Delivery Benchmarking

So we bit the bullet after 25 yrs of saying “we would never do it”. Although a few places offer it there are none with a quality product and quality service so we figured we give it a shot

Our POS has been a godsend and could not imagine working without one, especially for delivery.

We have not advertised delivery yet in order to get all the kinks out, but it seems to be working well. We currently have a 1 driver scheduled at a time, but will need more as more people become aware of our added service. Our lunch (11-4) and dinner (4-9) drivers seem to be averaging about 20 runs each and at least $15/hour with tips. Any guidelines as to when additional drivers are needed?

Anybody out there add delivery after already having an already busy take-out (75%) and dining room (25%)? How did your breakdown in sales delivery vs dine-in vs take-out change? What % did gross sales increase as a result of adding delivery?

From the looks of things it seems we are keeping laot of our regulars as take-out still, but getting alot of new biz through delivery


I sounds like you are already busy enough to have 2 drivers on. 3-4 deliveries an hour is a good goal per driver, but not if you are only running one. If you hope to give good service(fast delivery times) you have to get the volume of deliveries to where at the slowest times you can staff 2 drivers without killing your payroll.

If you can get the pizzas to the house within 30-40 minutes you should be good. That is an average wait time for deliverys. Sometimes we reallynget slammed and have to tell people 45-1 hour and rarely get a complaint or a “no thanks we will try someother place”

The problem isn’t the time it takes to get the pizza to the house, the issue is how long the pizza SITS. For instance, if the order won’t be made for 20 mins, 10 mins to make and cook, then a driver takes gets it to the door in 10 mins, then no, 40 mins ain’t bad. But if you make it and it sits for 30 mins before the driver ever leaves with it, then 40 mins is bad.

That’s why it’s important that your driver have some means of communicating back to the shop while out on the road (like a cell phone or a Nextel-style 2-way radio deal). That way he can give you a buzz when he’s on his way back and you know to hold up on sending the food through the oven until he calls.

Sorry, but the better answer is to have another driver on staff so you don’t have to wait to put the deliveries in the oven. If you deliver your goal should be to deliver your orders as fast as possible while maintaining the quality of product you are looking for.

I’m not sure I get what you’re saying. If the driver is doing just fine getting to the door in 30-40 minutes already, why do you need another driver unless you’re getting ready to bust the door wide open and go big with advertising your delivery service? That’s just more payroll expense for the store, and it would cheat both drivers out of deliveries/tips. You wouldn’t keep either driver for long that way. And if you’ve got a driver who is consistent at getting to the door in good time, you want to keep him.

If I were in that position, rather than pay someone for 20 hours a week to be the back-up driver, I’d rather just pay $50 or even $100 a month for the cell phone (or even better, have the driver use his own and give him an allowance for used minutes) so I can not only know when to put the food in the oven, but I can also make sure he’s okay.

The answer to both questions, time and labor expense, is (da da da DAH) CROSS TRAINING…

Having a goon sitting around doing nothing but delivery is a waste of time and money. Having a person do nothing but anything is a waste. Depending on the volume a store does, there’s almost no reason that everyone can’t be expected to run deliveries, cook, do prep, wait tables, answer phones, whatever. Ideally, yes, the cook will be cooking, the servers will be serving, but esp in a small volume situation, the more everyone can do the better.

A second driver is the answer. What that second driver does is the option. Daytimes, we have at least 3 people geared toward delivery every day, but at least 2 will be doing prep or helping in the kitchen or whatever. And, the shift lead in front usually will take up some slack if needed. Yes, that means everyone has a little more to do, with the thought that lots of time could be spent delivering, but that’s the realities of the business. The “lead” delivery in the daytime usually does dishes too. At night, we’ll have at least 4 dedicated delivery people from 6-8, and the shifts dovetail before and after that. They’re doing dishes, folding boxes, bussing tables, restocking, cleaning, whatever needs to be done. Everyone seems to have their specialty and preference of job, so it works fine.

Admittedly, this is a fairly busy place. daytimes it’s not unusual to have 20 large and/or small deliveries before 3 pm…nights, anywhere from 40 up is expected.

I’m just addressing the original poster’s situation. Cross training is great, but if there is a driver getting a steady 3-4 deliveries an hour and he’s covering every delivery in the house in 30-40 minutes, he’s got no time to be doing anything else. Which is fine, because he’s getting the job done for which he was hired. He doesn’t need a backup, from the makeline staff, the back kitchen, or anywhere else. All this driver needs is a method of communicating to the shop while out on the road, so that they know he’s safe, and they know when he’s on his way back so they can start the food for the next order.

