To deliver or to not deliver

Hello everyone.

I have been in business for six years and business is steady. In 2006 we did delivery and stopped because it was impossible to find reliable staff. We live in a town of 2500 and serve approximately 3000 in a 4 mile radius. Nobody delivers here. I am the largest pizzeria in town. My competition is currently two gas stations. I seat 15 people and the remainder is carryout.

When we did delivery before it went ok. We kept one driver fairly busy. Sales went up a bit and so did expenses. Overall it was moderately successful.

We are in a position currently where I have focused on advertising and marketing strongly over the last two years. We will keep advertising, but feel that our business is at a set point currently.

I know that delivery would increase sales (but also expenses). It would make a few dollars for a bit more work after all is said and done. What I feel that would be gained is a larger market share and also the cartopper advertising which is a big plus for me.

I am truly on the fence about this one. Could anyone shed any light on the subject? Has anyone made this decision before and what was the outcome?

Thanks in advance!

If you can thrive without it, Don’t do it! driver mentalities, insurance, more complaints because Bold Scammers know it is more of a hassle and greater expense to varify there bogus complaints over the phone than to just try and keep them happy by giving them something free or a discount! If I could go back in time I would never have started it. (delivery of food to your door, is not a constitutional right!)((RANT…lol))

In your small but uncompetitive market I see no reason at this stage to implement delivery. You have virtually no competition and no-one delivers so your market is conditioned to picking up. Just because you commence delivery doesn’t mean you will grow sales. I cannot see people wanting pizzas not ordering for over 6 years because they want delivery. If those customers are out there they would have ordered and picked up, not staying at home and going without.
Why increase your costs, bring on more problems of staffing that you don’t have now, open the door for streams of customer complaints (70 - 80% come from delivery) - not saying it’s the drivers fault but most relate to them for one reason or another.
Put your money into a solid advertising campaign, maybe a wrapped car for mobile advertising and investing in making your product and your staff the best around to draw more people to your store.
My highest wage cost is my delivery side and it is revenue minus afer paying drivers hours and vehicle allowance vs the delivery fee we charge, or pick up orders.
Best let sleeping dogs lie.


I agree with Dave. If your situation was different and you had competition that did deliver and being in such a limited market…you would have too. The gas station pizza is what it is. It is cheap and always there. I would market yourself more. Promote a better and higher quality product. Start up some new promotions or rewards programs to keep peoples attention on you. Depending on how far you are from the next larger metro area…where do the locals work? Are you one of their primary choices on a daily basis or do they have many options on the way home from work? You are still a 5 minute drive for most of them and they are willing to make it. Offer them a great meal and you have nothing to worry about. Instead of investing into delivery right now…how about a new menu item. Expand a little from pizza. All just thoughts…best of luck!

I was lucky enough to have my wife in the shop and I did the delivering. I was there to make money and that was a key area. I knew what kind of service was being given and it kept other costs low like insurance. But not everyone has that luxury of having 2 owners there. In the end, I would rather not do delivery at all if I didn’t need it.

So, if you don’t need it, don’t start it. Too many headaches. Good Luck!!

Thanks for the input everyone. I had that kind of feeling, but wanted to test the waters with other business owners that have been there before.

Thanks again!

Delivery is just too much of a headache. We have to do because all our competitors do but would rather not. We are gradually making our deals geared to collection and make a premium on the delivery orders.

All the others are dead on for their experiences. And the ultimate decision is how it all fits into YOUR operation. If your gut tells you that it is something that will lift up your business and generate sufficient repeat sales to manage the added costs, then it could be worthwhile. do your customers cry out for it? Do you have a secret yearning to be the delivering saviour of your marketplace? Do you have profoundly excellent employee prospects that you are dieing to hire, but can’t? how far do you have to go out to get density high enough to make good delivery routing? 3000 in 4 mile radius really does have a dangerously low density so that you may be running back and forth on east-west/north-south extremes so much with one driver (due to overall volume) that you can’t meet desireable service standards. All things for you to look at how it feels on YOUR place.

We were in a 3000 head market until recently closed. For 7+ years we were a full service pizzeria (dine/carry/delivery), and it was a challenge in many ways. Staging tickets at the cook stations was not a simple task . . . 15 delivery tickets in and then a dine-in sits down. Don’t want that customer to wait 30+ minutes for their pizza . . . so where do we drop it in? Especially when the ones on the make table are the tail of a rush and are 20 minutes on the table themselves? It was doable, and we managed it fine . . . it is just another element to consider if you have dine in already. Here’s one to consider . . . if you are in a rainy area, then delivery does even out the sales on bad weather nights. When we had no delivery, rainy nights would slump just a little where they actually bumped up a little in the past. Not enough to make my bemoan not having deliveries, but flow of food and cash is a consideration.

I agree with the above posters, if there is no competition for delivery and you don’t need it don’t do it.
My business has approximately 5000, approximately 5 mile radius, and as Nick stated two drivers will be over kill but be neccessary if you have deliveries going east and west.

my suggestion to increase sales may be a party menu (I don’t want to say catering) where orders over $50.00, $75.00 placed in advance (24 hours , 2 hours) whatever fits your business model get free delivery. My feeling is that is where the competition is for the gas stations, their prices are usually a little bit cheaper, but offering this service of delivery with it they may be willing to pay a little more for the food.

I don’t take issue with anyones points here but I find myself on the other side of the fence. They say, no one delivers so why should you? How bout, no one delivers “but” you? You are the only option. Maybe they are not in the mood for pizza, they cant or dont want to go out, but you are the only one that delivers.

Think you said you kept one driver fairly busy before. If that’s the case, what increased costs are you worried about?

As far as worrying about being in a pinch with one driver. We have a smaller staff during the day since we have much fewer deliveries at that time. Sometimes we do get too many people asking for deliveries at the same time. You just have to schedule the times far enough apart to handle them. Just let the customer know you have too many deliveries at the moment, which happens sometimes, but in the future with advanced notice you could make a specific time for them. Better than stressing it and being late on deliveries. You just do the best you can with the labor that makes sense.

As far as the comments about all the headaches associated with deliveries. Sure there are extra problems that come with deliveries, but I don’t feel strongly negative about them at all. There are certain things for everyone that they feel strongly about not doing or that they really just don’t like. You have to decide for yourself what these are.

If I was doing a million dollars a year in sales, per store, with nothing more than a take-out counter – then yeah, why add complexity.

We want to encourage more carryout, to relieve some of the effort. All our competitors offer free delivery, as do we (I think we are in some price/service war).

Our Chinese and Indian takeaway next door offer 15% discount for collection orders, thus keeping the free delivery caption on their flyers. Has anyone had any experience with this in a pizza place? Any other suggestions on encouraging carryout.

Many places have pickup specials related to specific items or combos. I have never seen a general discount given to the whole menu as standard practice.

We are just playing with words here, but it is probably best to call it your current “special” rather than simply saying you are offering a discount for those who want to pick up. You may risk offending “some” people with the discount as they “may” see it as being punished for the delivery.

I see coupons and specials all the time for dine-in/carry-out all the time – just not general pick-up discounts.