From the horse's mouth

Everyone does business a different way. In this new department, PMQ will pose two to three questions each issue to a group of owners/operators from across the country so you can see what others think about certain topics. In this department, you get the word straight from the horse’s mouth. If you have a question you would like to have asked or would like to volunteer and voice your opinions, email Tom Boyles at tom@pmq.com.

This installment interviews:

Dale "The Pie Man" Roberts
Longmont, CO
Blackjack Pizza

Rob Koons
Plano, TX
The Upper Crust Pizza Company

 

Heather Barbosa
Bethlehem, PA
Manny B's Pizza Restaurant

 

Chris Tierney
Nagasaki, Japan
Chris' Pizza Americana

What are your opinions on charging for delivery?

Dale Roberts “For the longest time I’ve thought is was not a good idea. Why charge more for what I’m here to provide anyway? Being a del/co unit, it was pretty much a built-in cost and the cost of doing business. I have just put in a delivery charge (0.50¢/delivery) and there have been no bad experiences from it. I still don’t think it is right, but facing the high insurance for delivery and rising gas prices that will force me to pay my drivers more, I would recommend it to anyone.”

Rob Koons “In our area, the major's are charging for delivery. I currently do not charge and then market that fact to help increase our market share. For years, the majors created the expectation of free delivery and hurt the fact that people should pay for this service. Should a person who comes in to eat, or drive in to pick up, pay the same as someone sitting at home? No. Unfortunately, it is now expected. I am a fairly new shop and even though the food is superior to the major's, I still need to advertise any edge to get people to try me out. Down the road, once I have established a large customer base, I will probably start to charge.”

Heather Barbosa “I think charging for delivery is a must. When the "Big 3" started charging for delivery, they made it OK for all the independent operators to do so as well. There are so many additional costs and liabilities associated with delivery. The average customer has come to understand and expect a delivery charge.”

 

Chris Tierney “I charge 200 yen ($1.90) if the delivery is less than 2,000 yen ($19.00). None of my competitors charge for delivery, but they all have a minimum order amount for delivery.

 

What is the best selling non-pizza item on your menu and what would you recommend other operators consider adding to their menu?

Dale Roberts “Wings! I use La Nova wings and offer five easy flavors from two of their prepared wings. I sell a ton of them. They are a higher food cost item, but make a very nice up-sell that lowers your labor. They compliment my pizzas rather nicely too. If you are not selling wings, then they are something you should consider.”

Rob Koons  “Wings are number two in sales behind pizza. If you are not doing wings, you should definitely add them. They just go with pizza now. We bake ours in the oven (conveyor), so it did not cost us the extra expense of a hood and fryers, not to mention the added fun of cleaning the fryers. We also let everyone know that we bake them. We tell them they are less greasy and maybe a little less fattening than deep-fried. We use La Nova and I can honestly say they taste like they are fried if you cook them long enough.”

Heather Barbosa “Our best selling non-pizza item is our cheese steak. Hoagies and grinders are a very close second. I would recommend adding a deep fryer to operators who don't currently have one. Adding a fryer opens the door for appetizers, fries, wings, and many different sandwiches and dinners. We deep fry chicken parm, veal parm, eggplant parm, etc.”

Chris Tierney “I sell tacos by the ton. The operations are simple and the food cost is low. You can up-sell tacos easily, and it takes less time to prepare than a large pepperoni. I added soft tacos last year and now up-sell even more orders. They also have a very small cost to implement and the equipment takes up very little space. A crock pot to keep the meat warm from Costco is $39.99 and I keep the shells warm on top of the oven.”