By Shawn Randazzo
Pizza delivery drivers get a bad rap. I know, because I used to be one, and it still irks me every time I see an article referencing delivery driver stereotypes. You’ve heard them: lazy, druggies, lowlifes with zero ambition – once a delivery driver, always a delivery driver. But if those stereotypes were universally true, there’s no way I could have gone from being a pizza delivery driver to World Champion Pizza Maker. And though not every pizza delivery driver wants to craft award-winning pizza recipes, every pizza delivery driver does have value.
How much value? Tons. Consider this: For your delivery customers, your driver is the lone face-to-face representative of your company. No matter how great your pizza tastes, your customers will form impressions of your company based on how your drivers look and act. How good would you feel about eating pizza delivered by a rude, disheveled driver? Not very comfortable at all, I’m sure. But if your pizza were delivered by a clean, well-dressed and friendly driver? You wouldn’t question the quality of your purchase.
The fact is that your delivery drivers have great value to your pizzeria, and there’s even more to it than their ability to take a shower and wear a smile. Responsibility, ambition and ability all play a role. The key to a great delivery service, then, starts with hiring great drivers, right? Well, that’s part of it; but the greater responsibility lies in your ability to manage and nurture your drivers’ careers. When you can do that, your drivers not only have value, they add value to your pizzeria.
Here are five ways to field an outstanding delivery team:
- Hire well. Make sure you hire drivers who demonstrate an aptitude for the work, who appear to be responsible, and who seem to genuinely want to succeed. You want drivers who show up on time for your interview, are prepared for your questions and are respectful and friendly. Ask for references, and follow-up. Ask specific questions to get a better feel for your hires.
- Enable. It’s hard to tell your delivery drivers to look clean cut when your kitchen is a mess. Keep your pizzeria clean and operate in a professional manner at all times. Encourage all of your employees to behave professionally and take their jobs seriously. Remember your new hires will follow others’ leads. You also need to provide your drivers with the tools they need to be successful. Integrated GPS maps, for example, make it easy for drivers to find where they’re going and reduce delivery times.
- Recognize. When your drivers do well, recognize them in front of the rest of your employees. Recognition for a job well done does not go unnoticed and imbues a sense of pride that will help keep your drivers working hard for you.
- Reward. Offer rewards to keep your drivers interested and invested in their work. Contests, attendance rewards, gas cards and days off are all ways you can reward your drivers. Raises and promotions are others.
- Mentor and foster growth. Act as a mentor for your drivers, no matter what their ambitions. Get to know them and offer advice when warranted. Solicit ideas and thank your drivers for them; reward the ideas you keep, and equally important, explain why you didn’t keep the ones that won’t work for you. Get your drivers to buy in to your mission, and they’ll have a vested interest in helping you improve your pizzeria. Develop a program that fosters growth, perhaps a career track to management or even franchising.
When you incorporate these and other ideas into your delivery service, you’ll be able to count on reliable, take-charge delivery drivers who hard work to grow your business. They’ll shed the inaccurate stereotypes associated with pizza delivery drivers, and become driving forces in your business success.
Our 2012 Pizza Maker of the Year, Shawn Randazzo, of Detroit Style Pizza Co., specializes in the delivery business and will be covering delivery topics in a seminar on Tuesday, March 25, at Pizza Expo.
This Pizza Expo Exclusive is part of a continuing series leading up to the International Pizza Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center on March 24-27, 2014. Seminar speakers and demonstrators will provide professional advice on their area of expertise.
CLICK HERE to read more Pizza Expo Exclusives.
To Learn more about International Pizza Expo, visit www.pizzaexpo.com.