Walk-In Traffic

I’m just starting to look into owning my own pizza store and really appreciate all of the postings and insight. However, I am running into a problem that I havent’ seen addressed yet. The place I’m looking into for the store is located in a historic town, so there is very limited parking (just a few meters lining each street). It is a great location, situated near the courthouse and college of 18,000+, but I’m concerned about not having my own parking lot.

I guess what I’m asking is, have people experienced any problems with only having street parking available (there are parking garages a block or two away)? We do not wish to rely solely on walk-in traffic, so this has become one of our first major issues that we must address.


Offer “curbside delivery” customer pulls up out front, hopefully it’s not a very busy street, and your staff runs the order out.

Historic districs will definitely give you some curveballs to manage. As long as you have reasonable access for your delivery drivers . . . and you vendor deliveries . . . you can make it work. Check with your zoning department, or your own copy of zoing ordinances, and find out if you can have a delivery space or two for your shop. It may not be feasible, but some places may be willing to have a time delineated space or two.

Otherwise, see waht you can do about putting signs and/or flyers in the parking garages. Man! That could end up being like shooting frogs in a barrel. Lots of people have to park there, and they will inevitably need somewhere to eat nearby some day or other.

What about offering delivery service to rely on?

I have a friends own a pizzeria in Washington DC with no dine-in area and they don’t have any parking space, most of the time drivers park on fault but it seems like they have a deal going on with Parking Officers. Free Pizza.

Another thing is you are in the city and you will have smaller delivery area maybe less than 2 miles with fewer drivers. Having College of 18,000 perhaps driver can take 5 deliveries when going to campus.

Now, I’d first like to say I’ve never done this… but I’ve heard about pizza places in major metropolitan areas using mopeds and/or bicycles for delivery service. Like I said, I have no experience in doing this so I wouldn’t be a source for advice on the subject, but I do know it’s being done quite successfully and this practice has been used and perfected over the past dozen or so years. -J_r0kk

I operate a delco from a business city location. Parking due the day is expensive and traffic thru till 5-6pm is problematic in and out of town. so I have mopeds. I can park them on the street and not pay parking (most citys are ok with this but check) and they are great for getting in and outof traffic.

Finding riders is a problem but I pay them more hourly rate as they have to go out in the rain etc and they don;t get a delivery allowance as I own the bikes.

Get the bikes serviced every month and you should be ok.


My apologies, I should’ve clarified something. While I currently live in DC, that is not where I will be opening. I plan to move back to PA, quit my government job, and start up the shop with a hometown friend. The suggestions have been great so far, but I don’t think we will need to make use of mopeds and things of that nature. Currently, we’re focused in on West Chester, which is the county seat and centered around the courthouse. The town is a reasonable size, but is not overcrowded.

Also, to answer another question, I looked at a place today that I will likely pursue. While parking is still just on the street, there is an alleyway and marginal lot out back that we plan to use for unloading and a stall area for delivery drivers. Slight rent increase for the space, but affordable and necessary in our case.

On a side note, has anyone ever incorporated a half second level seating area? Our space is smaller than we’d like, but the ceiling is incredibly high, so we’re flirting with installing a staircase inside and having a second floor overhang for additional seating.

J_rokk (sorry, didn’t check if I am spelling this wrong), I’ve seen how often you offer people advice about the initial steps involved in opening a store. Is there any way that you and I could talk a bit more over the next month as things move ahead?

That “loft” for seating is a cool concept - but I’m going to guess that the total cost would end up around 20 times what you’re thinking.
You’ll need an architect and an engineer. You’ll wait 3 months to get the plans approved. And then the construction will cost triple what you’d expect.

By all means, check into it with someone from the city - regarding what plans and approvals are required, and with an engineer or builder to learn what it would really take. But it’s likely not simple.

struggle99 writes:

J_rokk (sorry, didn’t check if I am spelling this wrong), I’ve seen how often you offer people advice about the initial steps involved in opening a store. Is there any way that you and I could talk a bit more over the next month as things move ahead?

Sure. I’d be happy to talk with you about opening a new store. However, being a veteran of this business I would like to be the first to tell you that you have a wealth of experience right here in this forum. Every suggestion I put in this forum is something that’s been done before and I’m sure after I put these ideas into words, half the people in here say to themselves, “Gosh, I remember that idea. Why didn’t I write that in here?”

So, I’m willing to help as much as I am able, but I would definitely recommend that you not rule out the many successful operators who frequent this forum. A great many of these good people can also lend a hand to many questions I quite frankly don’t feel comfortable giving an opinion on as they already have many times in the past. -J_r0kk

Kev. what exactly do you do every month for service?

The buildings I’ve looked at have the same possibilities (or an existing second floor). Some of the concerns I have are kids tossing stuff down (I remember being a kid and some of the stuff I did). I’ve even thought that putting a “kid friendly” place upstairs such as some video games and such might even work.

It REALLY depends on what you want to be and who you want to be it to. If you want to be a “hangout”, you certainly have to move a different direction than if you want to be a high-end gourmet sit-down romatic destination.