Business and Operations
Pizza delivery tech: From the Editor’s Desk
Get the pizza to the people
By Colleen Cross
Drones have successfully delivered pizza to customers, so I shouldn’t be surprised to read about self-driving pizza delivery.
Yet I am impressed by news of a U.S. study undertaken by Domino’s Pizza and Ford to try to understand the role self-driving vehicles can play in pizza delivery.
As part of the testing, researchers from both companies will investigate customer reactions to interacting with a self-driving vehicle as a part of their delivery experience, a move that suggests they are putting the horse before the cart, where it should be, by listening to their customers’ needs.
Domino’s has a reputation for technological innovation. In 2015, the company worked with GM and Roush Enterprises to design a small car model for pizza delivery that boasted an illuminated warming oven.
These developments can feel like ingenuity, progress and a threat to human jobs all at the same time. The Domino’s DXP warming-oven car seems designed to make the delivery driver’s life a little easier and a lot more efficient. But the notion of the self-driving car puts that very job at risk.
You can’t halt progress – and if a product, tool or service pleases the customer, we can probably call it progress in the world of food service. Customers seem hungry for options, and I’m not just talking about choosing pizza toppings in a fast make line. Some want to eat their pizza at home with a houseful of hungry Peewee hockey players, some want to order it using their smartphone, some want to pick it up at the drive-thru, some want to take their time deciding at an in-store kiosk and some want their ’za brought to their table along with a full description of how it’s made and time built in for questions. There are so many ways to get your pizza now.
Five years ago, there may have been some eye rolling at some of the technology options out there. Today, they don’t seem quite so outlandish. After all, we saw a relatively big burst of change happen when the internet came to town and people and industries like food service figured out how to put it to use.
The less technical but possibly more game-changing third-party food delivery apps have made their mark on the restaurant industry. Some of these tools and technologies were created to push the limits. Others, like delivery services, are focused squarely on the customer and seem destined to stick around.
There is room for all in this delivery potpourri: dine-in, home delivery, carryout, online ordering, drive-thru, self-serve kiosk, take ’n’ bake, catering, farmer’s market stands, delivery to campgrounds, and as you’ll read in our cover story, picnicking on the farm is an appealing option that is working for Integrity Foods.
Think of these delivery methods not so much as items to tick off your list but options to consider then decide if they are right for your business and the market it serves. In some cases, it just makes sense to be on a platform like Just Eats, for example, just as it makes sense to have a Facebook presence – if that’s where your customers are.
Ultimately it comes down to knowing your customer, justifying the choices you make and knowing how to communicate that to your customer.
Any innovation that makes your job easier, satisfy current customers and tap into new ones is bound to have staying power.
Some of you do pickup only, others focus more on delivery and many use a combination of methods. Let us know which new methods you are trying and what they are doing for your sales!