Juan Rivera’s six-unit LA Pizza concept in the Los Angeles suburbs does a brisk delivery business.
About 60 percent of LA Pizza’s business comes from delivery orders for pies like a 36-slice Mega Pizza.
But independent pizzerias like Rivera’s have long struggled to compete with big, tech-forward chains like Domino’s and Papa John’s, which have made digital ordering a breeze for customers. In a way, Domino’s and Papa John’s have trained consumers not to call for pizza delivery anymore: It’s just too easy to order online or by app. But now, Rivera is working with a third-party partner to offer its own delivery technology. LA Pizza uses Slice, a technology and marketing platform dedicated to independent pizza operators.
customers the option of ordering delivery and paying ahead via mobile app. It also powers online orders from a restaurant’s Facebook page without the use of Messenger. Just like Domino’s and Papa John’s, Slice users can build and customize their own pizza. Customers pay ahead and get a confirmation, as well as an estimated of arrival time. Later this year, Slice will add a tracking feature.
Other third-party delivery providers help consumers find independent pizza operators like LA Pizza, but those services are not available in all markets.
“We focus on partnering with pizza restaurants in the suburbs and small towns of America,” said Ilir Sela, who founded Slice in 2010. “The other delivery guys do a great job in dense urban areas, but when you get out of the big cities, local guys don’t have access to these tools.”
Slice, which as has partnered with about 6,000 restaurants across the country, is available in every state.
Slice does customer retention marketing by sending users emails reminding them to order again, or push notifications with deals or coupons.
“Once you place an order from your favorite pizza place, every time you come back, the experience is catered around that,” Sela said. “You can reorder the same thing as last Thursday, or you can try someplace new.”
For pizza restaurants, there are no upfront costs and no set-up fees, Sela said. Restaurants pay a transactional fee of about $2 per order.
“The customer has the ability and the luxury of perusing the menu and not feeling like they have to rush off the phone,” Sela said. “Pizza places can be busy on a Friday night and the person answering the phone is in a rush and it’s loud. They don’t have the time to upsell. But when you order online, you don’t have that kind of chaos.”
Rivera loves that Slice takes some pressure off phone orders.
And although about 60 percent of LA Pizza’s delivery customers pay with cash, Rivera said he likes that operators can choose for payments processed by Slice to be paid out weekly, biweekly or monthly. Rivera chose the monthly payment, which means he has money coming in at the end of the month to pay utilities and other bills.
“That’s just how I do it, but to me, it’s a good combination,” he said. “I get the cash I need, and I also save for the end of the month.”
All photos courtesy of Slice.