Deep dish. Thin crust. Wood-fired. Any way you slice it, there’s no denying that Americans love pizza. In 2020, U.S. pizza restaurant sales surpassed $46 billion — with a whopping $14 billion coming from pizza delivery orders alone. 

It’s no wonder pizza thrives in a delivery setting. For starters, it travels remarkably well (thanks to an outside-the-box innovation of the 1960s). Beyond that, this crowd-pleasing dish is also highly versatile — sure to satisfy diners on almost any occasion, from large celebrations to cozy nights in. Best of all, pizza is perfect for sharing, and group orders give restaurateurs a great way to increase ticket sizes.

Looking to get a larger piece of the pizza delivery pie? Whether you have your own delivery business already or are just getting started, here are seven tips for driving revenue through marketing promotions, loyalty programs, DoorDash Self-Delivery (yes, you can deliver your own DoorDash orders), and more. Let’s dig in! 

1. Share high-quality photos and descriptions

Diners eat with their eyes first. In fact, 90% of customers research a restaurant online before ordering delivery — searching for mouthwatering photos and menus to inform their decision. 

But they don’t always like what they see. In a 2019 study, 68% of U.S. diners said a restaurant's website has discouraged them from doing business with the brand. If your site is unappetizing, visitors have a buffet of alternatives to consider — and will be gone in the click of a button.

On the flip side, a descriptive menu and high-resolution food photos can be the secret ingredients that secure your next sale. Take the guesswork out of online ordering by including clear descriptions and up-front prices for each menu item. For example, “homemade Sicilian marinara featuring farm-fresh tomatoes, basil, and garlic” paints a clear picture, unlike plain old “red sauce.” 

When it comes to photos, remember that quality is key. Delete photos that are blurry, poorly lit, overly zoomed in, or visually cluttered, and steer clear of stock images (customers want to see your specific dishes, not generic placeholders). 

Don’t underestimate the power of social media, either. In a recent Doordash survey of 2,000 Americans, 28% of respondents said they’ve ordered a specific dish because they saw it on Instagram. So the next time you’re in the kitchen, record a slo-mo cheese pull video and hit post. Want to add a punny caption? Even better! Show customers just how much they #knead your pizza. 

2. Mark your calendar for major events 

Pizza delivery is a great way for families and friends to celebrate together. DoorDash data shows that the ten most popular holidays for food delivery include Mother's Day, New Year's Eve, Halloween, Thanksgiving Eve, Veteran's Day, Labor Day, Father's Day, Memorial Day, Indigenous Peoples' Day, and Black Friday — so launching marketing campaigns tailored to these dates can have powerful payoffs. For example, pizza delivery orders on DoorDash were up over 27% on Halloween 2019 compared to the average Friday in October (making this a scary good day for promotions).

Be sure to also mark your calendar with food-centric holidays. In 2021, National Cheese Lover’s Day (January 20), National Pizza Day (February 9), National Deep Dish Pizza Day (April 5), Eat What You Want Day (May 11), National Pizza Party Day (May 15), Cheese Pizza Day (September 5), and National Pepperoni Pizza Day (September 20) are just a few fun dates to keep in mind when setting your restaurant marketing strategy

Beyond promoting pizza-related holidays, find creative ways to celebrate your signature dishes all year long. Take National Margarita Day (February 22), for instance. The holiday may be referring to the famous cocktail, but why not use a clever play on words to celebrate your classic margherita pie — or take things one step further by offering a “Margherita & Margs” promo? 

Looking for more strategies to boost your holiday sales? Download our 2021 Restaurant Holiday Marketing Calendar & Toolkit for inspiration.

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3. Improve online visibility with strong SEO

Another way to drive sales for your pizza delivery business is to focus on search engine optimization (SEO). 

In a 2020 HubSpot survey, 64% of marketers said they actively invest in SEO. And for good reason: SEO marketing generates 13% more conversions than traditional methods like direct mail or print ads. 

When prospective customers type food-related keywords into Google (think: “pizza in Boston”), restaurants with strong SEO will rise in search engine rankings and get found sooner while those with weak SEO will struggle to be seen.

