Heated Bags

We have a large delivery area - some runs 10-12 miles and it’s tough to keep the pizza hot.

Has anyone tried the Oven Hot heating element from Ultimate Pizza & Hot food. They go inside the delivery bag and are a lot less expensive than the plug in type bag (about $85 versus about $400).

Just want to know if they work before we buy!

I’m going to make a comment on this subject:

One universal complaint about pizza delivery is: “The pizzas weren’t hot when they were delivered.”

These heated bags supposedly keep the internal temps of these bags at 130 degrees so when you deliver them to the home, they’re still hot and fresh.

Pizza City, I’m in the same boat as you. I’ve got some runs that are pretty far out there and I can see that this is a huge factor that I need to address quickly. The last thing I want is a negative comment about the pizzas that are delivered from my store. It’s a huge expense to start up (unless someone would like to fill me in on a less expensive alternative) but in my opinion, it’s not an option but a necessity.

I’m freed up at my store today so I’m going to run an experiment. I’m going to cook a large pepperoni pizza. When it comes out the oven I’ll give you a time and a temp. I’ll then put it directly into a plain, $20 vinyl pizza bag and report temps back to you every 10 minutes. All this is done in a controled environment (72 F).


12:07 pm - 196 F

Straight to hot bag

12:18 pm - 158.5 F <first entry was off 20 degrees. whoops. I corrected it.

12:28 pm - 141.5 F

12:40 pm - 129.5 F

33 minutes

----------------Here’s where heated bags start to pay off-------------------

12:53 pm - 120.5 F

1:03 pm - 118.5 F

1:14 pm - 112.0 F

So I could assume that it would cool down much faster in the vinyl bag during a delivery in 30-40 degrees? The value of the heated bag could be noticable in about 20 minute then probably.

What’s the difference in the vinyl versus nylon? Better/worse/same?

Sorry, nylon bag. -J_r0kk

I tried insert disks, warming bags, everything! They all end up having maintenance issues and take a lot of electricity to run. Now I use specially insulated bags that perform as well as any of the powered units that I used before. I don’t know how they work but they do. I have one set that’s a year and a half old, and temped them out last week–still as good as day one. Check them out: www.covertexcorp.com
It’s the Vac-Pac bag.

So, would the heated inserts in the nylon bag be as effective as the more expesive heated bags (that plug into cigarette lighter)?

Part is cost and the other part is 40% of our drivers have broken cigarette lighters.

We discussed this recently, but I didn’t specify what we use.
THANKS J_R for the temps!
We use TOP NOTCH insulated bags for regular runs (all sides insulated and kinda puffy). We get “Wow that’s HOT” all the time.
For LONG runs, or for holding pickups, we use these - they have the heating element you plug in while in the store, and hold well, but they are NOT $400…


It is true that the heated bags do a great job. They do keep the pizzas hotter for a longer time than the good old tried and true hot bags. I just can’t seem to get past the idea of takeing more than 30 minutes to get a pizza delivered from the store to the customers door. 1 hour round trip? How many drivers do you have on any given shift? Just curious?

russ cox


Here’s a scenario about how heated hot bags come in handy:

The store’s busy and all driver’s are at capacity.

A driver comes into the store and he’s got to take a triple, because the deliveries up are the only ones going in that direction. The first pizza to be delivered is the oldest at 28 minutes. The second pizza that goes with the triple is at 25 minutes and is further than the first. The third pizza that goes with the triple is at 23 minutes and is a little further than the second. All pizzas came out of the oven in 12 minutes. It takes 3 minutes to get the pizzas loaded into the bag, dispatched, and out the door. It takes an additional 8 minutes to get to the first delivery and 2 minutes to get to the door, deliver the pizza, collect for the pizza, and get back into the car. The second delivery is another 5 minutes away. It takes 2 minutes to get to the door, deliver the pizza, collect for the pizza, and get back into the car… The third pizza is 5 minutes away from the 2nd. So, here’s your timeline:

12 minutes : out of oven
11 minutes waiting on the hot rack
23 minutes : dispatched and put into hot bag
26 minutes : out the door
34 minutes : 1st delivery stop
36 minutes : 1st pizza delivered, on the way to 2nd delivery
41 minutes : 2nd delivery stop.
43 minutes : 2nd pizza delivered, on the way to 3rd delivery
48 minutes : 3rd delivery stop.
49 minutes : delivery transaction made.

37 minutes passed from the time the pizza came out of the oven till the time it was delivered. The pizza was delivered in a not-so-great 49 minutes, but I’m sure everyone will agree it happens a few times per week in their stores. According to the timeline I put up earlier, once the pizza gets over 33 minutes the temp drops below 130 degrees. I was mistaken earlier also when I said the heated bags held temp at 130 F. They actually hold temp at 140 F. With that being said, you see their value once the pizza has been out the oven for 22 or so minutes.

