Started Delivery...very low response

Hi guys,
New member here.

So i’ve been reading through the pmq posts over the last couple of months (mostly for ideas on how to increase sales) and finally decided to register to ask a question. I would be grateful if anyone would answer. I own a pizza shop on the east coast and vast majority of the business is dine-in (over 95%) and about 5% is carry out. Sales started to decrease in the last year or so (mostly b/c we operate in a mall and the mall hasn’t been doing so good with a lot of stores closing down). I believe our pizza is very decent tasting and many of our customers had been saying that they would order from us practically every week if we started delivering. So we started it last Saturday.

After researching online and reading through the forum posts, we decided to start advertising for delivery mostly by eddm and door hangers. We decided to start small b/c we didn’t know what kind of response we were going to get. We printed about 50k flyers and started the door hanging last Saturday. This is what we’ve done so far:

On Saturday: 150 door to door and 400 eddm (which were sent out on Friday).
Sun: 200 door to door flyers
Mon: 200 door to door flyers
Tuesday: 550-600 door to door
Wednesday (today): 400 door to door
On top of that, we give a flyer to every customer that comes in and orders.

The problem is that so far, we’ve only received two delivery calls total. (1 on Monday, and 1 on Tuesday). No response from eddm.

So From the more than 1800 door to door and eddm, we’ve received 2 delivery calls. I was hoping for a modest 1% -2% return but this is .1%. I know the flyers are being given door to door and not just thrown in trash b/c I do it myself with another employee. Almost all of the flyers were in apartment complexes and it seems like there are 2 other direct local competitors (i see their flyers on the doors as well). Should I continue with the door to door everyday or try to change my tactics? Is this normal for someone starting out?
I know this topic has been done sooo many times before, but I don’t know if anyone has had such minimal returns.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

The thing I found most effective when trying to increase my deliveries was to make the delivery vehicle stand out. Use a lighted sign, a vehicle wrap, a unique vehicle or any thing that makes it POP. The more people that see it on the move the better. When times are slow I will even send the drivers “trolling”.

I have had promotions on Facebook where pictures posted of my delivery vehicle taken while it is on the road wins a free pizza.

As far as a response to your door hanging and direct mail if it doesn’t stand out it will very likely end up in the recycling bin.

That seems to be a very low response from door hanging. I usually get 5% return within one or two days. I would also say maybe your ad does’nt stand out enough. Is it full color? Is it professionally done? Also, Do you have your menu on your pieces? People may be apprehensive to order if they’re not sure of everything you have…

Growing the delivery portion of your business will take a sustained effort…Most of your potential clients already buy their delivered pizza elsewhere so it will take a while to break that habit…

Is there a place on your building you can hang a banner?..Are there any local businesses you can have hand out your menus?..Can you hand out menus at a high school or college football game?..How is your product priced versus others competing in that same space?..

Yes, the flyer does have a menu and it is much more colorful and better looking than the competitors’ generic looking ones. Plus, we even take the time to roll it and stick it in between the doorknob and the side while others just throw it on the floor. And our prices are pretty similar to theirs and a little bit cheaper. The two main differences are that they offer free delivery ( I put 1.99 delivery charge) and they offer 12, 14, 16 inch pizzas and I offer 16 and 18 inches only(we used to only offer 18 inches b/c we sell pizza by the slice and i added in 16 in for the delivery. i was going to expand and add 14 and 12 inches within a couple of months after the delivery started rolling).

Since it’s inside a mall, I can’t hang a banner on the physical building outside. I was going to be doing facebook competitions (JUST started the facebook page last week and only have 3 likes so far), going to hotels, school games, etc later. But I was wondering if anyone got such a low response from door to door when they first started. Should I hit the same apartments again this week and hope for a better response? I’ve only hit every area once yet but I didn’t think the response would be so low.

the flyer themselves are pretty high res but i had to make them smaller to fit the 256kb limit on here.

When answering the phone you may want to prompt the customer for pick up or delivery right away. Most of my customers then say “oh you deliver too? well I’ll get delivery then” Once they realize that we deliver its a no brainer.

You stated you are located in the Mall: What your foot traffic like around the Mall? Are you allowed to place a sign on your widow? Have you looked into “Proximity Marketing”?

