How would you handle this??

Hello everyone. I have been lurking here for a while and thought I should go ahead and sign up. We are a small Pizza Shop in Middle GA. We have been in business for about a year and a half now. I am partners with a friend that I’ve known for over 20 years.

My question is this:

We took an order last week for a Staff member (she is a media specialist) at our local high school. She had someone come in and get a price on 19 pizzas for her 94 students. She then called the next day and placed an order for those 19 pizzas with my business partner. Well he comes in today and makes them and sends them on to the school. Our driver calls and says that this person said that she never told us to go ahead with the order, but then she says that she found them cheaper at dominoes in a town about 30 miles away. This part I believe, but what I also believe is that she either forgot to cancel the order with us OR just didn’t care to bother to cancel with us.

How would you handle this situation? It would be different if it was 4 or 5 pizzas, but 19 pizzas is alot.

Thanks in advance for your comments.

Personally I would send a letter to the school board about what happened. Be nice about it but make your point about how the situation unfolded. The lack of small business support shown by this person and the lack of responsibility to at least call and cancel the order once placed. Tell them you do not appreciate being taken advantage of by this person and her total disregard to the expense and loss you have now taken. Explain that you are an independent operation and yes the big chains can offer better pricing on lower quality products. That is fine if that is what you are looking for, but she came too you and ordered these 19 pizzas for $xx dollars. Tell them you are fine if they wanted to support a national chain 30 miles away to save a couple of dollars…but it was not fair to do it at your expense.

I would also put in a new store policy to verify all large orders with a phone call the day of and maybe go as far as pre-payment or at least a signed order from the person placing the order for any order over 10 pizzas or so.

Who was paying for the pizzas?..Often teachers buy them out of their own pocket…Calling her out in front of her school board will often do more harm than good…And if it was the school that was paying for the order, remember that any money they saved was probably used class room supplies…So hard to blame a teacher for being “cheap” when they often buy supplies out of their own pocket…Use this as a “teachable moment” and put a better confirmation system in place…But otherwise just best to let it go…

Take a deposit next time.

You hit the nail on the head – NO Support for local businesses! That is exactly what is bothering me the most about all of this. We are in a VERY small town, population of about 1800, and we try to do alot for the community. Sure, they can travel 30+ miles to get to dominoes and save a dollar or two per pizza, but we just cannot do it for that and they just don’t seem to understand that. We are a member of our Chamber of Commerce and I will also be taking this up with them as well. There has to be something that we can do to try and support our local businesses.

Dealing with schools staff members is always a tricky game. I have implemented a policy for schools. All orders to the school must be made through the school’s office. The order is to have a date and time to be delivered, the name of the person or group the order is for, as well as the method of payment.

Royster, that is the problem I am having as well. I am not blaming her so much for being cheap and I know they need to save every dollar they can, BUT she could have had the decency to call and cancel her order after she found the lower price. I am sure she didn’t factor in the 60+ mile roundtrip gas or someone’s time (another school employee on the clock) to go and get the pizzas from Dominoes.

Daddio, that is a good idea. We got a lot of orders from the school for their year-end parties last year and didn’t have this kind of problem but we may start doing that for future orders. Do you just ask them to have the school secretary place the order???


I would let this go. You said you got a lot of orders for school end parties. Why create a sit. that could end that as well. Eat the 19 pizzas as a learning tool, a hundred dollar fools tax for how to handle large orders in the future. Creating a huge problem and potential bad press does not make sense for $100 food cost loss.

Sure hope you were able to give those pies away to some deserving folks…instead of having to dump them. The guys down at the firehouse would be appreciative.

Small town, minor problem…let sleeping dogs lie.

Either the school secretary, the principal or vice principal place the orders. There are occasions where students want pizzas delivered and those have to go through the office as well. It makes things simple for the driver to have one place to go for payment. With 12 schools in my delivery area thing can get scary on days when they all want to get pizza. By using this system we are able to fill the orders and get them delivered on time.

How would you handle this?

