Industry News | September 17, 2008

Pizza Delivery Debacles

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Often when a pizza delivery story makes it into consumer news, it’s a robbery, carjacking, or fender bender. That was true until recently when a 20-year-old Australian pizza delivery driver was stopped by local police for delivering his pizza too quickly.

Clocked going 82 mph in a 50 mph zone on Saturday, the delivery man said he was rushing to deliver a pizza that was already 20 minutes late to the northern Australian town of Townsville. The unusual story has already been picked up and reported on by Reuters, making its way into newspapers as far away as India and the United Kingdom.

According to reports, police officers saw the man speed by on his way to deliver the pizza then waited for him to complete his run and arrested him on his drive back when he was clocked driving even faster than before. To add insult to injury, the man, whose name was not released, was driving on a provisional license. Police sergeant Brendan White told news sources on Tuesday that the man was fined about $1,226 and lost his license for the next 15 months.

For an industry that sells about 3 billion pizzas in the U.S. alone each year, according to the National Association of Pizza Operators, and relies so heavily on delivery drivers, it’s not surprising that the occasional delivery blooper leaks to the press. Earlier this month, a Philadelphia news station reported on a delivery driver who, disgruntled that he wasn’t given a tip after a delivery, was arrested twice in two days. And in August, Utah news outlets picked up a blog post by a Provo delivery woman that detailed her rude run-in with state senator Curt Bramble during a routine delivery.

In fact, there’s an entire Web site devoted to pizza delivery stories. Posts, which even track monthly delivery earnings, are written by a local delivery driver and date back to March 2007 when business was busy because of the NCAA Sweet 16. Stories titled “‘Keep The Coins’ Is NOT a Tip!” and “Naked Pizza Customer” are just examples of his 10-page musings.

Expect to hear about more delivery adventures in the future since the segment seems to be going strong despite the weakening economy. According to the most recent QSR 50 statistics, sales from the top seven pizza concepts grew 3.2 percent last year. Pizza Hut remains the king of the segment followed by Domino’s and Papa John’s respectively.

--Blair Chancey