Delivery Monster

As you would all be quite aware of my thoughts on delivery I thought I would share with you a box topper we have started using this week.

Delivery drivers are extremely hard if not almost impossible to get at this time due to the lowest unemployment in history, unbelievable high wages being paid in the mining and associated industies and the price of petrol sitting around the $1.30 per litre mark.

We have a good team of drivers but are down to one driver on Saturday night and are working bare minimums on other shifts.

Our business is increasing at a rate of 25% and more people are after deliveries which is causing delays, especialy if there is a major sport event on TV or the weather turns fouls (we are now in winter with all the storms and rain - thank goodness we don’t get snow).

Our new box topper is reinforcing customers of our normal high levels of service on deliveries but explaining that at times, circumstances out of our control cause delays to delivery times quoted.

We also remind them of the critical shortage of all types of workers in the hospitality trade, especially pizza delivery drivers and how this has been widely reported in the media. We ask them that if they know of anyone looking for part time work then to tell them we need workers.

In the end we reinforce our high level of service we provide and thank them for their understanding and patience.

Hopefully this PR camaign will make customers realise that at times not everything will go to plan and that there may be some unfortunate delays.

My wife and I feel it is better to advise them upfront in advance of what could happen rather than to fight the fires on all fronts should it happen.

They then have the choice to get deliveries but maybe wait a bit longer than what they want to or come in and pick up. The other option is going to a competitor but we know (and tell the customers this) that none of them can meet our times or service. I phoned our competitors and asked how long deliveries would be and even Domino’s quoted up to 2 hours.

Everyone is in the same boat with lack of drivers so customers have to change their expectations and we are subtly doing this with our boxtopper.

At least they will be forewarned.

Dave

we all feel your pain in getting/keeping good staff, much less good drivers…

that is what I’m struggling with - do I open the new store w/o delivery & a “cheap” price?

sad to say, I reckon most people in the states could care less that YOU have a labor/driver shortage - they just want their pizza HOT & NOW…many will be willing to pay the premium, some will come pick it up & many will try elsewhere…

that is one reason why the Little Caesar and I guess the Pizza Patron models are successful

Hello Dave,I don’t know if this would be worthy butt,can you advertise something like order your pies today for tomarrow at a specified time and get some type of deal?This giving you some lead way and plenty of time.

                                 Niccademo

Instead of boxtopping excuses, why not box top Now Hiring Drivers?

Since they are getting deliveries they know how much $$ they tip.

We’ve done it and it has worked!

A. The reason to send out boxtoppers explaining the realities (“excuses” is rather pejorative) is that no one likes surprises. Admitting up front and taking responsibility for informing the customers demonstrates a concern and empathy for their situation and needs. It is a relationship building tool that leads to loyalty and respect. Or at least it does in my market in Western GA. Aussies may be different, but I do believe it will work for them the same. Just send out a pizza 2 hours after the order and make no forwarning, and you get irate customers . . . .and they will call to tie up the lines complaining. Let 'em know you care and are working on the problem, and you will get their empathy in return many times.

B. Where are you located? I am not being short, with you but I do want to mention that Dave is in Western Australia, and they are already paying $10/hour wages and losing employees to lucrative mining jobs. This is an economy wide issue where he is. What works in Midwest USA will not necessarily fly in his economy right now.

C. You can actually do both if there is any reason to think that a boxtopper will draw reliable employees with clean driving records.

Funny you say that about now hiring drivers we have done boxtopping “Drivers Wanted” for over 12 months now on an as need basis and have sent out around 2,000 and gusess what? NOT ONE REPLY!!!

As far as excuses I concur with Nick said completely.

I don’t call it “excuses”. I call it responsible business management and customer relationship.

Dave

dave, how many deliveries are you doing a day? Every driver i hire is dumbfounded how much money they make. as long as the pay is right, and the delivery reimbursement is great, you won’t lose them.

My drivers make $6 per hour and get a $1.50 reimbursemnt per delivery. They go home with no less then $75 in tips per night. along with their pay… its a $100 day for 4-5 hours.

I am in the same kind of economy as Dave. I have drivers that take home from $150 to $200 everyday but they are still leaving to go work in the oil patch.

Big Dave,

Funny you say that about now hiring drivers we have done boxtopping “Drivers Wanted” for over 12 months now on an as need basis and have sent out around 2,000 and gusess what? NOT ONE REPLY!!!

I see your problem with lack of return. Let me help you out here on this one…

Instead of “Drivers Wanted” on your boxtopper, you actually create a separate, small half-page boxtopper. This boxtopper is called a “mini-ap”, or mini-application. On it you have them list the same basic things you’d have on a regular application. The only difference is that you put some clip art, a logo, and some other junk to make it a little more attention-getting.

By doing this you actually have an application in the potential employees hand instead of waiting for him/her to come into the store to apply.

Hope this helps. -J_r0kk

I have done this exact thing and gotten ZERO for responce. The money is just too good out in the Oil Feild.

Another thing, Daddio, if that didn’t work for you is headhunting. Tell your current drivers to bring in friends, friends of friends, and aquaintances of friends of friends. Once these people work for 30 days, pay your “headhunter” $100 bonus for each new teammember brought in.