I’m amazed at the number of people who want the original poster to mess with something that is working perfectly fine. Currently, you have one driver who is getting 4 deliveries an hour and making $15 an hour. He’s getting the food to the door in less than 40 minutes. The owner is thrilled that he’s getting such a positive response from something he really hasn’t told anyone about. So the driver is happy, the customers are happy, the owner is happy. Everyone is happy. So naturally, we have to mess with the natural balance that’s been achieved here and bring in another driver. Why? It still hasn’t been explained to my satisfaction.

The only way I would upset this balance would be to make the big jump and advertise the service as soon as I was sure we had the system down pat. The bigger the OP goes in advertising it, the less time it’s going to take to get things back to normal.

If your orders com staggered in perfectly and route together perfectly, one driver will have no problem with 30-40 minute delivery times doing 3-4 orders an hour. At least in my place, rarely do things go perfectly, and it seems inevitable that at times I will get 2 orders back to back at opposite ends of the delivery area, preventing the 30-40 minute delivery.

But the point of my reply was why settle for 30-40 minute delivery times. Don’t you feel volume would increase if you drop your average delivery time by 10 minutes. A small investment in labor may return a great addition in profit long term.

Sure, volume might increase, but it would involve more than a small investment. My delivery times are similar at my store. If I were to hire an extra driver or two, I’d be okay in the short term, but up a creek in the long term. I’d lose any chance I have at retaining drivers. I’d constantly be watching them go through the revolving door, because they wouldn’t be making any money and they’d give up in disgust when they realize I’ve got too many drivers. And who could blame them? If they can’t make a living, why should they stay?

Any sales increase I might realize from shorter delivery times - and I suspect it would be very minor - would pale in comparison to the considerable expense and energy I’d have to go through to find trustworthy employees over and over again just to replace the good guys and gals I already have. I know where my bread is buttered.

I couldn’t disagree with you more. It sounds to me that you are content doing the volume that you are. In todays age with working moms and dads less cooking is being done in the home. More kids are involved in numerous after school activities, which leaves less time for mom in the kitchen. Its all about speed, I have told customers that we will be at their house in 25-30 minutes and had them tell me, can’t you be here any faster. What happens when your driver wants a vacation or two drivers want the same night off, you have no one to fill the gap, and why because you were more concerned about how much the driver makes more than how much you could make or how happy your customer would be with exceptional service. If one driver is taking 20 runs during his shift there is a good chance that 3 customers were not happy with the service, now you put two drivers on and the service is awesome and with awesome service comes more customers. So with two drivers one may have 12 runs and the other 8 and your customers are HAPPY. Eventually business will pick up and each driver will get 14-16 deliveries. I have two drivers on at all times during dinner hours and I have one of my inside guys or girls take the odd ball deliveries. When I say odd ball I mean singles and give my drivers the doubles. 95% of customers order food when they are hungry and they want the food fast to cure there hunger, they do not want to wait forty minutes. I guess what I am saying the faster the better and the faster you are the more customers you will get. I apoligize for the novel that I just wrote, but paul79 was right. I have been in the business for 16 years, 12 as an owner and over the years I have seen the business change. More people have jobs and less time to cook and they want the food delivered fast and I hate to say it but I think they will sacrifice quality for speed.

Okay, lots to answer here.

I’ve never heard ANYONE say that to me in over ten years of delivery. EVER. Besides, the big boys (domino’s, etc.) are setting the pace with their silly two-delivery-at-a-time or even one-delivery-at-a-time rules, which make it virtually impossible for them to deliver in under an hour at peak time - usually about 90 minutes, most times in this area. If I can get good hot food to a customer’s house in anything less than that, which I almost never run over 45 minutes at worst, NO ONE is unhappy. Quite the contrary, we get unsolicited calls and comments all the time about how happy they are.

I never told the original poster not to hire anyone. But I did say that, if he did, he should go big with the advertising, too. That way he can keep his drivers happy with volume AND justify the payroll expense.

My customers always get exceptional service, because I do the work at the front end of the hiring process. I hire grownups to do the delivery work, not kids. Yes, I’m all about making a profit, but I’m not going to mess my drivers over, either. I demand a lot from my drivers, and they work their tails off for me, and I make d**n sure I show my appreciation in ways that count. They put the face on my business, and if that face isn’t smiling, it looks bad on me.

Remember that shift is five hours long, so that’s 4 deliveries an hour, and everyone’s getting food in under 40. I won’t say that the original poster isn’t on the verge of needing another driver, but at his present state, he’s fine, if everything he’s said is accurate.

