Delivering to other towns

I am a del/co in a town of 6000 people. There is a town 5 miles away with about 1500 people and one about 9 miles away with about 2500 people (I grew up in this town) Many people from these towns want me to deliver to them and a new hotel with a water park just opened in one of the town. (already booked until September) I don’t know the best way to go about delivering to them. Another pizza place use to do it on a time schedule if you ordered by 5:15 it would be delivered in the 6 o’clock run, they would do this for 3 hours a night. I think it would be a pain to try to quote times and keep order hot. I do free delivery in the town that my store is in, and am thinking of adding a $3 delivery charge for the other towns, who would this go to? The customer may not tip as much if they have to pay a $3 fee and I don’t want to be paying someone $6.50 an hour to run two deliveries and then getting the fee. I thought about being the main person making these deliveries, since I know the people and towns and then I am not paying someone else to do it. Any suggestions?

It’s a tricky situation there. Sure, your business would go up short term, but what about long term? You’ve gotta consider how sending your drivers out to these other towns will effect your delivery service in your current town. If you do decide to charge a delivery fee some of it should go toward the driver, say 2.00 of it if you charge 3.00. If you decide to do this you will want to hire and train more drivers to handle the expanded delivery area. In my company we shortened the delivery area in one of the stores. Business actually went up because we were able to better focus on serving our customers in the smaller delivery area. The key to expanding delivery areas is first nailing customer service and speed of service in your current area, then you hire more drivers and train them and concentrate on speedy service. I would definately tell the people in the two towns you’re considering that it will take considerably more time to deliver to them but ensure that they will get the most timely service possible as well as hot food. You might want to explain to them that the delivery fee you are charging is to reimburse the driver for his or her gas and NOT a tip. Lots of people confuse the two. If these people in these towns want delivery bad enough, they will pay the extra three dollars for delivery fee and they may tip as well.

We have a similar situation with smaller populations involved. We just cannot reconcil the numbers of having to send a driver out to a 10 mile run and make a profit on the deal. Consider that it is 15 to 20 minutes each way, and 10 to 15 minutes at the drop. Should be less, but customers aren’t always cooperative. That means that at best, your driver is out of the loop for 40 minutes, meaning your just spent 75% of his hourly wage on that one customer. Most likly he’s out for 50 minutes on one run. If you pay $5.15 hourly, then that delivery just cost you 3.85 to 4.30. Probably at least twice what any other delivery costs you.

So, I either have to hire of schedule a driver in case we get a long run, or we get stacked up waiting for the 40 to 50 minutes run. If driver gets the additional fee for gas, then the store pays the added fee, plus the penalty for late delivery to other customers. That’s all when it’s NOT Friday peak hours.

If you can at all make it profitable and work into you delivery flow, you will get tons of goodwill out of it, and some added business. It may be sporadic or inconsitent, but it’s business. You could think about a mini-shop closer to them. We have considered opening a tiny pizza only delco in a neighboring town that opens limited nights if we can get the numbers right. So far, we aren’t there. We can’t rely on business levels to sustain us in that new venture with such small population…

[quote=“NicksPizza”]
We have a similar situation with smaller populations involved. We just cannot reconcil the numbers of having to send a driver out to a 10 mile run and make a profit on the deal. Consider that it is 15 to 20 minutes each way, and 10 to 15 minutes at the drop. Should be less, but customers aren’t always cooperative. That means that at best, your driver is out of the loop for 40 minutes, meaning your just spent 75% of his hourly wage on that one customer. Most likly he’s out for 50 minutes on one run. If you pay $5.15 hourly, then that delivery just cost you 3.85 to 4.30. Probably at least twice what any other delivery costs you.

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A spot on analysis.

We dropped our outer area deliveries some time ago because of the time drivers were away.
On average they were gone for 45 minutes, often taking only 1 delivery.
We did the sums 45 minutes @ $10 per hour (what we pay the drivers) was $7.50 plus we paid a delivery allowance of $3.50 - previous posts explain why we need to pay these figures in Australia. A total of $11. We charged $7.50 delivery for these areas so we lost $4 per delivery, plus our closer delivery areas were being adversely affected, often waiting over an hour.
We dropped these outer ares which only represented about 3.5% of our total deliveries (about 1%- 1.5% of our total sales) and concentrated on where the bulk of the business is.
Deliveries are now down to 45 minutes at peak times and most are around 30 minutes. Sales have gone up and drivers are getting a hell of a lot more tips (bear in mind that Australia does not have a tipping culture) because customers are getting pizzas faster.
At times we get people calling from out of our delivery area asking for delivery because they want our pizzas but we refuse point blank to deliver because we don’t want to jeopardise our current business / customers. They even offer double our delivery fee but we still refuse.
They could offer tripple the fee and we still wouldn’t do it because our bread and butter customers would be penalised. They can’t underrstand why won’t do it even when we explain it to them.
Take it from someone who has done the outer area deliveries and seen business suffer, and loose money on it, and heed my advise - DON"T DO IT AT ANY COST from your current situation.
I learnt the hard way.
Dave

I don’t remember where I read it but someone here on this forum suggested not delivering more than 8 minutes away from your store.
I cut my area down to 8 minutes away and have reduced the wait time for the closer customers and increased the number of deliveries per day. The drivers like it better this way because they are not putting out as much gas money and are making more in tips due to the quick service.
Some of the customers that live beyond the 8 minute area complain but the diehard fans come to the store and I give them a freebee to make up for them “going out of their way.”

One thing we used to do back in the day was the “meet at”. This is where we selected a well lit gas station (preferably open 24 hours) towards the edge of our delivery area. Most times the out of area customers agreed to this policy and we developed pretty good business providing this service.

The downfalls:

  1. Sometimes drivers wind up waiting there for extended periods of time, even after calling the customers to inform them we were on the way.
  2. Sometimes customers never showed up.
  3. There is somewhat of a security risk involved because you’re not going to the customer’s house, but waiting for a car in a parking lot.

I don’t do the “meet at” anymore. This was back when I first started in the pizza business. I quit the practice, not because of the security issue (which is actually a VERY big concern), but because it was simply a pain in the butt. Instead, I offer carryout specials with very large discounts for large one topping pizzas for customers who come to the store to pick the pizzas up. This way I get extra business from customers who aren’t in my immediate area and those customers get great pizza at the fraction of the cost. It’s a win/win situation.

The carryout specials are what I would suggest. However, I wanted to throw the “meet at” philosophy out there just in case you wanted another option. If you are thinking about going with this philosophy, carefully weigh the pros with the cons before you make your choice. The last thing you need is a driver out there for 30 minutes waiting on a customer, and more importantly a driver getting hurt by someone who wants to make a quick buck. -J_r0kk

I really suggest avoiding the meet-deliver option. The risk is having multiple draw-backs at one drop. If you can arrange it on slooowww nights and have definite deliver times for several customers at once, it might almost be worth it. It puts a lot of extra management and tracking pressure on your systems for what are probably infrequest customers.

The carry out specials makes more sense. Loyalty cards make it too. I am considering selling “commuter” cards to customers far away that give them discounts for like a year. $10 cards gets you 10% discount on take out orders for a year . . . or $3 off one large pizza each visit, whatever. That way, I can determine how far out to sell them, and they get some ‘special tratment’ that no one nearby gets. It would work as loyalty program as well. I haven’t thought this totally through, but our situation makes it a possibility.

I would agree, avoid the “meet” delivery drops. these can be dangerous for the drivers. I’ve heard of countless cases where a driver has been robbed or worse by “meeting” someone somewhere. The risks to the drivers are too great in my opinion