July 30, 2013 |

Man on the Street Scott Wiener talks deliver anticipation

By Scott Wiener

delivery, driverThe time between placing a delivery order and my pizza’s arrival is interminable. Seconds pass at a snail’s pace as I wonder what could possibly be taking so long. I start to think the driver either got lost or maybe she’s handing my pizza over to a confused neighbor. Even worse … they probably lost my order altogether! My worries are squelched by the jarring sound of the doorbell, yet drama continues as I open the box in dire anticipation of what mistakes it might contain. Is this merely paranoia or are my fears founded in past deliveries gone wrong? I’d like to guide you through a pizza delivery from my perspective so you can experience the emotional rollercoaster for yourself.

Placing The Order

Contrary to what most of us thought a decade ago, there’s more than one way to order a pizza. My friends prefer to order online or via an app that will let them clearly mark what they want without fear of misinterpretation through a bad phone connection or language barrier. There’s also a paper trail with online ordering just in case I need to protest an incorrectly filled order. Personally, I prefer to speak to an actual human. A good voice on the other end of the line fills the role of an in-house server as far as item explanations, suggestions and overall comfort of experience. A bad voice makes me want to find another pizzeria for my next order.

The Waiting Game

This is the hardest part of the pizza ordering process because it’s a void of communication between the pizzeria and me. In your restaurant, you can communicate delays and issues with the order instantly but rarely is this possible when I order delivery. I have to give credit to Domino’s Pizza for their ingenious Pizza Tracker because it manages expectations beautifully and creates a branding opportunity in a pocket of time previously left unused. The tracker also humanizes an otherwise anonymous process by attaching a name to every step of the order’s completion. When it tells me Julio is heading my way, I get genuinely excited to meet him! Smaller companies can do the same by sending text alerts or automated calls when the pizza goes out. If that’s impossible due to time or tech restrictions, a clear and accurate estimate of delivery time over the phone usually does enough to manage my expectations. The last thing you want is for me to clog up your phone line with an inquiry about my order when you could have prevented my question with more information.


This is the first and only time I’m face-to-face with your staff. An in-house server has several opportunities to sculpt my dining experience but this delivery driver has only one. It’s a great opportunity to offer extras like spices and coupons that will likely lead to repeat business for both the pizzeria and the driver, but deliveries that involve only a quick handoff offer little incentive for me to call you instead of the guy down the block. I’d love to see pizzerias take advantage of opportunities like this to simultaneously help themselves and the customer

Scott Wiener owns and operates Scott’s Pizza Tours in New York City.