shops in the snow belt...

aside from Colorado, of course!

Where do you draw the line on delivering in winter weather? We’re looking at 6-12 inches in the St Louis area, more to the south towards Hillsboro. We’ve already had a driver who said he can’t (read: won’t) drive in 2" or more.

In our little town, the town roads are kept pretty well, but most of our delivery is to the county, where roads may not get touched for several days, and private roads which may or may not get treated. The storms in mid-December were good tests, we kept going until the drivers said it was getting too bad. Those drivers wanted to keep going, believe me, but we had to draw the line. I was out on runs too, and the time was about right.

So, what is your guide for stopping deliveries in winter storms? Do the drivers call it for you, like schools and transportation officials? Or do you go out yourself? Or when the partly cloudy hits 5" or whatever level?

Just wondering. We do have an emergency crew established who can get in to work, either driving themselves or with a ride.

Stay warm and safe, everyone. This is gonna be a doozy, if the forecasters are right.

As a blanket rule while running Dominos stores for ten years, I always drew the line based on the “ice” on the road. Snow (even in large quantities) really shouldn’t be a big deal, and cold, well…put on another layer! I think in ten years and 15 stores, I only completely stopped delivery on one night and that was the reason.

Another suggestion would be to limit the size of your delivery area if you feel that delivering to your full delivery area puts your drivers in an unreasonable danger or if you have more business than you could ever handle. Anyone who does delivery would probably be well served to define a reduced delivery area. Depending on some other factors such as the size of your initial area, rural versus urban, how big a part of your business model is delivery, you may even want a couple levels. These restricted delivery areas could also be used in the event of a power outage or any other event that might over whelm your delivery service.

Finally, customers are typically very understanding in the crazy weather if you accurately quote delivery times, so it is important to communicate this clearly to your customers and get their buy in at order time…Due to the weather it is taking our drivers longer to get around than usual, it will probably take at least 1 hour for us to get to you, is this acceptable to you? Or something to that extent.

If delivery is a core part of your business model, it would probably go a long way with your staff to see you making preparations for such days. At Dominos we of course had employees use their own vehicle, but at my new business (an independent, not a Dominos store) I plan to use company vehicles, some of which will be four wheel drive trucks for just such events. We won’t use expensive, brand new vehicles, but I can pay for a high mileage truck in a couple weeks with the right weather conditions.

Whatever your policies are it is a heck of a lot easier to define and communicate these policies to your employees long before the inclement weather hits…starting with the interview and onboarding process, by saying something like… “hey look, we are in a delivery business and the worse the weather is, the busier we get. We love it when the snow falls, and this is the time we make our most money and our policy is take advantage of that market and make hay when the sun shines, however we do have a few policies in place to keep you safe, here is what they are…are you good with these policies?”. Once you have the employees buy in, compliance is a condition of employment. I would tolerate an employee pulling me aside and saying “I have concerns about the weather conditions, here is what we are experiencing” but it would not sit well with me to have someone telling me what they will or won’t do.

It is crazy here in Detroit…we received about 6-12 inches the last 48 hours with another 6-12 predicted for Saturday & Sunday. It is the most severe weather I have seen since the late seventies.

Yep… We are in a Colorado ski town… and we deliver. We get an average of 435 inches of snow on our mountain (base of mountain is in our delivery area) so an 8" storm is pretty much a twice a week event.

Solution: Good tires a must, four wheel drive is optional but nice to have. Company cars are Subarus which is great not only for the 4WD but also that they are reliable runners.

In 15 years we have never stopped delivery for weather.

Southern Indiana here where we’ve sort of forgotten how to handle snow in the past 20 years. The 1st snow event of the year is always the most challenging. I try to head off the whining by printing out a cold-weather driving guide that also lists our closing policy ahead of the cold season.

We close when a snow emergency is declared and we’re forced off the roads, the owners decide it is no longer safe after driving around a bit or talking to the Pros, or so many of our competitors close that it makes handling the surge unworkable. If the Pros who are normally excited about the better tips tell me it’s getting unsafe, I always listen to them and call it.

I also have a policy that if an employee doesn’t feel comfortable driving in the snow, they are free to work their shift helping out in the store (expediting other drivers, answering phones & cleaning). The ones just wanting a “snow day” decide it’s not so bad after all when they realize they don’t get to go home. Some do choose to work inside though - please don’t force someone on the road who is scared or inexperienced driving in bad weather.

Brad, that is exactly how we do it as well. I have 2 drivers who have been with me for longer than my wife lol. If for any reason a driver does not feel comfortable driving then I bring him inside to help and I fill in accordingly. I am lucky enough to have a part time driver with a plow and we market that he is out there clearing things as well!

here in Chicago we almost never stop! usually cuz our snow plows are so good. (we had a mayor loose an election cuz of how he handled a winter storm. needless to say it never happened again) in the past 15 years we only closed down once that i can remember and that was 3 years ago when there was like 2 feet of snow in a night. i just let the drivers go until they weren’t comfortable once the last driver gave up we stopped. even last night when it was -40 with the wind chill my guys we thrilled cuz we were slammed. so many places were closed.

we were closed Sunday/Monday. We could have opened Monday, but we would have had 3 employees, and that’s it. The roads in town were not bad, but the county roads…yuck. several employees were still stranded today. It’s not that the crews didn’t plow, but they didn’t waste the salt since it was so cold. Hilly, windy, gravel roads don’t make for good plowing.

Delivery was strong today, should be tomorrow also.

Whew! It was only -9 here, but wind chill was -30 or so. 12" of snow in most of the area.