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Thread: Everything you ever wanted to know about the pizza biz

  1. #26
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Yes, I've gotten offers of unconventional tips, but nothing sexual. Mainly beer. I've been offered weed before; I turned it down. One driver I worked with got offered a line of cocaine.
    In college, when my friends and I ordered pizza and we were drinking, we would habitually offer the pizza guy shots (of whiskey, rum, vodka, etc.), and half the time, they drank one with us. Any Cyburbians that were former pizza deliverers partake?
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
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  2. #27
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by PrahaSMC View post
    I think what a lot of people don't realize is that at many smaller joints, for ease of accounting, the drivers aren't reimbursed for gas or mileage. Instead, they receive a slightly higher base wage (the real minimum wage, rather than a waiter's wage), and keep their own bank.
    Ouch. The place where I worked in the mid-to-late 1980s, we used to get a base wage (minimum plus longevity), plus $1 per address, plus tips. On a busy night, if a driver was mostly in-and-out and had little idle time in the store, they could clear $12 to $14 an hour; a lot of money in 1987. We drove our own cars.

    At the start of the shift, the store gave us a base bank of $20. We were to drop everything over $20 in our own cash locker in the store. At the end of the night, the manager added up our delivery slips, compared them to our logs, and collected the bank plus gross sales, minus $1 per address and tips. Tips weren't pooled or shared.

    Some drivers worked full-time jobs, and drove disposable compact cars that was just used for their delivery job. One driver, a college student, drove a 1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser. Another driver had a Porsche 924.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  3. #28
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Also, I would think that pizza (or other food) delivery would be an ideal 'for the money' job for someone at the university who is studying to get into the planning field - you get to go into all parts of the area and say 'hello' to every kind of demographic - with a golden opportunity to observe how a city is really wired together.

    Mike

  4. #29
    Cyburbian cng's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    The pizza business isn't as shrouded in mystery as Chinese restaurants. Let this veteran be your guide.
    Being Chinese, and knowing friends in the Chinese restaurant business... let me shed a light on what is perceived as a mystery. There are three types of Chinese restaurant owners: 1) let's make it cheap and sell it cheap; 2) i want to take some pride in my food, but everybody just asks for orange chicken, so i'm just going to dumb down the menu to cater to the local clientele; and 3) authenticity runs in the family.

    1) Let's make it cheap and sell it cheap. You see these types of places at strip malls. Get some beef and broccoli and a side of chow mein for 4 bucks. The decor is often horrid, and the walls are sticky from old grease. Surprisingly, the operators often speak decent English, although occasionally, you get a sneak peek at the Latino chef in the kitchen. 85% of Chinese buffet places fall into this category; don't let the king crab legs fool you... you know how bad the dried up california rolls are.

    2) I want to take some pride in my food, but everybody just asks for orange chicken, so I'm just going to dumb down the menu to cater to the local clientele. I've had several Chinese restaurant owners confess this to me. They are somewhat embarrassed about their menu when I come in, because they know that I recognize authentic Chinese when I see it. They are apologetic and tell me that they dumb down their menu, because that's the way the locals like it. Too much seafood is not good. Forget about trying to serve fish. Everybody likes orange chicken and beef and broccoli. Walnut shrimp is pushing the envelope. 15% of Chinese buffet places fall into this category.

    3) Authenticity runs in the family. This is rare. Visit a Chinatown to find this, preferably San Francisco. And just because they serve dim sum doesn't mean they qualify under this category. I've had some bad tasting shui mai's before.

    Sorry, I know this is OT from the pizza thread, but I had to respond to the reference of mysterious Chinese restaurant practices.

  5. #30
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    A few more questions about the pizza biz:

    1) I assume selling those circular bread objects with sauce and cheese on them covers the overhead, but it's the toppings that provides the black ink in the accounts ledgers. Is this true?
    2) what are the most expensive toppings? Are there ingredients that pizza places are compelled to provide that are break even items or even a loss? It's hard to imagine losing money when some places charge $1.00 to $1.50 per topping.
    3) do pizza delivery guys ever provide speedier service if they know, for instance, the delivery is going to a sorority?

  6. #31
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    A few more questions about the pizza biz:

    1) I assume selling those circular bread objects with sauce and cheese on them covers the overhead, but it's the toppings that provides the black ink in the accounts ledgers. Is this true?
    2) what are the most expensive toppings? Are there ingredients that pizza places are compelled to provide that are break even items or even a loss? It's hard to imagine losing money when some places charge $1.00 to $1.50 per topping.
    3) do pizza delivery guys ever provide speedier service if they know, for instance, the delivery is going to a sorority?
    1) the profit margin on the "basics": crust, cheese & sauce, is often higher than for toppings for precisely the reason you describe. If a pizza joint sold just a plain pizza, they would cover their overhead and still make some profit.

    2) Some toppings are obviously more expensive than others--I seem to recall olives having a low profit margin. Pepperoni has probably the best margin of the meats. Cheese prices vary a lot, and goes up during droughts. The $1.00-$1.50 for additional toppings guarantees a good profit margin on all toppings, and really puts the margin up there for cheap toppings like onions. Pineapple used to be a more expensive topping, but I don't know if that is still the case. Chicken can also be a bit on the expensive side.

    3) yes.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  7. #32
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    Cool thread. Another big forum I'm on has a tradition of "Ask the ____" threads for all kinds of professions and hobbyists. We're a little more homogeneous here at least on the profession side.

    My small contribution: There was recently a cool article on the technology of the pizza box.

