Is now the right time to start offering delivery? The answer may not be as simple as you’d think.

A new pizzeria owner does great weekend business but his weeknights stink. Would adding delivery be the smart thing to do—or a huge mistake?




 

Luke: We’re a six-week-old local pizza shop doing solid weekend business (about 150-plus pizzas), but I want to expand the business on quieter midweek nights by adding delivery. But I’m terrified because we’re so busy dealing with our usual rush-hour pickup orders on the weekend; I don’t want to make it more complicated and have to increase labor for the same number of pizza orders. We have one oven and have about three people making pizzas. I would love to hear your thoughts on how I can start offering delivery and gain new customers without causing my existing carryout customers to switch to delivery.

 

d9phoenix: Starting delivery will incur a fairly large expense, and it will take time for it to start paying for itself. But if you do it right, your ticket average should be higher than carryouts. You need to determine if the extra initial costs will be worth it in the long run and make sure you can afford it in the short run. However, from what you’ve said about your setup, you should not try to do delivery, in my opinion. It sounds like you are already pretty much at maximum capacity during your busy periods.

Luca Veltri: I wish I did NOT deliver. Unfortunately, it’s about 20% of my business. But finding drivers sucks. There are communication problems with customers (i.e., they literally don’t know their own address). The food doesn’t taste the same [when it’s delivered]. Your insurance goes up, and if you get coverage, you can be sued for your drivers’ accidents. Not having delivery would be like winning the lottery for me. If you don’t need it, why offer it? If you were struggling without offering delivery, it would be a different story.

jerseydevil1977: Try using one of the third-party companies, like UberEats or DoorDash. Amazon is even getting in on it. (We somehow ended up on DoorDash and get one or two orders daily through them, and we didn’t even sign up with them.) Moving to third-party delivery wouldn’t shake out too well for us—I suspect delivery usually makes up about 40% to 50% of our orders. So I’d rather not see these third-party companies taking all the deliveries around here, since that would make for disgruntled employees and higher labor costs for me. 

Get answers to your most perplexing problems and swap tips and ideas with the experts in PMQ’s Think Tank, the pizza industry’s oldest and most popular online forum. Register for free at thinktank.pmq.com. (Member posts have been edited here for clarity.)

 

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