Would You Do It Again

To those of you who do just delivery/carry-out knowing what you know now would you still do it again? What would you change?

2 answers.

My lazy/negative side says definitely not in a million years.

My go getter/positive side says yes, but I would change everything. Probably would save half of the money we put into the place, and a lot more efficiently too. There is just way too much to list of what I would/could have changed.

I am 18 months in and just do carryout in a very rural community with no competition to speak of. I do not have space in my current location (I own the building) to add a dining room. I am currently breaking even. I frequent other independent places on occasion and it seems as if lately, I’m seeing some of my customers there. When asked, they simply say they’re there because they can dine in. I’m now in a situation where I see my customer base spending money elsewhere that they say they would spend with me if I had the capacity for dine in. I feel that I need to offer dine in service if I want to see any real income. So if I had to do it over again I would say definitely, but I would choose a location in which I could offer dine in service.

We have always had a dining room, and would definitely have leveraged it far more from the get-go. Call it squandered time. Previous owner has a stark front end, and scant few diners. We cleaned and colored it up, buty did not drive sales that way for a long time. Kitchen capacity was our excuse. Our new place is more balanced, and we are driving inside sales.

Flexibility and options will always give you more chances to accommodate market changes and opportunities. If you have the chance and can afford it . . . having some seating will create possibilities for you either now or soon. It’s a whole different flow, and the whole staff needs training how to manage it differently, but it is a great source of sales and word fame for us.

This is only answering your question in a roundabout way, but I have dine-in and there is no way I would open another location without it. It was a major decision when I opened whether to have dine-in or be a DELCO, but I ultimately went with a decent sized dining room. It’s classy, well appointed, and generates an awful lot of money. I’m currently running about 70% dine-in for dinners.

Average ticket is much higher as people buy drinks and are easier to upsell appetizers and deserts to. It also adds to our branding… we see our customers, talk to them, give them great service and make them love the place. It’s hard to do that with delivery and carry-out only where you may have contact with your customer for less than a minute on an order.

The dining room also enables us to have parties, like the $1,100 one I just booked for next Wednesday :slight_smile:

Isn’t that competition?

Have you considered delivery? You can add that in your existing buidling with minimal investment (labor, delivery bags, cartop signs, insurance). The upside with delivery, you’ll possibly attract a whole different clientele. And if they like you, they may be better than your “would be” dine-in customers anyways.

I used to have 5 del/cos. Never again. Earlier this year I closed the last of them and opened a dine in only shop with 120 seats indoors and 80 on an ocean front patio. Gone is the stress of thinking about drivers, late deliveries, and the stale lifeless telephone only human contact. I had my own fleet of vehicles as well, and the upkeep,insurance, and gas cost took a major bite out of my profits every month.

The market is changing. 20 years ago when pizza delivery was the only delivery around it was a completely different game than it is today. You don’t need a crystal ball to tell you that the future holds increased insurance premiums, higher gas prices, busier roads, and more road rage. Add that to the increased completion from other business hungry to expand their customer base, and you have a real challenge looming on the horizon.

The flip side here is that we have been delivering in the pizza business for years, and there is a huge experience gap. Getting in on the cutting edge will really pay off in the years to come. Internet ordering, automatic SMS messages sent when the pizza leaves the store (“Your pizza has just left the store and will be there in 12 minutes, the cost is $12.95 not including the tip…”), warm bars and packaging advances… the list is endless.

Either way if you are delivering or thinking about it, you will have to make some necessary changes to keep on top of the delivery game.

Man, I would kill for a dining room

Hi Guys:

Do you who have dining rooms also have beer, wine, and liquor?

George Mills

The thing is we will be a few minutes away from the local university and several bars and plan to be open for delivery until at least 2:30 or 3:00 am on weekends and maybe till 1 the rest of the week.

I guess I don’t see it as competition because I can’t compete on their level - meaning the playing field isn’t the same because I don’t have a dining room. If I did, then I would consider them competition. Delivery is not an option as being in a rural area, the population center is about 6 square blocks, then nothing but corn fields for miles. If I were to start delivery, it would be difficult to enforce boundaries in my opinion. I’d have someone saying “you deivered to my neighbor, I’m only 1/2 mile down the road why can’t you deliver to me”? Then the next guy down the road and so on…I don’t want to open that can of worms.

We have beer and wine only. Liquor is really expensive and did not fit in our business plan.

We have 15 drafts and 28 bottles. 90% of that is craft/micro brews. But again, that is what our business plan called for. Could not imagine not having beer and wine!

Everyone with a delivery area has that issue - its quite simple - you work out where your delivery area is and you stick to it. Try and make it as simple as possible and link to main roads/crossing so people can relate to it where possible.

I frequently get calls from people miles outof my area becuase I drive my branded vehicle through that area. One guy rgued with my for ages one night - I’ve just seen one of your cars about an hour ago driving past my house so you must deliver- I replied that was me driving to work from my in-laws - I never relaised that I could only drive my car in the area - I wish someone had told me :roll:

Would I do it again - no - differently - sure!

I have a full bar and 5 beer taps and a mobile beer tab (Very choice, if you have the means, I highly recommend one). I sell far more beer and wind than hard liquor though.

Wow, the profit margin on wind must be huge! :slight_smile: :slight_smile: