What your RDS can learn from their best strategic moves—and their worst mistakes.

Legend has it that the very first pizza delivery happened back in the 1800s. Queen Margherita of Italy was sick of fancy dinners and asked for something more ordinary. The best pizza chef in Naples rose to the challenge and sent three pizzas to the queen. Like many of us, Queen Margherita was an immediate fan, and the rest is history.

Needless to say, pizza places mastered the food delivery game long before many other restaurants. Competition between the big guys is fierce, and their big moves—and big mistakes—are often very, very public. By keeping an eye on these long-time delivery pros, your RDS can borrow their best ideas and step up your game.

We pulled some of the top pizza delivery news stories from the past few years and analyzed them for you. Here are the key takeaways for your RDS:

Pay attention to your competition—and don’t be afraid to copy their homework.

Papa John’s Pizza pulled one of their most successful ideas straight from the Domino’s playbook. For years, Domino’s has offered an extremely popular combo deal. Customers can mix and match pizza, pasta, salad, or whatever else they want for just $6.99 each.

Papa John’s started doing the same. The company recently announced “Papa’s Pairings,” a nearly exact replica of the Domino’s deal. The menu features pizza, cheese sticks, desserts, and other items for $6.99 each. And data shows that customers are already taking advantage.

What’s brilliant about this strategy is how simple it is. Papa John’s didn’t try to shake things up with a complicated new promotion. They simply paid attention to what their competitors were doing well, and they started doing it themselves.

Here’s the lesson here: You don’t have to be wildly creative to be successful. Of course, if you can put a fresh spin on someone else’s idea and make it better, you should. But you can start with just keeping an eye on the other RDSs in your area. Subscribe to their emails and follow their social media platforms. If you see them doing something well, don’t be afraid to borrow their strategy for your own RDS.

Don’t assume an opportunity is lost.

In 2010, Papa John’s Pizza became the official pizza of the National Football League (NFL). This is, perhaps, the gold standard for pizza companies, who often do a lot of business during football season. The company held that coveted partnership for years. But in 2018, Papa John’s and the NFL cut ties, leaving the spot open for someone else to grab. Less than 24 hours later, Pizza Hut was announced as the new official pizza of the NFL.

Of course, we can assume that the deal with Pizza Hut was in the works for a while before the announcement. A partnership of that size simply cannot be developed in a day. But we can also assume that Pizza Hut made an effort to stay on the NFL’s radar all those years. They didn’t give up on the possibility of partnering with the NFL. And as soon as that spot was open again, they grabbed it.

Similarly, your RDS is never locked out of an opportunity. The most popular restaurant in town may be locked in with one of the Big Three now. Or one of your competitors might have grabbed the top sponsor spot for a beloved local team. But that may not be the case forever. Make an active effort to stay in touch with your ideal partners. Don’t be pushy, but maintain a friendly relationship. That way, if they decide to make a change, you can be ready to stake your claim.

Pay attention to your messaging.

Papa John’s made headlines again in 2018 when their founder, John Schnatter, used a racial slur during a conference call. Schnatter was already in hot water with the public after his comments about the national anthem protests. The backlash was immediate. Even though Schnatter resigned shortly thereafter, the chain continued to experience dismal sales for months.

Consumers today are more alert than ever to signs that a company’s values don’t align with their own. According to one survey, “39% of shoppers said they’d permanently boycott their favorite brand” over a mismatch. As an RDS owner, you may choose to make statements on social and political matters. Many companies do. But it’s crucial to understand the ripple effects. An unpopular stance or careless wording can cost you dearly.

Don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth.

Remember our recent article on how your RDS can survive an economic downturn? We shared that Domino’s pizza has increased the price on its popular combo deal by $1 in response. So far, the company hasn’t reported a slump in sales. The chain sells about 1.5 million pizzas a day, so it’s safe to assume those extra dollars are really adding up.

To learn more about how to strategically increase your prices, check out our article. But here’s the basic lesson: It’s okay to adjust your prices in order to remain profitable. As long as you’re smart about it, your business won’t suffer. If the big guys can do it, so can you.

Embrace technology.

One final lesson from the pizza guys: They use technology to make the delivery experience much more satisfying. Even though the accuracy of the Domino’s delivery tracker has long been debunked, people still love it.

Good delivery technology is available to you as well. DataDreamers is the best restaurant delivery software on the market, with advanced features that benefit both you and your customers. From web building to customer communications, every element is seamless and enjoyable to use.

See DataDreamers in action >