Proximity Marketing is a new high tech form of advertising design to target Cell Phones and Blue Tooth devices. Malls are Ideal for this marketing plan.

You can design a message and or Coupon to be broad cast via Blue Tooth where the end cell phone user except the message to be viewed on their phone. So you can advertise Delivery, Coupons or Specials. These units can send out to 300ft in all directions, your foot traffic can easily pick this message up.

On your computer you control all features of it. You run campaigns where the end users gets your message only once, times of day, send text or picture messages, video & music. Plus the stats you collect on how many phones received your message is right on your computer, then you make note on how many redemption. This is a great tool for a mall setting and to get new customers.

To help promote this you would need to place a window sign : Is Your Blue Tooth On!

Good units range for $250 on up. If you hire someone, avg starting price $1500 on up which gives you training on the whole marketing plan.

Pizza Tactics

We’ve started to answer the phone by asking the “Carry out or delivery” question after the greeting, but since only 5% of our sales are carryout, we only get a couple of order calls a day right now. But we’ve put box toppers on all the boxes advertising “now delivering”

As far as foot traffic, it’s pretty low b/c of the fact that vast majority of the stores have closed down in the mall. So bluetooth option would not be feasible b/c people who do come to the mall buy food from us anyways. i want to increase the sales and advertise to people who don’t come to the mall so that we can deliver to them.

I think the biggest problem you are having is your flyer needs to SCREAM “we deliver” or “fast delivery”. Your customer’s perception of you is the pizza place in the mall. You need to break that perception by emphasizing “we deliver” on every ad that you do.

Not to be redundant with Perfect Pizzas Comment, but if you are trying to roll out a new service like delivery, I would suggest creating a flyer/postcard, etc. with 1 or maybe 2 coupons that are as aggressive as possible and that are DELIVERY ONLY. (Example Below of a low cost 5.5x10.5 Direct Mailed Postcard Attached. This is just one side of the card). I would also suggest utilizing another piece like a different box topper/flyer and placing them with every one of those orders that you receive to include some additional offers but more of a mix some dine-in, some delivery.

In addition, I would suggest printing a much smaller quantity of the flyers/menus; test, track and tweak if necessary. Based on your current distribution numbers, you have distributed 1,950 flyers not including the handouts. Assuming we add in and extra 500 as handouts, this is a total distribution in one weeks’ time of 2,450 flyers. If you kept up this same pace of distribution it would take you 20-40 weeks, or roughly 5 months, to deplete those flyers. This seems like a long time to be stuck with print that cannot be changed, but more importantly that is not performing for you and or not generating the response that you need.

I always recommend printing the right quantity at the best price for that quantity. I consistently see this in the print industry where consumers are talked into printing large quantities either because it is that vendor’s specialty or because it is a few cents cheaper than printing a small quantity. However, you will not save any money if you have to trash irrelevant print that is not performing, or if you need to change prices based on market conditions, season, etc.

Josh Davis
Vice President of Sales
Mail Shark
4125 New Holland Road
Mohnton, PA 19540
Direct: 484-948-1611
Mobile: 484-269-3715

Most of the responses I have read to this thread seem pretty sensible to me. I would add a couple of thoughts.

  1. It might be that pizza sales or maybe specifically pizza sales are not growing in this economy. In addition, most people who are inclined to deliver usually order from the same place. Seems to me that if the market is stagnant/not growing and if most people have an entrenched, long standing habit of ordering their pizza from a particular pizza business then you will have to entice those customers to change to your pizza. That would appear to be a difficult, but not impossible, process. Doesn’t seem likely that a large number of people are all of a sudden going to change their long standing habit. Seems like it is more of a one customer at a time thing.

I might think about what could possibly motivate a customer to change to my pizza over someone elses’ product. I would think there would have to be some kind of definitive differentiation between your product and operation as opposed to nearby competitors or there will no reason for customers to change. What is your “hook” or key that separates you?
another thing that might be helpful is to visit each of your competitors and carefully analyze what makes them successful. Over the years I have made it a point to do this even when I was sure that an operation was not particularly successful. Something can be learned from every pizza business whether they are very successful, moderately successful or marginally successful. And in any case such a process gets the creative juices going.

