A couple of questions first - how big is your delivery area ? What kind of time estimate do you give your customers? How well does your product fare after being out of the oven for an hour? These are all things that must be taken into account when deciding when and if a driver should take extra deliveries.
I don’t know what kind of tech you’re using but i’m assuming when you get orders you at least print some kind of receipt that has a timestamp on it, so you know when the order was made. You have to factor in how ‘old’ the order is, how long it’s been sitting on the oven and how far the delivery address is.
You get order #1 at 15:00. You tell the customer it’ll take 50-60 minutes to deliver (15:50-16:00)
The food takes 20 minutes to make so it’s ready at 15:20
The location is 15 minutes away (which should be the maximum time needed to drive 3-4 miles, except if you’re located in a busy city with bad traffic in which case you should be using scooters)
If you get order #2 by 15:25 at the latest in the same direction you can have your driver wait for it (it should be ready by 15:45 + a 15 minute trip to deliver order #1)
If, however, you get order #2 at, say, 15:40 (and order #1 has been sitting on the oven for 20 minutes already and it’s due to be delivered quick), when a driver shows up you can’t have him sit around and wait for it to also be ready, even if it’s across the street from the first delivery. That would mean both orders are ready at 16:00 and order #1 would get there at 16:15-16:20 (20 minutes over what customer was told).
This is fine, sometimes. Depends on your customers and how busy a night it is. If the pizza is good people don’t mind waiting a little longer sometimes but if you abuse this you’ll get pushback and bad reviews. I’ve had people accept 2+ hrs wait time on deliveries on busy evenings.
The first thing you do when it’s busy is you look at the first order and see how ‘old’ it is (how much time you have left untill it’s due to be delivered) and quickly skim over any of the following ones and if they’re reasonably nearby and reasonably close to also being done, you get your driver to wait for it.
I think this is an aspect that should NOT be left in the hands of the drivers. Anyone that has delivered for more than a month or two will start learning the good tippers from the bad and if left to his/her own devices will pass on deliveries even if they’re nearby, while at the same time wait indefinitely for ‘that one good tip’ at the expense of another customer that might end up waiting a LOT more than he was first told. The first thing drivers do is quickly scan all the orders/receipts to see if he can pluck any extra tips on his run.
At the place i used to work at one of the guys who answered the phones also was a sort of informal manager and used to be a delivery driver so he knew the city by heart and knew how much it’d take to get to a certain point so he had no issue combining orders, sometimes forcing drivers to take a no-tip delivery or forcing them to drop any of the well-tipping ones if they took too long. This did not make him the most popular member of staff in the drivers eyes.
You need such an experienced person who knows street names by heart (or at least can look them up quickly on google maps) and can combine deliveries.
Obviously not all drivers are equal, you also have to take into account how experienced and skilful a driver is. You can’t have a new guy take more than 2 deliveries or you risk him becoming disoriented.
On our more busy nights we used to give customers 2-2,5hr estimates at most, during which time i (albeit rarely) delivered up to 5 orders on a single trip.
2 shouldn’t be hard, 3 is pretty regular, any more than that and you’d need them to be perfectly lined up or in the same small area.
Micro-managing is needed only during very busy hours . If you have 3-4 orders on at a time things should be fine by themselves. If however you get 20+ orders during the same hour then someone had better pair them to make the most out of the available staff. This is best done by someone that’s in that kitchen daily to observe how fast or slow any particular driver is, how quickly the kitchen staff is (to determine how much longer a certain order will take to be ready) and who also knows the city reasonably well. During our busiest days the owner would show up and meddle in this process, he’d invariably end up messing things up/doing a worse job than if he’d just leave phone guy handle things.