What's trending in delivery equipment?
With home delivery such a key element of many pizza operations, our Equipment Overview series wouldn’t be complete without a look at what’s trending in the major components of the delivery process — pizza delivery bags and lightweight delivery scooters.
THERMAL DELIVERY BAGS
The invention of the thermal pizza delivery bag using ‘heat retention technology’ (or in simple terms, bags made from material designed to prevent heat loss) has certainly made it easier to ensure your pizza stays hotter while on its way to its destination.
All major pizza chains use these bags and there is a wide variety to choose from — economically priced models, different shaped and sized bags with a range of straps, and so on. Some of the latest designs even utilise a new ‘reflective fabric’ applicable to cold as well as hot food — i.e. as well as keeping hot food hot, the insulation process ensures they keep cold food cold.
With such a range to choose from, you may think the only real difference is price. But that would be a mistake. Performance is what you should be looking at, and bear in mind that not all delivery bags are made from the same materials or to the same standard, and therefore they won’t all perform the same.
The two performance elements to consider when choosing a delivery bag are (a) heat retention and (b) sweating. Obviously you’ll want to choose a bag which retains heat for as long as possible, but you’ll also want one which prevents ‘sweating’. Once the pizza in its cardboard box is placed inside the bag, inevitably it will start to cool somewhat. As it does, steam is produced. If there’s no way for this steam to escape, it will make the cardboard box and the pizza itself go soggy — losing its attractive crispiness and distinctive texture.
To prevent this, well-designed thermal delivery bags include an inner lining which reflects heat and grommets to release steam. These design elements can make considerable difference in the bag’s quality and performance.
In brief, the key components you should look for in a thermal delivery bag include:
- Stain resistant outer casing
A coated outer casing made from PVC or similarly durable fabric will ensure the bag wears well and is easy to clean.
- Effective seal to retain heat
These days most delivery bags use velcro flaps to close up, but the older varieties sometimes have push-down clips. Make sure the bag effectively seals in the heat once closed to maintain temperature.
- Sweat-preventive lining
The inner lining should be so designed to reflect heat and avoid sweating. This is typically achieved by micro-perforation (tiny holes in the material).
- Manufacturer’s trial/guarantee
Ask the manufacturer if you can have the bag on trial and return it for a full refund should it not perform to your expectations
DELIVERY BAG RACKS
Simply stacking delivery bags one atop the other in your delivery vehicle is not the best idea — the pizzas may become damaged or soggy from the weight of the bags on top, and the bag lining may be damaged by the corners of the pizza box protruding into it as the bag’s top is flattened down.
A better solution is to use a pizza bag rack, which keeps each bag in its own separate section, allowing air circulation between each and ensuring the pizzas inside are not damaged from the weight of other bags.
Bag racks are available in a range of models and sizes and usually take two to four pizza bags. Use these during delivery and you’ll ensure the pizza arrives in optimum condition.
Using motorized scooters rather than larger vehicles to deliver pizzas is a trend which is fast taking off in Australia. For some time major chains like Dominos have been utilising scooters to deliver pizzas — they’re cheap to run and their maneuverability can result in faster delivery times.
The Tonelli Zippy scooter, utilised by chains including Dominos and Pizza Capers, is a custom-built vehicle that features a box which holds 16 x 12 inch family sized pizzas plus extras, and also has a storage compartment on the front of the scooter which can be used to deliver cold drinks. The scooter also features a heated cell powered by its electrical system to ensure the pizzas stay hot.
Tonelli also has a 100 per cent electric delivery scooter in two versions equivalent to 50cc and 125cc petrol engines.
More information on Tonelli scooters at www.tonelli.com.au/zippy-delivery
A further innovation in delivery scooters has been pioneered by SKAD — whose scooters feature a world-first: a patented illuminated storage box designed with interchangeable panels.
The illuminated box presents a fantastic marketing opportunity — your business’ logo and phone number illuminated for everyone to see, on all four sides of the delivery vehicle — and Domino’s, Pizza Hut and Crust have been quick to take advantage of this, along with other major food franchises such as Subway and Nando’s.
The SKAD delivery scooter runs on diesel or unleaded petrol and boasts 1,500 ccs horsepower.
It’s the brainchild of John Cervino of the SKAD Group, who originally developed the concept as a promotional rather than a delivery vehicle.
“We were advertising for major brands including Vodafone, Gatorade and Pepsi, using the ‘moving billboard’ concept, but we didn’t have a power supply to light up the box so we had to use car batteries,” John remembers.
To solve the problem, John and his team developed patented technology to power the signage box from a 12v battery which converts to 240w.
“This is a world-first commercial delivery scooter with illuminated signage. It’s custom-designed and built to be a workhorse — nobody wants to break down while they’ve got a pizza in the back of the bike!”
John points out that the illuminated signage makes the SKAD scooter safer to ride — as it’s easier for other drivers to see it. “It’s much safer than the normal motor scooter which isn’t lit up. But the branding aspect is obviously the most important consideration, and that is our competitive advantage. For a small price essentially you can have unlimited advertising in your local area.
“Even if you don’t use it to deliver pizzas, you can ride around the local area and do your own marketing campaign. If you see three SKAD scooters at night riding around the area together with your logo and phone number, that’s a cost-effective campaign in itself.”
More information on SKAD delivery scooters at www.skadgroup.com