BI makes pizza delivery more efficient

A chain store has benefitted from business intelligence. Patrick Thibodeau reports

Pizza delivery seems simple. You call and someone takes your order and tells you, say, "20 minutes" — which is what you tell your stomach and anyone else you may be sharing the pizza with.

But maybe the pizza doesn't arrive until 30 minutes later. It's hot, but it wasn't delivered in the promised time. You may well be a little unhappy because your delivery expectation wasn't met.

Paul Valle, CIO and vice president of IT at Papa Gino's, feels your (hunger) pain.

Ensuring that pizza delivery meets customer expectations is an important issue for Papa Gino's, which operates more than 370 Papa Gino's pizzerias and D'Angelo sandwich shops.

About one-third of Papa Gino's pizza business comes from customers placing home-delivery orders, Valle says. "Delivery is a key piece of our business," he says. "So anything we can do to monitor and measure and improve a third of our business is a huge thing to us."

In December, Papa Gino's began analysing delivery data with business intelligence software from Cognos, which has since been acquired by IBM.

Valle says Papa Gino's began considering BI tools about two years ago. Early last year, the chain chose the Cognos 8 product line and began installing the software.

Customer satisfaction levels improve, he says, if pizza buyers are given more accurate delivery times, even if the time window they're given is longer — maybe 30 minutes as opposed to 20. He adds that Papa Gino's could already tell from the point-of-sale system at a restaurant what time an individual order was received, when the customer was promised delivery, when the employee making the delivery left the store and when he or she returned. But before the BI tools became available, that information was stored in spreadsheets and was hard to access.

Papa Gino's executives now use Cognos 8 to analyse the data and look for exceptions, both positive and negative, in an effort to improve delivery-time estimates. Valle says he thinks the analysis results will help show restaurant managers how to ensure that customer expectations are set correctly, and possibly how to speed up deliveries.

The company is also using BI software in many other ways. For instance, improved forecasting capabilities have given store managers a better idea of how much product they should order and how many workers they should schedule, Valle says.

At Papa Gino's and other companies, the addition of BI tools also has meant more involvement with business users on the part of IT. The software gives end-users more research options, and the data it generates can help them be more creative in their efforts to improve business performance, according to Valle.

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Tags managementbusiness intelligencecognospizza delivery

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