Delivering in SNOW!

Okay, So today we have gotten 5" of snow and it’s not slowing down. I don’t have any drivers with 4 wheel drive. I drive a crappy Camry. I am in Wisconsin and have this is our first winter, I have noticed the sales increasing when the weather gets bad. Should I say no deliveries tonight because the roads are so bad and people don’t shovel their driveways?

We got 12" yesterday…A typical winter here in British Columbia…And the pzza places just keep plugging away and hardly miss a beat…RCS…

We stay open and deliver during snow storms. If needed, I will deliver myself. I own three 4x4’s with oversized tires that I can lend to my drivers. If a driver doesn’t want to work in a bad storm I won’t make them. We have had some very snowy winters in the past; if we shut down every time it snowed we would be closed about 5-10 days a month.

About 2 years ago we had a very bad blizzard. You should have seen the look on people’s faces when I drove by them in my lifted jeep with a pizza car top sign on, while they were digging their car out of 2 feet of snow.
If you drive a camry I wouldn’t risk it during a bad storm. If you are in a snowy area I would trade it in for a 4x4 truck and register it under the company for a write off.

It’s really up to the delivery driver as to when they feel it is unsafe to drive. I’ve had drivers with big 4 wheel drive vehicles tell me they wanted to stop after an inch of snow was on the ground. I’ve also had drivers with little Ford Fiestas that won’t ever stop taking deliveries no matter how much snow’s on the ground.
We never stop doing deliveries totally when it snows. We’ll close down sections that are too hilly or are dangerous during inclement weather. It’s tough because as the weather gets worse, you usually get busier and how the heck can you turn down business ?

This is our first winter too. Here in Michigan, we’ve had very little snow, but I still deliver rain, snow, or sleet regardless. We just say that itt will take a little more time.

I look at it as a positive, more money to be made when delivering.

I run around 8-10 cars and 4 mopeds on a busy fri/sat.

when its snows its hell as we are usually way busier than usual but a) it take much longer and b) I lose at least 40% of my delivery capacity as you can’t bike in snow - although last time it snowed one of my bikers told me it was unsafe to ride so I clocked him out then watched as he got on his own motorbike and rode home - not that bad then!!

no easy way to deal with this other than to:

a) quote long (but accurate) times
b) keep as many drivers as you can
c) stop going to areas where drivers say its unsafe

and finally when you get complaints about long delivery time offer buy one get one free on collection - you’ll get some customers down BUT any who say no way I’m not going out in this weather - well they can’t really complain about the wait.

I have only stopped deliveries once and that was at the request of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The roads were so bad they couldn’t get their 4x4 police trucks out of their parking lot. I still had the diehard pizza lovers at my door.

I personally don’t feel that a customer should get something for nothing because an ice storm came through and they have to wait for delivery. It’s another story if the weather conditions are good and you are late.

“I’m sorry Mr. customer that your pizza took over a hour in this ice storm and the salt trucks have just started salting. let me give you some cash out of my pocket for being open for you and having our drivers deliver your food in hazardous condition while you sit on your fat in a warm house”. —

“Mr. Jones, thanks for your order. As you can see, the roads are a mess. We are still delivering but can not promise a time. Current deliveries are running 40-60minutes. Your order will not sit on the oven for that period. It will be delivered fresh out of the oven piping hot to your door. Would you like to add a order of wings tonight for 5.95 a dozen?”

As long as my drivers feel safe they deliver. If they dont then I take over. I do limit our out of town deliveries to out rural customers if it is really bad dut more often then not those are the ones I will take I have only got stuck once in 7 years.

Pizzatime, I wasn’t suggesting you simply give stuff away - what I suggested was that you can take the pressure of your drivers by having a great collection special on those days. I’d rather have a few extra collection’s on BOGOF and as a result a fewer deliveries and better deliveries times.

Luck for us we don’t have to worry about deep snow, or snow at all.

Currently we are averaging 85 degrees Fh and heading for 100 -104 at the end of the week.

Our problem is getting people to eat pizzas when it so darn hot!!! All our customers want to do is go to the beach and drink icy cold beers and our fantastic Western Australian wines.