That’s pretty much how it is at my store, except I run three regular drivers, and as I said, we’re consistently under 45, usually in the 30-40 range, just like the original poster. I still don’t get why 40 minutes is such an evil number to you, or anyone else. We must be talking about different-sized delivery ranges, or different expectations of customers in different regions. Around here, 40 minutes kicks major butt, especially compared to the competition!

And as I mentioned, I’ve been in the delivery business for over ten years - eleven and a half, to be exact - and my experience is quite different. Faster does not equal better, and I’m not going to crank up volume in any fashion and compromise my food’s quality or the quality of service just to squeak out an extra five or ten minutes to-the-door time. If I’m sacrificing any sales because of it - and you wouldn’t know it from the way my customers act - then so be it. I can sleep at night knowing I put out a nice product and treated my employees right in the process.

I didn’t really come here to argue, I’m mostly just a lurker around here, so I hope no one’s taken offense at my deep disagreement on this particular issue. The original poster came here to get everyone’s viewpoint, and I hope it’s benefited him to hear two very divergent opinions.

Certainly no offense taken here. My point has always been why follow the benchmark set by the other places in town, intead of settting the benchmark yourself and make the others follow just to stay alive. You may think 45 minute deliveries are fine, but try delivering in 25 and see the results. If Dominos delivers in an hour or 90 minutes in that same area you will steal most all of their customers. I don’t understand your point of quick means less quality. If cooking a pizza the same way when it is ordered, and delivering it faster rather than waiting on a call from a driver means less quality, then I guess I’m doomed to little ceasers status. All I know is that when I’m hungry 45 minutes is too long to wait.

I’ve written this here in this thread, and many times elsewhere.

If the quality is there, the time doesn’t matter. That’s a fact.

If you have people quibbling over a 30 minute delivery in “prime time” your product is lacking something. People don’t have the desire to have YOUR product enough to wait. If your product is so wonderful, so delicious, so amazingly great, they’ll wait.

Example: (Broadway location)

Even starting at open, with a busy buffet going, rarely is a delivery time given less than 45 minutes, even into the mid afternoon. Often, come dinner hour, on a Friday, 45 minutes is minimum for a carryout, often a full hour. Deliveries can be 90 minutes or more. (that’s the time given. Often, but certainly not always, it’ll be an hour at the most. There are times that it is the full 90 minutes, most definitely. But the product is delivered hot and fresh and the customer is pleased.)

Some 400 TICKETS later (much more than 400 pies, and often closer to 500 tickets on a Friday), roughly 100 minimally have been delivery tickets. Probably 100 are carryout . The buffet accounts for about 100 also. 30 minute wait at the door (until the new expansion is finished at least)–no problem. People WANT this pizza. It’s a busy place, but that doesn’t deter customers—it’s busy because the demand is there, and the demand is there because it’s busy. It’s not like Yogi Berra said “Nobody ever goes there, it’s too busy.”

If you’re promising 20 minute deliveries, and making it, what does that say about the level of your business? The demand for your food? Unless you have a kitchen the size of the Superdome, not much.

Give yourself a bit of a boost, tell the customer the delivery time is a bit longer than maybe is needed. Spoil 'em, give 'em 40 minutes, get it there in 30. (be sure to say “40 or less”, just in case they decide to leave in the meantime, for just that couple of minutes when the driver is likely to show up.) And, give a range of time, 45-60 or less, to allow for traffic problems or an unfindable address or a spilled drink or something.

It works. You don’t have to be the ill-fated “30 minutes or it’s free”. That just leads to crappy food.

Quality. Quality. THEN, service and demand. Quality is first.

"If you’re promising 20 minute deliveries, and making it, what does that say about the level of your business? The demand for your food? Unless you have a kitchen the size of the Superdome, not much. "

It wouldn’t say anything about your business except that It is managed outragously well. Much better than mine. I would venture to say that a place that needs to quote 60 minutes for delivery on a regular basis is severly mismanaged and is leaving a whole lot of $$$ on the table. I leave restaurants most every time when I walk in and am told it will be a hour to be seated. Maybe I’ll wait for a special place, but I don’t eat at these places every week, much less every 6 months.

My point is that the quality can still be there as well as the pizzas getting delivered in 25-30 minutes if a place is staffed and managed well. You may choose not to believe it, but there will be a huge increase in order frequency when the pizzas are delivered faster, and faster doesn’t neccesarily mean lower quality.