Concerning wraps. I read some interesting information about wraps when I was considering them. Most of the information concerned the value/effectiveness of wraps. It was said that modest advertising efforts like door hangers, flyers and maybe an ad in a local small paper might get what they call imprints meaning somebody seeing something that stays in the mind for a while for lack of a better explanation. The imprints generated from this type of modest advertising might result in the general area of 250,000 to 400,000 imprints per year.
The next level of advertising mentioned was main line newspapers possibly mixed with radio. Imprints from this level of advertising might see 750,00 imprints a year. And now WRAPS (full wraps). In cities with reasonable population numbers and freeways a full wrap on a vehicle driven on a regular could generate up to 8 MILLION imprints a year. This is incredible to me and I was somewhat skeptical. I needed a delivery vehicle for a bakery I own so I purchased a Ford Transit. Smaller van, good gas mileage and ample display area. I had someone design it and did a full wrap. Wanting to get a feel for the effect I drove the transit daily instead of my car for a few weeks. Every day I go between locations so I am on busy streets and even freeways at least six days a week. I have had people honk, some just look as I am driving next to them and I cannot believe how many have asked for business cards when I am in parking lots. Now I could not detect any connection to sales and the wrap for about a month. Then we began to make a few connections when customers would mention that they saw the wrap. But it really took two months or more to really notice an effect. It seems like people see something once or twice and it really doesn’t stick in the mind. Once an imprint has been made multiple times it does begin to stick. A lady stopped me one day in a parking lot said that she knew about our bakery and had noticed the vehicle wrap but did not know where it was. The more I talked with her the more I was convinced that she had seen the vehicle wrap so many times that she was convinced we were a long standing successful bakery in the area that had been around for years. Well, we were pretty new at the time and our sales were modest. I really believe it was the imprinting on the mind from the wrap that caused her to think this way. Cost of the wrap and the design was $1400. I am very, very cautious about what I commit to with regard to advertising. I feel the cost and effectiveness of the wrap was more than worth the money and it is still paying dividends.
As an aside I have thought many times about Carl Kartcher of Carl’s Jr. fame. He used to carry business cards with him that were actually good for something free at Carl’s Jr. I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Kartcher a couple of times and I asked him about his cards. He was absolutely convinced they were beneficial far beyond the cost of the free product. Of course he was an extremely nice man and I am sure that imprinted on people’s minds as well. I have thought about stealing his idea and making up cards with some kind of free product to give out especially since I am back to driving the Transit wrap van again. My neighbors make fun of me because that is pretty much my main car now. We live in a small community (surrounded by very big cities) and in our only shopping center everybody makes comments about the van. Many are just making fun of me but it generates conversation and attention for the bakery which is actually in the next town over. And we are making deliveries now several times a month to the community where I live for weddings and special events.

I’m going to be completely honest with you, XV1, so I hope you take it as constructive criticism… I’m certain that your low response rate is caused by your ad design. There is nothing about your ad that would make me the slightest bit interested in you if it were to land on my door.

It’s a hodgepodge of prices… none of it tells me why I should alter my behavior and buy from YOU instead of my normal pizzeria. I have absolutely no idea what differentiates you from anybody else. I have now taken a nearly 30 minute interest in your ad still have no idea why I should order from you… and you only have half a second to get a customer’s attention while they stand with your flyer in their hand next to the garbage can.

Yes, the flyer does have a menu and it is much more colorful and better looking than the competitors’ generic looking ones.

You’ll find the more generic looking ads sell much better than something “flashy”. You may want to consider that your competitor’s “generic” ads are the result of years of trial and error… and they keep running them because they’re successful.

Your copy should tell people what’s in it for them to order from you. Start with a compelling headline with a clear benefit for the customer, expand upon the headline in the copy (while introducing your Unique Selling Point), give them an offer for trying you, make a call to action, and include a guarantee.

The old adage is “advertising is salesmanship in print.” Think about how you would sell somebody face to face on your product and translate that to your advertising copy. You would not walk up to a prospective customer and just blurt out a price… you’d start by introducing yourself first. Sending a piece that only screams prices is like walking up to a woman at a bar and starting with “Would you like to go home with me?”