Hats off to you guys with deliveries in the snow. If I was in your postion and someone wanted a delivery with the snow up around your ears I’d tell them to make a toasted sandwhich and enjoy the TV :lol: (only joking of course)

Its a real different world to what we know with our low, low winter temperature only going down to 32 Fh during winter nights and only as low as about 45 Fh during really cold days - and we complain how cold it is.

Good luck to you all in this time of adverse weather in your part of the world.



Slow as she goes, Tell your drivers, to slow down, and think about every approach to each delivery site. They might find its better to park in the street, and walk the 100 yards up the driveway to the house, rather than driving up a narrow driveway of 5" virgin powder.

It has been snowing in my neck of the woods this thanksgiving. Some of my drivers have 4 x 4, but most of them just have Front-wheel drive with a good pair of all-season radials with studs. If your drivers aren’t confident snow drivers, don’t send them out in it, you will only send them packing, the confident snow drivers will earn substantial tip incomes, and the rest won’t. If you don’t have any drivers who will drive, make sure to field each call with and apology, and get addresses to send out sorry cards(a postcard with a $5.00 discount or something free on it). There is a good chance your customers, may hang up with you after being denied, and they will call your competition. Hopefully, they have a terrible experience with your competitor, and come running back when the weather is better, but you never know. So its best to gather there info, and send them some kind of appology letter, in hopes of retaining them for future deliveries.

Offer discounts for Carryouts, and Dine-ins, during the inclement weather. Be sure to give the customer, better approximations of delivery times before taking the orders, so as to reduce the number of inbound phone calls, and keep lines free for new orders.

I refer everyone back to my post. What kind of business are you running? The weather is dangerous and you give the customers freebies??? Is your product that bad??? I just dont get it. This is my 5th location and it seems that a lot of people posting here are wannabee dominos/papajohns.

Let me fill you in on a little secret, dominos and papajohns are not the future of pizza unless you live on coastal areas that dont understand quality.

Papajohns along with dominos can not make it where I am. If you want to be a stomach filler pizza shop then go ahead.

I agree entirely with your sentiments.

We have hold ups with deliveries at Christmas time with hoards of people coming out to look at the houses done up with Christmas lights. Some streets have 20 or 30 houses done up and people flock to them like moths to light bulbs. This can often slow our delivery drivers down by up to 15 minutes so we tell customers that due to the vast amount of people out looking at the christmas lights our deliveries may be up to 15 - 20 minutes later than normal.

We never give them something for us being slower due to something completely out of our control. I don’t see why you should.

If they are not happy with waiting then tell suggest that their pizzas will be ready for pick up in 10 minutes and see how quick they will say “No its OK. I will wait until your driver gets here” Most of them are too lazy to get off their fat butts and will concede a later delivery time.


Hi Dave

To be honest I think you and pizzatime have either misread or misunderstood the previous posts.

Neither of the post in question suggest giving people something for free just because the delivery is ‘a little late’, the two comments were:

a) I suggested offering a really good collection special to get people off their backsides and come to pick up (a pretty good idea whenever you stuggle with delivery), and
b) Tommy suggested that if he couldn’t deliver to them at all due to poor weather that he’d give them a bounce back offer.

Both are ways of trying to keep service levels to a high standard when conditions are hard.

To simply say a) ‘well its going to be 20 minutes late take it or leave it’ or b) ‘sorry I can’t delivery - tough luck’ is not in my opinion very good customer service and as we know customers tend to let you know about it by using someone else.



I think there is a bit of misunderstanding in total.

I agree with your [i]a) I suggested offering a really good collection special to get people off their backsides and come to pick up (a pretty good idea whenever you stuggle with delivery)[/i]
On News Years Eve and New Years Day we had NO DRIVERS. New Years Eve didn’t really matter as we closed at 9pm and didn’t get many orders for delivery anyway, but on New Years Day when we had a 10% public holiday surcharge (common for public holidays in Australia) we told customers who wanted delivery that we would waive it if they picked up. All but 2 went for this offer. This was ONLY offered due to us not being able to have drivers available for the night.
Normally if we struggle with delivery times we tell the customer that if they cannot wait the extra time we can have their pizza ready for pick up in 15 - 20 minutes depending on what night of the week it is. We fast track their order.

