OPERATIONS: Doorhanging is for drivers, not for kids

June 30, 2003

Jim Moran is a pizza and restaurant industry veteran, and an industry consultant and speaker with Restaurant Trainers, Inc.

I typically get about a dozen e-mails regarding articles I write for PizzaMarketplace. I enjoy the comments and opinions and have responded to all of them -- that is, until last month's article, "Everyone wins on the 'one per run' delivery system." I got so many e-mails I was unable to respond to them all.

Most of the comments were from drivers or managers who felt that they did not need to do any additional promoting of their stores because they have a group of kids who does such promotion for them.

Let me be clear: I don't think drivers should promote in addition to your group of kids, I think they should promote instead of them, Properly motivated drivers are always the best promoters because it is in their best interest to do a great job. Running around (that's right, running, not walking) distributing doorhangers to

Jim Moran

businesses and homes is the easiest way to promote sales. The more sales a store does, the more money a driver will make.

There is definitely a right way and a wrong way to promote. If one of my consulting clients wants to learn the right way, they actually have to go promoting with me. Many of the important aspects of promoting must be demonstrated rather than explained.

I can tell you that the right way to promote involves an organized approach where each promoter has a specific border to the territory in which he'll promote, as well as a direction in which he'll send the promoters.

The wrong way is to drop six or eight kids in a neighborhood, tell them to have at it and then pick them up a couple of hours later at some park or intersection (See David Grisard's comments on running low labor in my past article, "The secrets of running low labor" http://www.pizzamarketplace.com/research_story.htm?article_id=15528&pavilion=104).

A recent client of mine, who is a master franchisee for Wing Zone, has adopted my approach and seen dramatic results. He stopped using the group of school kids he'd used and started using drivers. Normally these drivers were scheduled at 11 a.m., but now they come in at 9 a.m. and go promoting. When finished, they help the manager prep and set up the store.

In the afternoon they no longer choose between sending one driver on a two- or three-hour break or keeping them both and pushing labor cost higher. Instead the drivers trade off days going out promoting with the manager or manager-in-training when the lunch rush slows. An added benefit to this system is this: If you get busy earlier than expected, it's easy to call a driver on a cell phone and get him back to the store.

The system also provides the drivers the advantage of added business -- and they can save money on a gym membership, because they are getting plenty of exercise hoofing it door to door.

It works if you work it

My Wing Zone client now gets considerably more doorhangers distributed with less labor dollars expended. His sales are up 32 percent and his labor has dropped from 28 percent to 17 percent. The effect this combination has had on the profitability of his store is staggering.

Most stores have a couple of nights each week when the rush starts later than expected. And in these situations, operators are tempted to send drivers home -- but they don't because they don't want to get burned by a late rush.

But instead of watching your labor go through the roof and listening to drivers complain about how slow it is, send a couple of them promoting. And when the rush does hit, call them back just like I recommend you do in the afternoon.

Another advantage drivers have over other promoters is in their ability to promote to secured apartment buildings and high rises that are otherwise difficult to enter. When a driver gets a delivery in one of these, send him with coupons to hang on as many doorknobs or slide under doors as possible. For every order you receive in the next three days from that building, give the driver a dollar. This becomes more expensive if it's a large high rise, so when I was an operator, I sent two drivers on a run and paid them $5 each up front.

Another option is to give all the drivers a stack of doorhangers and let them put their own special symbol (smiley face, initials, etc.) on each coupon. Then, every time a coupon comes back with their symbol on it, they earn a buck.

Knowing that promotion helps both the store and the driver, I've had plenty of drivers who promote on their own time (instead of jogging for mere exercise), to earn some extra money, or just to help the store.

Your drivers will love this plan if they know what is good both for them and their wallets. I was a pizza deliverer for many years and I worked for all kinds of different managers. And speaking from experience, I had a lot more fun working for the managers who asked me to play a role in the success of their stores.

I can't wait to see the emails this month!

Other articles by Jim Moran ...

OPERATIONS: Everyone wins on the 'one per run' delivery system

OPERATIONS: Cross-training lowers labor cost, boosts morale OPERATIONS: The secrets of running low labor 

Topics: Marketing , Operations Management

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