Is delivery management important?

Online ordering seems to be the hot topic of the day for pizza shop owners. But what about delivery management? Does anybody really care much about that or is the focus far more on just getting the order?

And if you care about seeing where your drivers are at (many don’t) and when they can be expected back and how well or fast they do their routes, etc… is that more important to you than offering the customer the courtesy of a notification when the driver is on the way?

I guess the question is about how important customer image is verses operations management. Are customer extras or conveniences considered non important after the sale is already made or are they worth something? Is knowing where your drivers are at and when they are expected back worth something? And which is more important?

Or do most not even really care about either? I know some pizza shop owners like that. Some don’t even have a POS yet. Yikes. So this subject is completely irrelevant to them. I don’t know what their future looks like but they might be in for a surprise over the next 5 years.

I am curious about your connection to the pizza industry. From reading some of your more recent posts I have the impression that you have been around the industry rather than in the industry. This post makes me think of you as an observer rather than a hands on operator.

For those of us that are primarily delivery shops the answer to your questions are blatantly obvious to us but you may not have the experience to understand why our answers may not line up with your opinions on the subject.

Yes we need to know that our drivers are being efficient in their job but not to the degree of knowing exactly where they are at every moment. I wouldn’t want my customers to have the ability to see where the driver is. Here is the reason. Let’s say there is an order that is a mile from the shop and another a half mile in the same direction. The one that is a mile away was ordered 10 minutes before the closer one. I want the oldest one delivered first and the other one delivered on the way back to the shop. Now if the customer was able to see where the driver was coming from they would rightfully wonder why he was coming from the opposite direction of the pizza shop. The delivery driver could be put in an uncomfortable position and may well lose any tip that might have been given.

Having been in the industry for well over 25 years in the same city. I am reasonably accurate in knowing how long any given delivery will take a driver based on the time of day, the amount of orders and the experience of the driver. The ability to tell the customer the approximate time they can expect their order is not really something that can be done better by an app than an experienced shop owner in my opinion.

^ well said. Could you imagine the outrage from a customer waiting on food, able to see where the driver is in real time, and able to see that the driver was on a triple.

Customers would loose their friggen minds! Why is he 8 blocks over, i dont live there!!! They would be constantly calling the store saying hey the driver is lost

You couldn’t pay me to deal with that

Why would I need to know where my driver’s are or when they will return?

What am I going to do with that information?

Depending on sales level, you would use this information to put the food in the oven at the moment your driver is on the way back from his last delivery. This will allow it to come out of the oven just when the driver gets back. So even if the delivery takes 45+ minutes, it hasn’t been waiting 30 minutes to be delivered. This really applies in situations where you are doing less than 10K / week or have times where only 1 driver is working.

If your doing less then 10k a week. Find a new town to open in

Hi Daddio, thanks for the response. As far as who I am, I made that clear in my first post on this forum. Although I have worked in the restaurant business for years earlier (not a pizza shop though), I am a software developer and I was thinking about doing a delivery management system for small independent pizza shops, to help them keep up with the services being offered or about to be offered by large chains. But based on what I see here, I don’t see the interest. And yet, I think that somehow, 3 or 4 years from now, customer notifications will be a standard expectation from customers, and “somebody” is going to provide that.

But right now, I don’t think most shop owners care about it, like you don’t, so I probably won’t bother to make this and I appreciate the feedback as you might be saving me a lot of unnecessary effort. Too hard of a sell and either nobody is ready, or nobody really cares and perhaps never will. That part seems “fairly” obvious to me.

Also a couple of clarifications. As far as showing the driver (as UBER does), in what I was thinking of, that would only be an option that the owner could set for all cases or the driver could set on a case by case basis. If the owner or driver does not want his exact location shown to the customer, the customer only sees a general round radius around the customer location indicating the distance, but not the direction or exact location. Also, this would NEVER be shown to ALL customers so that they watch the driver deliver to everyone else and them last. That would be insane. Only the person who the driver selects as next will get ANY info about their order, and that will disappear and be replaced by a feedback page when the driver marks the order as delivered.

As far as an experienced shop owner being able to estimate the return eta or delivery arrival times, I believe that’s true. But that might be challenging if you have three drivers and you would need to memorize the orders they have.

But aside from driver tracking, there’s the customer and their satisfaction and their overall experience. That rarely seems to enter into the conversation. What happens when Dominoes and other chains start providing this courtesy information to the customer?

Anyway, I appreciate your advice. You might have saved me a lot of unnecessary effort. Thank you.

I totally agree that the customer shouldn’t see the driver coming from the wrong direction or delivering to someone else.

What I was thinking of was only the customer who the driver marks as the next stop sees any info and when the driver marks it as delivered, that customer then sees a feedback page and their order page is gone. Also, I was thinking of allowing the driver (or the owner) the option as to whether he wants to be visible or not. If not, a general radius appears around customer location indicating distance only, not location or the direction they are traveling from.