-J_r0kk

That simply will never compete with the larger marketplace where Dave is (if he isn’t lying to us . . . or exaggerating to cover up his bungling labor management skills) where unemployment is shrinking and there are legal jobs to be had easily that are paying twice what he can offer. For a 5 hour shoft, he’d have to guarantee/assure in the neighborhood of $30 per hour in reimbursement in order to get close to the competing market . . . I may be off somewhere, though.

Consider that fast food joints are no longer able to pay minimum wages in USA and keep employees. It is just that much bigger issue in Australia right now . . . I guess it’s that metric system or something.

I do believe he can get schmoes in his market to hobble around and spit on customers for $6 an hour plus tips, but I wouldn’t wish that even on the “Hot and Ready” guys. That said, I do buy into j_r0kk’s ideas to try some more ideas that could be creative and could force the recogintion into more people’s hands. Doesn’t hurt to “keep throwing out the nets since your driving the boat in the water anyway”. Just throw a different net in a different place.

Dave’s 1st Law of Duck Hunting: You gotta go where the ducks are. Once you find the ducks, hunting is easy.

Our new box topper is reinforcing customers of our normal high levels of service on deliveries but explaining that at times, circumstances out of our control cause delays to delivery times quoted.

The reason I used the word “EXCUSES” is because it is just that, an excuse. If you QUOTE a time you should be there in that amount of time.

Doing what we say we are going to do is what makes our customers trust us. Why not tell them on the phone BEFORE they order.

I understand being short on drivers but in my book it is NEVER acceptable to have a “2 hour” delivery time. NEVER! Even an hour is not okay. If you are going to have a pizza place which delivers then you are a pizza place that delivers and in a reasonable time frame.

Could you imagine ordering at 7 and finally getting your meal at 9. It would only happen once in my book, I WOULD NEVER ORDER FROM THEM AGAIN…ESPECIALLY IF THEY EXPECTED ME TO PAY FOR SUCH POOR SERVICE.

Give me break!

It seems to me you are in danger of giving away commercially sensitive information.

I am planning on opening a delco, and I wish I was located in you town, WA Dave. Why? Because if I was to receive your (frankly whinging) boxtopper stating how busy you are and how you are struggling to meet demand (ok, you might not be explicitly saying that but it is clear reading between the lines), then I would be thinking hey there’s an opportunity here. Then when I read your posts stating that demand is increasing at a rate of 25%…

I think say for myself (and many others here) that getting customers their food as quickly as possible in all situations. My shop keeps close eye on production flow, and the projected times of delivery. We generally make a compenstation of some sort if we go over an hour and we had not forewarned the customer.

One man’s ‘reinforcement’ is another man’s ‘excuses’. Seems from where I sit, there is a play on semantics going on. Dave tells everyone the delivery timing realities of his overall business, and it’s “excuses” . . . you “but explaining that at times, circumstances out of our control cause delays to delivery times quoted”. Tomayto - tomahto.

“Rasonable” is also one of those terms that no one can define for me and my customer base. Only I and the people who spend their hard-earned money with me get to decide what we consider reasonable. If we decide that 90 minutes is reasonable on a Friday night when the power goes off in a whole subdivision, and there are ZERO other options in town, so everyone in the subdivision calls within 30 minutes . . . . then that gets to be the definition of reasonable.

NEVER is an ugly mistress that is fickle and likely to bite me on my butt if I walk with her. I avoid spending much time with “NEVER”. I get enough humbling moments in my week not to go begging for more.

I think say for myself (and many others here) that we demand getting customers their food as quickly as possible in all situations. My shop keeps close eye on production flow, and the projected times of delivery. We generally make a compenstation of some sort if we go over an hour and we had not forewarned the customer.

One man’s ‘reinforcement’ is another man’s ‘excuses’. Seems from where I sit, there is a play on semantics going on. Dave tells everyone the delivery timing realities of his overall business, and it’s “excuses” . . . you are “explaining that at times, circumstances out of our control cause delays to delivery times quoted”. Tomayto - tomahto.

“Reasonable” is also one of those terms that no one can define for me and my customer base. Only I and the people who spend their hard-earned money with me get to decide what we consider reasonable. If we decide that 90 minutes is reasonable on a Friday night when the power goes off in a whole subdivision, and there are ZERO other options in town, so everyone in the subdivision calls within 30 minutes . . . . then that gets to be the definition of reasonable.

NEVER is an ugly mistress that is fickle and likely to bite me on my butt if I walk with her. I avoid spending much time with “NEVER”. I get enough humbling moments in my week not to go begging for more.