To simply say a) ‘well its going to be 20 minutes late take it or leave it’ or b) ‘sorry I can’t delivery - tough luck’ is not in my opinion very good customer service and as we know customers tend to let you know about it by using someone else.

[i]Sometimes things are completely out of your control and if you are honest and upfront with the customer about delivery delays the majority are OK about it.

It is interesting that the 2 Dominos around me struggle with their delivery times with one now quoting a minimum of 2 hours wait mainly because they can’t get/keep drivers. And guess what? They don’t offer any deals or compensation and they still keep their customers.

I guess that we are not so much driven by the need for deliveries as in the US because it is mainly (99%+) of deliveries for take away food is from pizzas. Not many others offer delivery so the expectations aren’t as high… People are used to phoning for their Fish & Chips, Chinese, Italian and going and picking it up at the store (less than 0.5% of these offer a delivery service).

I would never comtemplate a “I can’t do it - tough luck” approach, but I’m sorry I won’t compensate for trying the best I can do in circustances out of my control. Would you offer compensation if you couldn’t deliver because a bridge over the river was closed by the authorities, or traffic was banked up for miles at a standstill due to a major accident? There are so many scenarios that could delay deliveries that are out of your control. Are you going to offer something for eveyone of them?

Its a two way street and customers have to be more understanding about the other parties needs as much as their own.

Pander to them and compensate for actions you can’t control only raises their expectations and demands to unrealistic levels.

Yes look after your customers but keep it in perspective.[/i]


Hi Dave

I certainly wouldn’t agree with ‘give something for free’ in every situation (the road is closed etc) but you can work around individual situations, however on the bigger issues I think we’ll have to agree to disagree.

If the majority of my customers orders were late I’d be pretty keen to ensure that they knew a) why they were late (maybe the snow wasn’t bad in their area), b) that we were also dissapointed in our service and c) give them a bounce back.

This way a) its an opportunity to get in front of them again, b) it sends a clear message that service to our customers is really important and c) encourages them to use us again with the bounceback.

The bounceback is just another good offers we use so we’re not loosing out so much.

Compare this to the 2 hour wait from the Domino’s and lets think which one the customers would really prefer. To be honest I doubt Domino’s will keep its customers for long with a two hour delivery time - can you imagine ordering at 7pm and get it at nine - I don’t care how good the pizza was anything our an hour and I’d have eaten the couch.


It’s beautiful and sunny all week and never fails, Friday at noon it starts. By 3pm you got 14â€

OK Kev. Time to wipe the egg off my face.

Tonight was one of those nights from hell. Lost one driver because he broke his foot playing indoor soccer last night, leaving us with one for the night. Normally no real problem for a Thursday. Only problem tonight we got hit hard and had a sellout of dough, even the emergency lot. We did about $600 -$700 over a normal Thursday.

To add to this we had an unusally high delivery count and with only 1 driver this blew our times out of the water.

From 8.50pm to 9.05pm we took 25 orders and 12 of them were for deliveries. Unfortunately the girls on the phones didn’t check how many orders were deliveries on hold and kept quoting “normal” delivery times rather than move to “busy” times.

Consequently we had major delays and customers phoning to ask where their deliveries were.

Guess what?

I will be sending out our “Sorry we slipped up” apology cards to about 5 customers offering them free delivery on their next order (we charge for delivery here at around $5), because we had unacceptable time delays.

Only doing this because IT WAS OUR FAULT. We should have been more on the ball.

Happy to say I’m wiping the egg off my face. :smiley:

Tomorrow (Friday) is Australia Day (the founding of Australia by the Brits 236 years ago) andit i a public holiday where everyone takes on the national game of getting drinking in the sun and getting very p1ssed, so we can expect a large number of deliveries. We will ahve big delays but we will advise the customers of it due to the holiday and will adjust all our deliveries to the max time. (With no compensation)