Also remember this: This experiment that was done today was in a controlled environment in which the pizza was pulled out of the oven and put directly into a hot bag where it was stored on a table in 72 degree weather. I’m sure you’ll notice in the real world that the pizzas lose even more temps when they’re stored on the “hot rack” waiting to be picked up by a driver, therefore making the heated bags even more valuable. We’re not even going to talk about their importance in winter months.

Hope this info helps. -J_r0kk

Next try this test.
cook three pizzas and place under heat rack for 11 minutes. Bag up all three however your drivers would(separate bags for separate deliveries, or all three in one bag). Remove first pizza from stack after 11 minutes. remove second pizza from stack after 18 minutes, and test temp of third pizza after 26 minutes.

Where will this be different than the scenarios you present?

First you are correct in that the pizza is 37 minutes out of the oven. But in your summation, you don’t account that it is only 26 minutes removed from heat. Since replacing my heat lamps, these things don’t allow the pizzas to cool down much. In fact if I stack too close to them, my boxtoppers will start to burn.

Second, in your first experiment, you removed the pizza from the bag twice and opened the box to check the temp. Doesn’t seem like much, but I’ll bet it makes a difference.

Third, if your drivers would bag up the pizzas in the same bag, they will stay significantly hotter than if it is one pizza in a bag with nothing on top of it. My guess is this will make between 5-10 degree difference. If your drivers put each pizza in separate bags and stack on top of each other, This will still make a large difference. The bags on top being filled with hot pizza will insulate the bottom, latest pizza much better than your scenarios.

If your last pizza is close to 140 degrees you know that you don’t need heated delivery bags for your “close to” worse case scenario. Save $1000 or more and don’t cook the pizzas from the bottom while on delivery.

we run alotta drivers on Fri/Sat (6-9)…I had the best success w/the Accutemp disks…cost 2K or so for 20 I believe…they changed their name tho as they were bought out…

at my store, the delivery pizzas/food goes straight into the Delivery bag after being cut and packaged. I’ve taken as many as four deliveries at a time and have found that on the third and fourth delivery that the pizzas are still borderline warm/hot. we use your normal run of the mill pizza bags. If you can afford delivery bags with heating elements it’s well worth it. You don’t want to get ones that plug into the car cigarette lighter because chances are that Drivers won’t use them, it’s hard enough to get drivers to plug in their car toppers. That would be a huge waste of resources.

j_r0kk, your points are valid, however, “in my opinion”, it is not worth the $$$ for the “occasional” 45-49 min pizza.

russ cox

Lots of great helpful information - thanks! I think our area is similar to j_r0kk in that the long runs happen more often. We’re on the edge of town and the “country folk” love delivery - even if they’re 12 miles away from our store they happily pay a $3 delivery charge to get our food. It’s tough, though, because they still expect fast & hot food. I ran a report on the roads our drivers hate because they average 8-10 miles and 15% of our business comes from that area.

No matter what level we’re operating at, taking care of that 15% of our business is worth the expense. Not suprisingly, it’s an exclusive territory because NO-ONE else goes there!

Wouldn’t it be worth the expense to hire another driver? Better service seems to be the key with me. Sure in the long run the bags would be paid for while an extra driver is forever. But can a hot bag fold boxes? Wash dishes? Answer phones? Make pizzas?

:slight_smile: I don’t need any more help to fold boxes/answer phones & wash dishes. We’re doing fine on drivers and it would be a waste of payroll to hire another one to sit. The problem’s not with the availabilitiy of drivers - it’s with the large delivery area. Yes, we do have some runs that the driver is gone 40 minutes. That’s at the edge of our area and often with multiple deliveries on the run. The hot bag would be helpful.

For some of us non-established guys, you can’t be choosy who the customers are. Would you rather have a driver gone on a long delivery or sitting in the store asking what he can clean next?

I agree, If I do have a slow night I will take orders out of our delivery area I would rather make 5.00 then nothing ( I wont take it if I am going to lose money on it). I also make sure the customer knows that I am doing them a favour and only because we are caught up with deliveries but if we are busy we may have to say no next time. They are all really good about it and we are all happy!

I found that to be a slippery slope offering to deliver outside the delivery area just this one time. When a new staff member gets on the phone on a busy night they see that there has been a delivery there before. Even though it is outside the delivery area they go ahead and take the delivery or the guy on the phone says you did it last time why not this time. To me outside the delivery area is outside the delivery area period.

Ah yes the dreaded new employee saying yes! it has happened on ocasion but since I have my new POS I now put in delivery area 9 (out of delivery area) So now my staff knows that either a supervisor or myself must Ok it. The reason I do this is I have a number of people that place large orders (8-20 pizzas) that are out of our area plus for those slow times when I want to be the hero and go where no other pizza place will go! The POS has made it possible for me to controll the problem you are talking about. We also make very, very, very clear that this is not a regular thing we do and it is not guaranted to happen again and I havent had a problem since.

OK, if your doing fine now, and your customers are happy with your product, Why spend $2K for some REALLY HOT hot bags?

I just don’t see the REAL value.