Help from the pizza experts!

At 24 I opened my shop with the intention of selling a great product to the local university students, we offer delivery and carry-out only. Although we receive great foot traffic from the students (when school is in), we soon found our true customers were families living several miles north of us and the downtown businesses which are several miles south. I have been reading as much as possible on here, trying to learn from all of you , and I have found we lack several items which will help us grow. We need a computerized POS system, delivery car with sign or wrap, delivery insurance, uniforms, website, online ordering, fax ordering, etc.
My question is, “What do you believe is most vital to you and your shop and what should be the first investment I make?” I appreciate all opinions and thanks for the help.

POS system!!!

Paul is right: #1 of the things you mention is a good POS system. There are several that people here are happy with. For my part, we have used Prism by Microworks going on 10 years and have been very happy.

#2 is delivery insurance. (not really #2, but more of 1b to done at the same time) You MUST protect the investment that you have. Don’t kid youself that your driver’s own insurance is all you need. That insurance will not cover YOU and when the day comes, you can count on being named in any suit related to a vehicle incident that occurs while the car is delivering for your store.

Uniforms and car signs are nice to have and the car sign really will pay for itself pretty shortly. Fax and On-line can wait. The simpe fact is that not much business comes over the fax and online is really a-ways a-way from being important in most markets for indies.

You can add online ordering for basically the cost of a fax machine. A quick google search brought up TheSaver Online Food Ordering. Looks like a site we have here in Bloomington called Btownmenus.com. Campusfoods.com is another one but without the real “local” focus some of these ones can get going.

Most of these sites charge a percentage of sales and gouge you on the credit card fees, but you can just pass that cost back to the students in the form of a larger delivery fee. That’s what we do. Heck, they might even give you a fax machine for free to get you to sign up.

It’s a way to keep your name in front of the students and get some orders you may not have otherwise. It shouldn’t cost you much (if anything). And it’s something you should be able to have in place before the fall semester begins! If you want to sell to college students go where many are placing their orders… online.

The market is SATURATED and the economy is BAD. Be Unique and different. Be the Shop Everyone talks about and take the time to do it. Don’t leave, don’t skimp and stay right on top of your Customer Service. Offer items nobody takes the time to offer. It is not all about Pizza; be creative.

PD

Like everyone else…definitely a POS.

We use FuturePOS at Campania in Southlake and we picked it because it has a lot of marketing features out of the box…gift cards, loyalty programs, email, online ordering, delivery with integrated mapping - all built in to the POS. We’ve been really happy with it. We looked at a lot of the big systems like Aloha and Micros but found they nickel and dime you to death for added features. They have a local office near us too so support is great. I was going to look at Prism too - but the local support, pricing, and features were really good on Future.

A wee bit of constructive criticism. If you haven’t got thick skin then just stop reading now.

Are you still 24? Huge difference if you opened last month or of you opened a decade ago.

‘True customers’ of the only ones who would order from you? Sure families are going to order $20 on Friday nights, but if you only have 3,000 families in your delivery area, you can’t count on them. Unless of course you are content with $3-4,000 in sales a week.

We need a computerized POS system, delivery car with sign or wrap, delivery insurance, uniforms, website, online ordering, fax ordering

Uniforms? Insurance? Those are some of the basics. I shudder to think of what else you are missing that you just don’t know enough about to even mention it.

My question is, “What do you believe is most vital to you and your shop and what should be the first investment I make?” I appreciate all opinions and thanks for the help.

You have so many things to do that virtually doing anything should improve your operation. The best thing you can do at this point is to chut down for a week and get your arse in gear. That might not be feasible (although some customers might understand ‘summer vacation break’). If you aren’t willing to close, then list up what you need to do and start off on the low hanging fruit. Go to Amazon.com and buy 20 red t-shirt[/url]s for $40. Download and install POSPizza on a [url=http://cgi.ebay.com/COMPAQ-IPAQ-DESKTOP-PC_W0QQitemZ200244065185QQihZ010QQcategoryZ179QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem]$50 used computer to get an idea of what you need out of a POS, get on the phone and call an insurance agent…

Thanks for the help. I’ve been in contact with Phoenix pos and they sent a bid which i forwarded to my accountant. I have business insurance, but the whole delivery insurance aspect has come forward and unfortunately most people I’ve talked to say they don’t insure their drivers! (crazy) My employees have our t-shirts but it seemed as though some on here suggested a whole uniform (hats/shirts/etc.) I chose this location because we have 50,000 students across the street and our main focus was carryout, however we received great reviews from local food critics (tv/radio/print) and it has caused customers to drive here from the surronding areas and they are requesting delivery. As far as differentiating ourselves, we make a unique style of pizza which no one else here does. I know I’m beind many of you, we operate out of 600 square feet and thought our product would be great for college students, but we are now seeing our potential. So in order to grow and meet the needs of our customers I was trying to get feedback as to what should be my first steps and it seems as though the POS is first. Thanks again for all of you who responded.

I would say a POS system is a great start We use Speedline and love it. It is one of the higher priced systems but it has everything along with great support. Once you have it use it find out what sells what your best sellers are etc and then use it to market those items to your customers in your database.

Your kidding us aren’t you???

Your first post on TT on 4th asks “What do you believe is most vital to you and your shop and what should be the first investment I make?”

then less than 24 hours latter your 2nd post om TT tells us that a) you’ve listened to feedback, b) identified c) been in contact with a POS supplier d) got a bid and e)passed it your accountant. In less than 24 hours?

something funny going on here???

There are only 2 colleges in Lacomb, and neither have close to 50k students. You have Canadian University College and Loma Linda, two small 7th Day Adventist colleges.

I think you mixed up the posters. Bighead’s location is Columbus, so he’s at tOSU which clocks in at about 52,000.

Are you an OSU football fan bighead? I graduated from Illinois; it’s a shame what we did to you guys last year :smiley:

I think the OSU v ILL game this year will be for the Big Ten title. Unfortunately, I think you’re going to whoop us good.

Bighead never said that he hadn’t done any legwork before posting the original question, he is just asking what people think the highest priority should be.

D’OH!

I’ll start off with I’m 23…so I won’t judge you by that…We opened our store del, take out, and dine in 0ct 3 last year…This is our first year so i feel that pain…There is a loophole somewhere that delivery drivers can be independant contractors…they are responsible for themselves…We don’t go that route but you might want to considering the ages of people that will be driving for you (most college kids)…

We opened using paper and pens ringing on a cash register from staples…In april we invested in a POS…the best thing we ever did. We use Dinerware, there is a dealer 10 mins away from us, and my partner felt better having close tech support…if it was up to me i would have loaded a dell with Pointofsucces and went off…around the same time we got the system our sales increased 20% and we were able to work with less people…it wasnt that the pos that made our sales go up, we were just able to do more with less people

We have a company that faxes 5 days a week along with emails for 99$ a month…it probably returns 20,000 a month from when we didnt have it…i would say thats important…Getting a fax machine is cheap and easy and everything else you pick up along the way…you are gonna fall…scream kick and punch whatever it takes just keep it real to your customers and your food…everything else comes back to you…make mistakes, learn from them and be nice to the people on here…Its a free run at the institute of pizza research

good luck