Quoting Delivery Times

For years now, I have been quoting delivery times based on the level of business, distance etc.
So if we’re slow and an order is not too far away I’ll quote in the neighborhood of 25-40 min. If we’re reasonably busy I’ll quote 35-55 min and so on.

So does it make sense to anyone to quote a high delivery time for EVERY order and then disclaim it by saying: “But you know, we’re really slow right now so I think we’ll be able to get it to you sooner”?

The reason I ask is because we have a driver who is pushing really hard for this.

His reasoning: If you quote a low delivery time and for some reason the driver is late, customer takes it out on the driver.

You may quote a low delivery time to one customer and then suddenly get slammed making it next to impossible to fulfill the delivery time quoted when there are other deliveries going the same direction.

However quoting high delivery times allows for some leeway should a driver encounter any unforeseen problems.

Maybe some good points but I just don’t know what to think of it.

I’m not a driver.

However the current owner WAS a driver and still takes the occasional delivery. Haven’t had the chance to ask his opinion…yet.


I’d never tell a customer ‘we’re really slow at the moment’ this conjures up loads of issues.

Having looked at your post my observation is that you are quoteing a huge difference in your times 25-40 minutes and 35-55 is a big gap.

We tend to quote 30 minutes normally, 30-40 minutes it we are starting to get hammered and ‘UP TO 50 minutes’ when we’re getting killed.

The ‘up to x minutes’ might be a better answer for you.

It makes no sense to quote high delivery time for every order and then disclaim it by saying your slow so you’ll be able to get it their sooner.

We do the same as you we quote based on business and delivery. If we tell someone 20 to 30 minutes and for some reason the driver is going to be late, WE call the customer and explain the driver is going to be late.

Quoting times is very difficult.

We might be wrong be we tell everyone for consistency " we will be there anytime within an hour" That covers 20 min all the way to 60 min. Never tell your customers you are slow. Tell them your busy and you have extra drivers on so we able to get there quicker.

People want to be a part of and eat at the busy place not the one that is slow…

Just my 2 cents.


We have a standard 45 minute delivery time. If we get slammed it can get longer but its our minimum time. I agree with your driver in that you never want to quote times “under” when they will be there.

Under promise and over deliver.

We say 35-45 minutes on every order. We meet this on every order. If I was finding our deliveries were taking closer to an hour I would revamp the system and figure out why is it taking so long. Customer satisfaction has to be harmed by taking an hour on deliveries.

As for you drivers I can totally agree with them…from a customer standpoint they don’t care if you are slow or busy and they don’t understand (nor do they want to understand) why one day they are told 20 minutes and then another day an hour. If you say 35-45 and your early they are happy if you say it and it’s an hour…you have a management problem cuz deliveries shouldn’t take an hour.


I’m not sure I get your thinking on this.

If your saying that if they quote 35-45 minutes and it takes and hour then that’s a management problems - maybe could be lots of reasons.

But you then say ‘deliveries shouldn’t take an hour’ - well now thats not always true is it Kris. We run a very focused delivery service but from time to time there are occasions when we just get absolutely battered for no reason. This weekend for example we did nearly twice as many deliveries on Saturday between 5-6 as we normally do. No explanation for it at all and certainly not enough drivers to meet our normal 30 minute delivery time. Were some orders late - sure but its not a management problem.

The most important thing I’ve learnt is to try and be as accurate as possible + 5 minutes extra with delivery times. As you say few people complain when their pie arrived at 40 minutes and you tell them 45 min but quite a few do if you’ve only told them 30 mins.

We try not quoting times. We simply state “Thank you. We’ll get going on your order and be over as soon as we can.” I would say about 75% of the people are fine with that. The other 25% will ask “So how long to you think it will take?” My standard response is “Our average delivery time is about XX minutes right now, but it may be sooner or slightly longer than that.” I would say almost everyone that asks is fine with that response. It gives us the needed leeway that enables us to pair or triple up delivery orders if we need to.

The idea that folks are fine with things is a little bit problematic…Sure many folks will say “no big deal” when you tell them an extended delivery time…And for that time it may be…But then you never hear from them again…Some folks will never tell you what they are actually thinking and quietly disappear.

There are POSs out there that will do that for you with far better accuracy than the best guesstimates. It is just good business to under promise and over deliver. I think that is where your driver is coming from, and he is probably less interested in having the customer ‘take it out’ on him than impressing the customer by showing up early.

Your best strategy is to stick with accuracy though. Throw in a 5 minute pillow, but that is about it. It is just as frustrating to have a pizza quoted at 45 minutes show up in 25 minutes as it is to have it arrive in an hour.

I have stood at many a doorway and apologised for the ‘late’ delivery only to be told well they said 45 minutes and its here at 40 minutes so you’re not late. They look puzzled at why I apologise.

I used to send late cards out when we had a ‘bad’ night with poor service but I stopped doing this as so often people would comment that they didn’t realise there was a problem.

The biggest thing he is being as accurate as possible.

I’ve also had complaints when we’ve said 30 minutes and turned up at the doorway at 15-16 minutes only to be greeted with - we didn’t expect you yet your too early!!!

I could see a delivery taking an hour if one of he drivers had a flat tire or something.

If I found myself in a position of deliveries taking an hour because of production and delivery then yes that is a management problem.

Where was the slow down this weekend? Production, delivery or both?

Are you ready if it were to happen again this weekend?

Our system is set up so that the drivers can cook, the cooks can drive. So when we do get slammed unexpectently we blast the orders in and then blast them out the door.

From the way I was reading the posts it sounded like it was a regular busy night routine to have hour delivery times. To me it is unexpectable…unless there was an emergency like flat tires or accidents. Not a so called emergency of “we were busy” or so and so called in etc. Those are management issues.