So suppose the driver is in a situation where he won’t look bad? I suppose that also happens sometimes and it’s not always a negative situation. Maybe he has only one order and intends to go straight to it. Maybe it’s his second order, but he is coming from the direction of the restaurant. Those are situations where maybe the driver might want to show his location. And more info for the customer can equal higher satisfaction and perhaps better tips. But that seems to be the weakest part of the argument for some restaurants. That’s why I think I’ll probably scrap this idea. Thanks for your feedback, it really matters a lot to me.

Hi durbanic, yes, that’s the “possible” benefit, if the restaurant owner cares. Many might not. I’m curious as to why you believe this could be helpful only in situations where there is less than 1oK/week. Wouldn’t it matter even more at higher volumes and more drivers? I didn’t get that part. Thanks.

Thank you all for your responses. Well, one last shot for this idea and if nobody sees any real value in it, I will scrap it and thank everyone for saving me the unnecessary effort. This would probably take me a year to do and I don’t want to spend that time only to find out that nobody is interested.
[]Only customer who the driver has selected as their next stop gets an update notification via text. The customer clicks on the link in the text message and sees their own private order page, which has the order amount, driver’s “handle” (doesn’t need to be his real name), and the driver’s eta which keeps updating in real time. Also included is a reminder that "tips are appreciated :slight_smile: ", because sometimes people think the delivery charge is the tip.
]On the customer’s private order page, there will be a rotating message board, similar to the front counter message boards often seen in restaurants where the restaurant can post specials, promos, etc…Restaurant can easily enter these messages themselves in admin site. The hope is for repeat business that week since you are advertising to a targeted market that is already interested in you and interested in you right now. Perhaps a great place to advertise that online ordering is now available, if this is a new offering that customers don’t know about.

[]Driver or owner can choose to show driver location to the next stop customer, or just a general circle around customer location indicating general distance but not direction. If the circle or radius is shown, it shrinks as driver gets closer. That can be set to always show or not show at administration level, or the owner can choose to let the driver decide on a case by case basis.
]Owners can see all driver locations, all of their deliveries, when each delivery is expected to be completed and when the drivers are expected to return. This updates in real time.
[]Driver can drag and drop his orders on the app to sort them and get readjusted etas based on the new sort order and time of return for his route. He can find out which is the best delivery order for time efficiency, if desired.
]Driver gets a thumbnail map on app to get a general idea of where his orders are. This updates in real time.
[]If needed, and only if needed, the driver can get voice guided directions to his next stop on his list with the press of a button
]Driver can call customer or back to shop with one button press.
I was thinking about a flat rate of 15 cents per delivery to make it affordable. No monthly fees or set up charges, just a strictly per use basis with one month free trial. But to do that, I would probably need close to a thousand customers before I made any real money. Seems to me that it might be like pulling teeth and it would take me almost a year to create it as there are tons of complicated “real time” and mapping issues to deal with.

Thanks again for your qualified opinions :slight_smile:

My driver sends a text to accomplish this. No app to buy and install.

In theory this sounds ok but in practice I really don’t see a non integrated app working any better than find my friends on an iPhone (which is free.)

You’re right. I suppose that can work, and other apps such as wayz can work and that’s good to know.

The difference “might” be, for one, you the owner can see all of your drivers, when they are expected to complete each delivery and when they are expected to return. Does find find my friends give you etas? How are the deliveries differentiated from the drivers on find my friends? I think that “some” owners “might” like this. Some owners might even think their drivers are playing hanky panky on some of their deliveries, but they can never prove it. But you have instant lookup and info if customer calls as well.

Also with this idea, the driver would never need to send you a text message and give you a possibly unqualified eta because you already know where he is and when he is expected back. How does he really know what his eta is? He can only estimate. How well does he do that? Maybe the owner does that after the driver gives him some sort of general idea where he is? Does the driver like having to type out and send a text message all of the time? I don’t know. Also, I’m guessing that your driver has an unlimited texting plan and therefore does not complain about a texting expense.

Secondly, it sends an already written text message with a link in it to the customer’s own private order page with the touch of a button, rather than the driver having to launch find my friends and type in a message. The driver has everything he needs in one place. So the driver has a list of orders, he presses one order and selects the next button, and he’s all set and so is the customer. I think the least this could possibly do is to cut down on calls from customers if they know they will get a notification when their delivery is actually on the way. But it also might have a “convenience” or “courtesy” factor or appeal to the customer. But again, that always seems to be one of the last considerations as far as I can tell so far, and that’s where I got this potential idea wrong. I assumed the opposite, that everyone was always looking for any little edge for customers to perceive them as just a little better. I was once told by one restaurant owner I worked for that “the restaurant business is a business of details” where small details can make the difference. So what happens when the chains start to offer this as another advantage? And they ARE planning it. Dominoes is already doing roll out testing for something like this in Australia and New Zealand and they actually show the driver’s location like Uber does. So who’s going to help the small pizza shops offer this to remain competitive?