If you want to sell delivery, tell people how delivery will benefit them. Instead of yelling “NOW DELIVERING” in their face, use something more like:

“I know you’re busy with school being back in full swing - and we could all use a little more family time - so I want to rescue you from the kitchen tonight. Give me a call tonight and I will deliver dinner direct to your door… Plus, I’ll throw in a FREE order of our homemade mozzarella sticks and a FREE 2-liter of soda just for giving us a try.”

That’s just an example - I didn’t really think it out - but it’s a start.

Also, response rates tend to vary inversely with the number of offers on an ad. My ads pull the absolute best with ONE offer. People do not like to make decisions, you need to make it for them. One offer does the best, but you have TWELVE… and it may be the most confusing group of offers I’ve ever seen.

There have obviously been countless books written on the topic of advertising, but here are four I highly recommend:

Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins (FREE book, pretty much the entire foundation of modern advertising)

Gun To The Head Marketing by Kamron Karington

The Wizard of Ads: Turning Words into Magic And Dreamers into Millionaires by Roy Williams. $1.99 on Kindle. I know the title is kind of corny and that turned me off from reading it at first, but I think I’ve read this book five times now.

Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples. Be sure to get the 1980 edition. It’s only $1.44 used, and the “revised” addition after that one stinks (it wasn’t revised my Mr. Caples).

I once read that the most important thing to do in your business is figure out what business you’re really in, because it probably isn’t the business you think it is. The light bulb went on for me at that moment. I realized that while I may sell pizza, I am actually in the marketing business :smiley:

Thanks Piper! There’s gold in that post!

Thanks for the response Perfect pizza, GMAC and josh@MailShark. Over the last 5 days, we’ve been getting one delivery everyday. And some people have been ordering for pick up using the same coupons we sent out. And we got 2 deliveries today! (it’s a long way to go, but still better than nothing!) We’ve also started putting the flyers on the small boxes we give for 2 slices (we sell pizza by the slice in the mall). For right now, I’m stuck with these flyers until depletion b/c we’re strapped for cash and I don’t have extra money to print out the new ones or do a full wrap on the car. (September and october are usually two of the slowest months here). But I definitely won’t be printing 50k of them next time. It will be a smaller number so I can test and see which coupons work better.

I’ve also seen that we get a better response from houses than the apartments. Vast majority of the flyers we distributed were in apartments but about half of our delivery orders have come from the houses. I’ll be hitting the office building next week and hopefully that’ll help.

Piper, I don’t mind the advice you’ve given me. It’s very beneficial. I do have a tendency to try to give the people as many choices as possible and that could lead to confusion. I’ve started to read the books you mentioned starting with Claude Hopkins’. But one question: should I really put something as long as the “I know you are busy with school…” paragraph on a flyer? Wouldn’t something as specific as that only appeal to a very select group of people rather than to all the people we distribute the flyers to?

No, you are absolutely right. You need to tailor it specifically for your store, and your market.

I know, based on demographic profiling of my customers, that about 85% of my core customer base has school-age children… so that’s the angle I take. It may be very different for you. I didn’t mean to suggest you use that copy, I just meant it as an example of the kind of ad that sells better.

Great that you started reading Scientific Advertising! That book is the foundation. If you only have time to read one other book that I posted, Kamron’s should be it. It builds on the foundations of the other books, but it is highly specific to pizza and restaurants.

When I want to test a new ad or offer, I begin by printing my own postcards on a laser printer and sending those. I will maybe print 400 of them with an A/B test and send those to my target area, then do it again the next week with a new A/B test with the winner of the last one (not to the same people.) They won’t pull as well as my full color, fully designed ad but I can find the winning copy and/or offer. Once I find the winner, only then do I get 10,000 printed and drop the mother lode.

I agree here, your flyer does look very very dated.
Now I am new to the pizza industry, but I am not new to the flyer industry, 25 years doing it now

The only reason I picked the pizza industry is because I own a flyer distribution company, so I have seen a few leaflets in my time.
Here is my first flyer design, I would like reviews on it aswell
Who is delivering the flyers?
How are you monitoring the delivery?