2012 October: Ask Big Dave

We are expanding our restaurant from one to two locations. Our second location is three miles away from the first in a small town. We are very concerned about logistics relating to deliveries.

Do we divide the town or hope that some custom­ers just call the second location?

Do you have any independent pizza shops in mind that have loca­tions that close to give us advice? Or just advice in general?

Stephanie Costa
Phelps Babe’s Pizza & Pasta
Eureka, CA

Hi Stephanie, your biggest challenge will be educating your town that there are now TWO Babe’s stores. For the first several months you will have customers who call your first location for a carryout and show up at the new store looking for their meal. It is going to happen. How your tele­phone people handle the calls will be paramount in sidestepping a big point of frustration for you and your customer. You will need to acquire the best city maps you can get for each store.

Divide the city and assign some addresses to your original store and the rest to the new store. When answering the phone your people will need to give the location the customers called. For instance, “Thanks for calling Babe’s on Walnut. This is Josh, how may I serve you?”This will reduce some misplaced orders.

The next thing I would do is see if my POS computer provider could map out the delivery and alert the phone person that the delivery is in or out of delivery range. If the delivery is okay, proceed as normal. If the customer’s address is closer to the new store I would tell the ordering person that a much closer Babe’s is open to serve them better.
“May I give you their new phone number, or would it be better if I took your order and called it over to the new store?”

New flyers with both phone numbers will be in order. Refrigerator magnets with one phone number would be a very nice touch. Your biggest challenge will be training all phone employees to know every address in your town. They will know or have the tools necessary to determine in a few seconds if the incoming phone call has reached the proper store. I think creating delivery zones in your POS database will be the ticket.

Big Dave Ostrander owned a highly successful independent pizzeria before becoming a consultant, speaker and internationally sought-after trainer. He is a monthly contributor to Pizza Today.

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