your shop to practise and identify (and fix) problems. So to only do this with one part of the operation doesn’t make sense IMO. If you did a soft opening without delivery you’d make a big hype about your grand opening (when you will start your delivery service) and then get whooped on your first few nights becuase you didn’t get chance to work the delivery kinks out. The impact of having to sort out new problems with the delivery service would almost certainly impact on the dine in and carryout. Why risk it?

A better approach is to have a soft opening but cover delivery as well. That way you a) get a chance to see what the problems are (and there will be loads) across the whole store operation and b) give the staff (both instore and delivery) the chance to practise what you hope will be a load busier when you do the grand opening.

You’ll also get a chance to gauge the level of delivery that you’ll be doing.

If you can’t cope with the level of delivery in your soft opening period you have a BIG reason/excuse to use i.e. 'we’re doing a pre opening week this week and unfortunately our delivery service isn’t fully up and running just yet, I can’t deliver to you tonight but if you come down I’ll make sure you get 25% off and an invite to our grand opening week.

Much better in my opinion.

If you plan on doing delivery out of this shop then you should definitely start with it.

It’s not like you’re going to be slammed on deliveries from day one - you might get a few in your first week. Your delivery systems and procedures will grow naturally with the the delivery business, just like everything else in your shop.

If you don’t start with it you’ll be back here in 6 months asking “How do I get the word out that I deliver!?” when you could have had it bustling already.

I agree with Piper.


I promise not to be as long winded this time :slight_smile: . Try to work out the kings before you open. Soft or otherwise. Even though you will find there is always kinks that have to be worked out on the fly. We tested almost everything on our menu before opening the doors, including the delivery service. You might think it’s a waste of money, but in the long run it’s not. We started with and still use a delivery service. I just finished a mail out promoting a $2.00 delivery anywhere in our area. Depending on where you are from will dictate delivery charges. Most places in our area charge $4 to $5 for delivery. But the point is our product prices stay the same but there is a difference in the prices our customers pay over our competition and I guarantee our business will go up as a result of the delivery promotion.

“Pizzamancer” Delivery is about 20% of our business. Our numbers were down around 16 to 18% after we stopped delivery and even though numbers went back up when we started delivering again, some good customers never ordered again. It was one of the biggest mistakes we (I) made.

I go back on forth on the value of delivery ni our market. What I can sugges to you is deciding what services you can offer conistently and excellently. Can you afford third-party driver insurance?Do you have a good, dense population area to focus in? Apartments? Good location to get in and out of? Does your dining room give you a big enough seating area to make it the core busniess? Does the market you are working in demand delivery? Does delivery fit into the identity/brand you are developing for your business? Do you believe you have a sufficient employee pool to hire safe, effective and reliable drivers? Can you afford the current market rate for drivers in your market?

You will know the answers to these sorts of questions. If it all fits together, and you have the resources, then it may be a good thing to start off with. I also tend to believe that marketing “New Services” isn’t always an evil thing, but sometimes a potential buzz point for news releases and new marketing.

Having your but taken to the cleaners opening day sucks. I have been there. Taking the safer route is better than taking the chance that you will give bad service to your customers. Getting out the idea that you deliver is easy enough. Just drop your whole delivery area with door hangers. Do inserts, Advo, and direct mailings. That is basically a marketing problem. With one store opening, we did a Grand Opening and printed that delivery would start two weeks later on 30,000 fliers. Started distributing them two weeks before the opening, and things were not only smooth, the customers knew what was going on, and we did actually deliver the few delivery orders that came in before the actual delivery start date. People are much more understanding if you let them know ahead of time than they are about getting a 2 hour old pizza delivered.

Do you have a POS? Setting up your delivery system is probably a lot more important at this point than thinking about when to start delivery service, and I think we all could offer some better advice in that department. It is pretty clear that there are strong arguments for and against delivery from day one (Grand Opening or soft opening).

I don’t understand.

What’s so hard about delivering starting day 1? Why is it easier to start delivering on day 30? Or day 60?

If you are going to deliver, then deliver. You wouldn’t tell someone that called “Sorry, we don’t cook well done pizzas right now - we will probably start in the next 30 days. Our inexperienced crew doesn’t need the extra trouble.”

If you night not ever start delivery - or you think you might stop it after some time - then don’t start.

It really isn’t that hard. I can’t imagine delivering from day one bringing your operation to its knees. If it does, then you have other problems that should have been worked out before you ever opened the doors.