January 28, 2013 |

2010 January: A Pizza My Mind

By Dave Ostrander

I was blessed to train and develop many talented pizza delivery drivers over the years. What they found is that customers prefer to do repeat business with friendly people. They also found that they could earn tips three times their hourly wage by going the extra mile for our customers. In this day and age, just showing up and delivering food is not enough. You need to strive to be extraordinary.

My drivers were just that. Below are some of the things that made them stand out. I’ve written about these services before. But these ideas were so successful that it only seemed appropriate to bring them up again.

? Be uniform! Uniforms command attention and shout professionalism. You choose what is right for you. Think UPS/FedEx/Chauffeur. I have a client in Miami who has his drivers wear tuxedo shirts and bow ties with black slacks. He buys them for a few bucks apiece from the tux rental service when they get that “not quite new” look.

? Always have a small sandwich baggie with two or three dog biscuits for Fido. He’s usually the fi rst one to the door. Ask permission of the owner before treating the dog. Buy the bulk size bags at the discount store. Have your drivers make the baggies up assembly line style by the hundred. Keep them in a box near the back door so that it’s easy to reload them when necessary.

? My drivers offered to replace burned out porch light bulbs. They purchased them out of their own pockets. Believe me, they did not lose money on this service.

? Drivers always had a baggie with small pizza dough for the kiddies in the house. We made the baggies a dough prep function.

? When time allowed, drivers offered to do small repair and maintenance tasks that were obvious: lube the storm door; tighten the screws, etc. This brought them in huge tips, goodwill and positive word of mouth. We even nailed and screwed new house numbers that were visible from the street when we noticed customers that needed them. In October, we offered to replace batteries in smoke detectors.

? Offer driving directions to out-of-towners when making motel deliveries.

? Every time a delivery was made to a non-domicile (motel, school, office, etc.) a Motel Pack was offered. This would be hand-made by the hundred and consisted of two nine-inch Styrofoam plates, two forks, two wet-wipes and napkins. We invented these beauties for the motels but soon used them for all customers that didn’t usually have the basics to enjoy the pizza. Almost every idea to enhance the customer’s experience came from my staff. The ideas regarding porch lights, house numbers and batteries came from my firefighting experience. Promote TLC (think like a customer) and watch the ideas pour in. Don’t just be in the pizza business, make sure you’re in the extraordinary service business.

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 and leads seminars on operational topics for the family of Pizza Expo tradeshows.