I would have probably handled it poorly and lost some business.
Dealing with schools is a delicate balance for some reason. I give the schools and churches a better deal than anybody else, I donate food and money to their sports boosters, band boosters, theater programs etc. Crap, I am starting a rant again. Nevermind. :oops:

I did think about the possibility of stirring up trouble if you call her out…but having lived in a small town like yours I would almost guess this person is not from there nor lives there. She just works there. I still would bring it too the schools attention and maybe in the future offer for school functions a lower price with the hope of bringing in other business from the good food you serve. I would also explain that you realize that Dominos can undercut your pricing but they are not getting the same quality of product or service. Not too mention the time and expense to get the pizzas. How about the hour old pizzas that sat while all 19 cooked and then waited to be picked up and the ride back. Sounds more like she bought left-overs than fresh pizza! Just to clarify…be nice about it all but make your point. Also make the good advice in how too handle schools and large orders the new store policy. :idea:

After being scammed at at the weekend for a "non existent address"delivery order, we have now implemented a pay before delivery / make for any abnormally large orders, unless they are regulars or customers we know.
Any orders over a certain amount where we do not know, or recognise the address as regular or if someone phones in a big order we will only proceed with the order pre paid by card.
If they are genuine then their will be no problem , but if it is a scam or false order then they will back out quickly.

First of all, thanks everyone for the great advice! We are implementing new procedures for large orders like this.

I asked around last night at the ball field and found out that no-one really knows this teacher and the ones that did just said that ‘you just have to know how to take her’, whatever that means?? We were able to give them all away to local businesses that are our regular customers, so at least it wasn’t a total waste. We will just chaulk it up to a ‘Lesson Learned’!

Just a follow up. We got an order late last night just after closing for 30 +pizzas for Friday night at 6.30pm - $470 order.
I phoned the person today with the cost and, even though they do large orders a couple of times a year, asked for pre-payment.
There was no problem at all.
The reason for pre payment = it is right bang in the middle of our peak time and we can’t afford to make and take the time (34 minutes) to put them through the oven on the ever so chance they don’t turn up. Plus it makes it easier for them to just come in and pick up the order and go.
Just an add on to previous posts.
Only wish they did this order every Friday night :slight_smile:

I probably would not have handled this properly either.

But one thing I do on large pre-orders now, is take a phone number to confirm the order before making it (and they are told the order won’t be made until I get this confirmation) and I also give them my personal cell phone number so if they need to make any changes they don’t have to wait for the shop to open and remember to call.

I would have mentioned the fact that she had called and placed the order with your partner.

Then I would have apologized for the confusion and gave her the pizza for free.

Why give the pizza to people who are already your customers? Those people will pay for your pizza. Give the pizza to the people who aren’t your customers - so they will see that your product is better - especially since they had something to compare it to. Plus, there would have been a lot of buzz about the situation, and others at the school would have heard about how you gave them the pizza for free. I’d bet that if people “know” her, they would have realized that she probably screwed you, and you STILL gave her the pizza for free.

You couldn’t have paid money for better advertising and word of mouth. How much was the food cost on those pizzas? $60? Man, what you could have gotten for $60.

I almost always follow up with a call before I do a larger order just to see if there was any changes. and I too would have made a small production and left the pizzas…

I need to both agree and disagree with parts of this post Reg. Guest!

Under no circumstances would I give her the pizzas for free. It almost rewards her lack of consideration. I think the buzz created by doing that would backfire and encourage others to try it out to get their pizzas for free.
But I definitely agree with bringing the pizzas to places that AREN’T current customers. I got into a bad habit of bring a free pizza or 2 every fewmonths to businesses that ordered on a semi-regular basis. I totally regret doing that for most of those places. About once a week I would get a call from one of them saying “Can you bring me a free pizza today, its been awhile”. Or if they would place a larger order, they would ask if I could give “a few” for free since they now viewed me as a place that gives out free stuff.
I think a new business in town or a public service/non-profit would go much farther in promoting your store.
Just my 2 cents!

Not to bring this thread off topic, but has anyone ever encountered any backlash when asking for pre-payment for large orders?
I did ask for pre-payment once on an order than sounded sort of suspicious to me and lost out on a potential 20 pizza order on a slow weeknight a couple years back. Not sure if the order was legit, but when a new address asks for a $300 dollar order with no coupons/specials and says they are paying cash, I get curious.
Since that incident, I have got into the habit of calling the customer back (before I start making their order) with an silly question like “Do you guys need plates/napkins?” or “I just wanted to double check the time you wanted the order delivered”. That way I have a legit phone number on record and it helps my piece of mind when it comes to new addresses/locations.