Nick,

I think what the “guest” is simply trying to say is this…

Why would you say to a customer “crap happens & this is why…blah, blah, blah…”

The bottom line is WE ALL have pitfalls & make mistakes, some more critical than others.
The “regular” customers all understand this, however the 1st & 2nd timers don’t & more importantly they don’t care. If his business is growing at 25% then he must have alot of “new” customers. I assume that their out look is the same…excuses, excuses! Remember these people all work too, and they relate their job to ours (even though it is another BEAST!) they think “if I started giving my customers or my boss excuses I’d be fired!”
Rest assured issuees that arise because of understaffing; due to not enough workers, death, sickness, or just plain dumb luck, result in the same think…potential problems. If your driver leaves on time, gets rear-ended & delivers the pizza 1 hour late they are gonna be pissed, and don’t care if he is hurt or not, sad but true.
There is no quick fix, or sounds like…12 months searching for drivers, no not so quick fix either.
Bottom line is you work smart, effective, and never cut corners. When a customers calls & you’ve got 10 deliveries backed up, you simply tell them it will be 1 hour. If it is not acceptable to them at that point then that is their choice to not order.
As far as reasonable…ha! Resasonable can ONLY be defined by the guy holding the dollar (no matter how un-reasonable he may be!)
Remember, they choose us for a reason…quality, price, service, convience…each one different.
I think the flyer could work with some folks & could piss off some folks…remember they are only opinions!

Just my thoughts!

The answer to the above question is that we have established at Nick’s Pizzeria a ‘partnership’ with the larger segment of our customer base. Call it a realtionship. It is based on trust and communications. It’s a give and take. We explain the limitations of the services we provide, and we listen to reasonable requests for exceptions to our standard services. We outline what changes have occured which necessitate changes in the available services. If they continue to buy from us, we will make efforts to accomodate unusual requests as always.

Reread the post you are referring to. In that post, the author states that telling a customer is not okay . . . even, dare I infer, “unacceptable”, or that all deliveries in all situations in all pizzerias in all markets must deliver all orders in under 60 minutes.

Your thoughts were receive on my end as opinions and thoughts. No all CAPS or absolutes. My response is entirely to the proclamation that one person’s business model and situation is the model whereby all businesses must operate. Really, “guest” claiming that whatever business he/she operates, wherever it is located is isomorphic of the conditions and marketplace where WA Dave is, is silly talk. Business concepts/philosophies are one thing, and the realities of an macroeconomic marketplace are another. Plans work really well until the enemy is encountered.

I am defending Dave’s strategy of working to improve his labor situation/stability and informing the customers of the service level that he is able to provide . . . with an explanation of what it will take to make the service level different.

I truly buy into doing everything one can to serve an expedient product to the marketplace. I am even more in favor of developing a “contract” of service with my marketplace. The terms and consequences are pretty much the responsibility of the store and the customers. If my shop violates the “contract”, then we lose that customer. If my ‘contract’ involves telling customers that there will be times that I simply cannot deliver their pizza in under 75 minutes, they accept that as a part of doing business with us at this time, then that is our ‘contract’/relationship to manage.

PS. isomorphic is http://tinyurl.com/29g5tl

I’m truly stunned. I have respected the posts here for some time and I am stunned at the responses related to this situation.

Nick…when I said never it truly means never. I WILL NEVER collect money from any customer who has to wait 2 hours for a delivery.

IF it were to happen ONE time, I would re evaluate. I would stop delivering until I corrected the PROBLEM.

It is a SERVICE and they PAY for the SERVICE.

The next thing we will be doing when we are short on waitstaff is having the customer bus their own tables. I find the entire discussion ridiculous.

What would I do in this situation? I would call every friend and relative and tell them I need help. I would deliver myself. I would buy a vehicle and hire people to drive MY car. I would stop delivering…if at that point it is what we are still calling it.

I’m stunned!

That simply will never compete with the larger marketplace where Dave is (if he isn’t lying to us . . . or exaggerating to cover up his bungling labor management skills) where unemployment is shrinking and there are legal jobs to be had easily that are paying twice what he can offer. For a 5 hour shoft, he’d have to guarantee/assure in the neighborhood of $30 per hour in reimbursement in order to get close to the competing market . . . I may be off somewhere, though.

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I’ll give you a bit of an idea what they are paying on the mines.

Truck drivers in big 150 tonne tippers on the open cut mines work 14 days on 7 days off. Some do 4 weeks on 2 weeks off. They work 12 or 14 hour shifts and live on site in transportable accommodation units. All meals are paid for.

The average annual wage for them is anywhere between $100K - $140K which is roughly $1900 - $2700 per week. They fly in / fly out for the job (company paid).

Sure it is long hours, you’re away from home, family and friends, but some young guys aged 21 are owning their own homes, driving big 4WD and go overseas for holidays twice a year.

The mining boom in our north-west is so intense that they can’t get enough workers. A guy I know who has an engineering business which specialises in repair work for the mining industry gave all his workers a $400 per week pay rise just to keep them and to stop his competitors poaching them. He is lucky he passes the costs on to the bills for the jobs he does for the mines.

We have the hottest economy in Australia and probably the world in Western Australia on the back of this mining boom. They cannot get the iron ore dug out of the ground quick enough to supply the China market.

Young guys are going to the mines as they see it as the big chance to set themselves up and who can blame them.

Cooks are getting $100K + per year on the mine sites, cleaners $90K and engineers $250K.

Who wants to work for $10 per hour plus delivery fee and tips.

Hope this gives you some sort of insight.

Dave