  8. #33
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    A lot of this thread has been about the pizza delivery angle,which I know nothing about. But, I did work for a Pizza Hut for 3 summers (yes, a long time ago). I was hired as a cook and then they discovered I was too short to use the dough machine, which I think made the difference in the consistency of the dough. So I ended up cooking all the side dishes and helping pile toppings on the pizzas. It's all measured. But then you have weird situations where someone who for religious reasons doesn't eat meat and has to stand in the kitchen and watch you make the pizza. That was actually not uncommon.

    Considering summer jobs at the time,I was really lucky to land that one,one year as a cook and two as a waitress.

  9. #34
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Do pizza delivery guys really get lucky with hot MILFs?
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  10. #35
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    Do pizza delivery guys really get lucky with hot MILFs?
    Reinforcing my view tha 99% of guys on Cyburbia are SHALLOW.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    Reinforcing my view tha 99% of guys on Cyburbia are SHALLOW.
    Just how many guys make up that 1% ?
    Where do you place RJ ?

  12. #37
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    Just how many guys make up that 1% ?
    Where do you place RJ ?
    Anyone who wears a pocket protector is in the 1%.

    Rj is definitely in the sexist 99%. But he'll be punished for that. I won't tell you how.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    Rj is definitely in the sexist 99%. But he'll be punished for that. I won't tell you how.
    Off-topic:
    Does his punishment include cleaning Teh White Tiled Floor or painting your toe nails ?

  14. #39
    Cyburbian fareastsider's avatar
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    I spent some time recently in the pizza game. Luckily this spring I landed a planning job. I don't miss the working in a pizzeria very much. You would not believe how difficult it is for many people to place an order or know what they want. A good tip to anyone placing an order is to know what you want before you place the call.
    While the job isnt to bad if you care about putting out a good product, I think there would be much more passion for the work owning a pizzeria.

  15. #40
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I was just mulling over the possibility of ordering pizza for our Halloween dinner when it occured to me - I'll bet Halloween is one of the busiest nights for the pizza biz.

    Rather than speculating, let's just ask the experts.......what are the busiest days of the year for pizza places?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  16. #41
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    I was just mulling over the possibility of ordering pizza for our Halloween dinner when it occured to me - I'll bet Halloween is one of the busiest nights for the pizza biz.

    Rather than speculating, let's just ask the experts.......what are the busiest days of the year for pizza places?
    Days when the wife does not want to cook.












    *** disclaimer!!! I do most of the cooking in my house so my comments were not intended to be sexist in any way. However, Wednesdays & Thursdays, I work and the wife does not. So she cooks dinner on those nights. Or we get pizza.. or go to BW3. ****
    The most foolish thing one can do this fall is to vote for Clinton or Trump. Wake up, get out of the matrix, and send a message to the political establishment that you won't play their game.

  17. #42
    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    I was just mulling over the possibility of ordering pizza for our Halloween dinner when it occured to me - I'll bet Halloween is one of the busiest nights for the pizza biz.

    Rather than speculating, let's just ask the experts.......what are the busiest days of the year for pizza places?
    New Years, super bowl sunday come to mind.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  18. #43
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    New Years, super bowl sunday come to mind.
    I'm pretty sure those are biggies for the pizza trade, but I'm curious if there are any you wouldn't normally think of, like maybe the day before Thanksgiving or the first Saturday after the local college starts its fall semester or something like that.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  19. #44
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Rather than speculating, let's just ask the experts.......what are the busiest days of the year for pizza places?
    In my experience, Friday and Saturday nights are generally the busiest normal days.

    Rushes generally happened:

    * Sundays when football games from the home team aren't blacked out.
    * Super Bowl Sunday.
    * New Year's Eve.

    We got noticeable bumps:

    * Around college midterm and final exam time.
    * Shortly after the start of the semester, after most students have returned.
    * Christmas Eve.
    * After sundown following Yom Kippur.
    * Saturday before Easter.
    * If there was enough snow to make driving inconvenient.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  20. #45
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    In my experience...
    We got noticeable bumps:

    * After sundown following Yom Kippur.
    Never thought about it, but I guess that makes sense.
    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    * Saturday before Easter.
    Never thought about that one either, not sure it entirely makes sense.
    * If there was enough snow to make driving inconvenient.
    No surprises there. What about a power outage? You ever see a huge influx of orders from a neighborhood that's lost power?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  21. #46
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Cool thread! Must have missed this thread before. I worked for a local neighborhood pizza joint (Mamma Maria's!) for a while, in a fairly upper-middle class suburb. It was actually run by a guy named Tony. Many of the employees fit the stereotype of a pizza driver well. College kids, drove beater cars, got wasted in between runs when it was slow sometimes. We worked for a base wage ($.75 per address) plus tips. We didn't have those signs on our cars, so probably a good thing, though none of the neighborhoods I went to were very scary. Most of the rich addresses tipped well, ESPECIALLY the MILF's. I think they liked a 20 years old just out of the Army kid coming to their door. I think one of the employees was delivering some "other" things besides just pizza, and I heard he went to jail a little bit after I left. I remember delivering to a high school party once, and these really hot drunk girls invited me in and wanted me to stay and party with them. Being young, dumb, and horny, I actually did stay a while and got one of their numbers. They DID tip well.

    I didn't work there long enough to know what the busiest days were, aside from Fridays and Saturday nights were always the busiest, of course. I do remember March Madness weekend were pretty insane, though, and close to the end of the school year/finals week.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

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