2012 December: Maximize Your Delivery Service

2012 December: Maximize Your Delivery ServiceChances are your pizza delivery service represents a major portion of your business profits, but it can also represent a major expense. Because there are many variables that dictate your delivery service profits—drive times, employee pay model, marketing, number of orders in a given time frame—it can seem difficult if not impossible to gain control over this part of the operation. However, when you take the time to develop an efficient delivery strategy, you can enjoy better delivery times, reduced delivery expenses, enhanced branding and marketing, and increased customer satisfaction. The following five tips will help you maximize the money you make with pizza delivery service.

1. Charge a Delivery Fee

Delivery doesn’t have to be a business expense; rather, it can be a profitable income source. Let’s say you deliver within five miles of your location. You pay your drivers mileage at a rate of 15 cents per mile. That means you will pay your driver $1.50 for the 10-mile round trip (hourly wages are static, and so do not have direct bearing on delivery-specific profits). A $2 delivery fee allows you to cover the driver’s fee, plus allow you to profit an additional 50 cents per delivery order.

An even better model would be to eschew mileage reimbursement in favor of a split delivery fee. With an even split, a $2 delivery fee on that same five-mile round trip would allow both you and your driver to make $1 each. Many pizzerias either offer free delivery or give the entire delivery fee to their drivers. This is a missed opportunity for increased profits. If you earn $1 per delivery and average 30 delivery orders per day, in a year’s time you’ll earn an additional $10,950 in annual profits by incorporating a split delivery fee.

2. Always Use Car Toppers

Some pizzerias resist investing in car toppers, and in doing so miss a supreme opportunity to enhance brand recognition and motivate immediate orders. When your delivery drivers display car toppers that feature your brand name, logo and phone number, dozens or even hundreds of potential customers are exposed to your business every single delivery. Your brand name is recognized and hungry commuters are motivated to place orders immediately from their cell phones or as soon as they return home.

Let’s say you have three delivery drivers on a typical shift. If you buy three lighted car toppers at a price of $130 each, you’ll invest a total of $390 to outfit all three vehicles. (Maintenance expenses, such as light bulbs, are infrequent and minimal.) If you average 30 orders per day and each driver passes just 20 people, your car toppers will put your business in front of 600 potential customers every day. A standard car topper could easily last five years or more, which means that your $390 investment could easily achieve more than one million potential customer views over five years. Compare that to the cost of direct mailers!

3. Hire the Best Drivers

Your drivers are critical to your delivery profits. Often, drivers dictate first impressions and play a major role in how your company is perceived. The best delivery drivers are well-groomed and presentable, friendly and courteous, prompt and dependable, and they have positive attitudes. If they drive well-maintained vehicles, even better.

Take the time to carefully screen new driver hires and try to gain an understanding of them. When you’re considering new hires, casual conversation can be far more beneficial than an interview Q and A session. It’s important to make sure your questions are answered, certainly, but it’s just as important to evaluate candidate personalities before making a hiring decision. The best delivery drivers don’t just show up to work on time; they understand the importance of great customer service, which leads to faster delivery times, increased customer satisfaction and more repeat business.

4. Tell Customers You Deliver

Pizza delivery is so prevalent that customers automatically know you deliver, right? Not necessarily. Never miss an opportunity to tell customers about your delivery service. Let’s say you have a five-mile delivery area, but you rarely receive orders beyond three miles. A likely reason would be that customers who live beyond three miles might see your menus but assume you don’t deliver far enough to reach them. Printing your delivery area on your menus makes it clear that you do, indeed, cover their locations and will result in more orders.

If you deliver to local hotels, your menus should not only make it clear that you deliver, but also where you deliver and when. Since travelers are typically unfamiliar with local geography, you should consider listing the specific hotels you deliver to. You should also print your delivery hours, especially if you provide service earlier or later than most of your competitors.

Reminding your customers about your delivery service leads to “a-ha” moments at a later date for customers and greater profits for you.

5. Offer Drop-Off Catering

Much attention is given to residential delivery service, but drop-off catering to businesses, organizations and events can represent a significant portion of your total profits as well. Develop a catering menu that features different types of packages and market drop-off catering for luncheons, seminars, conferences, employee appreciation days, business events, non-profit events, and more.

Businesses, pharmaceutical representatives, schools, churches, and other organizations all host events that represent unique opportunities for you to land large orders with a convenient delivery service. You already have the product, equipment, and staff, so be wise and develop a drop-off catering service to significantly increase profits through your delivery service.

Maximizing delivery profits is one of three topics World Champion Pizza Maker of the Year Shawn Randazzo, of Detroit Style Pizza Co., will be covering at the Pizza Expo in March. He also will present seminars on “How to Build a Winning Company Culture” and “Making the Most of Online Orders.”

For more details on International Pizza Expo 2013, visit www.pizzaexpo.com.

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