BTW, the app would be free and only the driver needs an app, the owner can see his deliveries on a password protected web page that can be viewed on any mobile device or desktop. The cost truly would be a strictly per use basis with no strings attached. And if the notification does not reach the customer for some reason (maybe they don’t have a smart phone), there would be no charge the way I’m seeing it.

Also, does find my friends allow you to put your own personal ads on the page so the customer can see them? I don’t know.

Anyway, thanks again. Very useful and good comments.

Dominoes, Pizza Hut…are all coming out with something like this.

The difference with what they are doing is that the customer has to have their app, which can be a sticking point for a smaller pizza shop. But with what I’m thinking of, the customer needs no app at all, neither does the owner. Only the driver needs one to assure that his location is always being sent out reliably, and this app would be free and would take about 10 seconds to install. But since the app really is a webpage inside of an app, the driver app can be updated and improved without the driver having to update or reinstall anything. Any improvements would just simply show up on his page, just like with any web page.

Just to play devil’s advocate. There is an Uber service that will eliminate in house drivers for many of the small independents. How will that work for your system?

Maybe I should include free online ordering capabilities on top of it and mold the two together? Would that help it sell?

I could give customers a button for their site which links to our site and handles the online order, like many other companies are already offering. The difference would be that the order would not need to be faxed, texted or even emailed, unless the restaurant insisted. Actually, faxing would be out of the question as that is too expensive (7-10 cents per fax). Instead, it would show up as a pop up on the delivery monitoring page that they get from our delivery system where the owner sees all the drivers and their deliveries. I could make the smart phone ring or make a sound when a new online order comes in, much like what happens when a phone call comes in. So the restaurant gets a small phone stand like used in cars for any smart phone they want and they stick it right next to their POS or their phones. When the order comes in, the restaurant has to approve it by pressing a button to run the card (which we will take care of) and prove they got it before the customer is ever charged. That will save on a ton of arguments that I hear are happening with other online order companies who charge the card before they know the restaurant has acknowledged it, and then the two argue back and forth as to who is giving the refund to the customer.

If for some reason, the restaurant missed it and never clicked the accept and approve button within say 5 or maybe 10 minutes, a text message would go back to the customer telling them their order could not be processed and telling them their credit card has not been charged and to call the restaurant.

So basically, the idea is…take any common smart phone, notepad, tablet or even desktop, and turn it into an online order receiving AND delivery management station for a low, per use flat rate.

There’s no question that full integration is always the best solution in the long run. But what about the people who don’t have thousands or maybe tens of thousands to buy a system like this or to upgrade to one? What do they do? Whether they have the money or not, the customer needs are quickly demanding this. Maybe I could be the right band aid for two or three years until they are ready to spend that kind of money? That’s the only real angle that I can think of, and even if this idea works, it will only last for a few years until everybody gets integrated.

Great point. It won’t work for system I’m thinking of. They have their system and they are handling the delivery. They COULD easily use the system I’m thinking of, but they have their own so they won’t. What I am thinking about is for the restaurants that want to know their driver’s first name (meaning they care about who is delivering their food). There are delivery services already out there but they haven’t sucked up the market with any real speed. There’s hesitation. Some restaurants use them, some claim they never will and want to know the person delivering their food (and possibly their state of mind?). Either way, it will probably take some time before a majority of restaurants abandon their own drivers. But it’s a very good point. Thank you.

So what does Uber want in terms of cost? Do you know offhand?

I wonder how the Uber driver will handle collecting money or getting slips signed or swiping. Does he have to return and settle out after each delivery? Probably so if there will be a different Uber driver responding each time. Uber drivers currently take no money at all, that is all settled via website before driver is dispatched where you are charged in advance via credit card. The best way Uber could succeed is if they take the order themselves and handle the transaction upfront when they are taking it. This way, they won’t have to come back and settle out. But this gets them a little bit into GrubHub land. I wonder if they really want to do that.

we use DeliveryIQ from Foodtec that does this extremely well…they are able to give you an approximate location (1/2 mile or so) that gives us a buffer when they are taking multiple orders. We never send multiple orders that are in the opposite direction so it never causes a probem for us. It has made my like ALOT easier when managing drivers and the feedback from customers being able to track their orders has been great. It has saved us from getting those annoying “Where is my pizza?” calls at the worst times. When we get those calls we make sure to let them know about the order tracker feature and that is one less person that will call going forward.

Imagine having 8-10 drivers on the road. You are doing 60 order hours. Are you really going to coordinate putting those orders through the oven with the return time of the driver you plan on having take it?

Under normal circumstances, you schedule the appropriate number of drivers to make sure that food isn’t sitting around at the store for any period of time.

IMO, this is a flashy way to solve a problem that doesn’t really exist.