One strategy for boosting your SEO rankings is including keywords in the titles and descriptions of your website pages. Luckily, many web hosting platforms — like Squarespace and Wix — have tools to help you identify relevant keywords, add alt text to images, and more. 

Always keep your Google Maps listing updated too, so you can capture people in the area who are searching for “pizza delivery near me.” According to Google Trends, local searches like this have increased a staggering 900% over the past five years. More online visibility means more prospective customers — and better sales for your business. 

4. Partner with DoorDash Self-Delivery

You may be thinking, “A partnership wouldn’t work, since I have my own delivery drivers already.” But DoorDash Self-Delivery is perfect for pizza restaurants with existing delivery drivers, allowing you to feature your pizzeria on the DoorDash app to reach DoorDash customers while fulfilling deliveries in-house. 

Typical questions that businesses new to Self-Delivery ask are: 

Can you deliver your own DoorDash? 

Yes! With DoorDash Self-Delivery, you can use your in-house delivery team to fulfill orders. Many pizza shops already know the nuances of managing a delivery team, and join DoorDash to increase orders and sales by tapping into the DoorDash customer base. 

What is it like delivering your own DoorDash order?

With Self-Delivery, businesses can receive and accept orders through the DoorDash Tablet, email, fax, and some POS systems. When they order, customers get notified that your business delivers its own orders. After that, it’s business as usual: get goods to customers using your own delivery fleet, and collect the order value plus delivery fees and tips.

I have my own delivery. What does the commission rate cover? 

The commission rate is less than the fee merchants pay to use Dashers to deliver orders. The fee covers advertising and marketing for your business, credit card process, technology platform costs to keep the app running, and 24/7/365 support for customers and merchants. 

What are the benefits of Self-Delivery? 

Here are some benefits merchants using Self-Delivery report. 

  • A large and loyal customer base. Getting featured on the DoorDash app instantly increases your brand exposure and introduces your restaurant to an entirely new pool of prospective diners.
  • Complete control. Since you’re delivering your own DoorDash orders, there’s no need to partner with Dashers — and you’re fully in charge of setting your own delivery fees and zones.
  • Lower commission. After a free trial period, you’ll pay a flat 15% commission rate on delivery orders — which is lower than the commission rate paid by DoorDash restaurants who use Dashers to fulfill their deliveries.
  • Steady incremental sales. You receive the full order value plus all taxes, delivery fees, tips, and small order fees (if applicable), minus commission.

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5. Launch a loyalty program 

Good news: Humans are biologically wired to love incentives. When we anticipate rewards — like free pizza — a rush of dopamine is sent to our brain, inspiring feelings of pleasure. 

By catering to human nature, restaurant loyalty programs can improve customer retention and even increase overall revenue by 5 to 10%. 75% of consumers say they are likely to make another purchase after receiving an incentive — and 73% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand if it has a good loyalty program.

Wondering where to get started? Consider offering punch cards to keep customers coming back, or develop a points system that rewards frequent diners with complimentary toppings, side dishes, drinks, merchandise, and more. 

6. Optimize your delivery menu

Menu design can make or break a sale. When crafting your online delivery menu, give customers options that suit a variety of situations: pizza by the slice for solo diners, whole pies for groups, and alcohol for people watching the latest sports game. 

Instead of offering your full in-house menu, however, consider honing in on the most popular and profitable dishes. Studies show that too many options can overwhelm customers and even prevent sales, so featuring a smaller selection is the best recipe for success.

Customizations can also be an opportunity to optimize your menu design for upsells and bigger ticket sizes. Include modifiers so customers can get larger sizes, additional toppings, or substitute for gluten-free dough for an additional fee. 

7. Ensure a seamless delivery experience

Customers won’t order from the same restaurant twice if they waited for hours with rumbling stomachs or received the wrong order. Ensure speed and accuracy so diners do repeat business with your brand — instead of checking out the competition. 

Whether you offer your own in-house delivery service or partner with a technology platform like DoorDash (or both), take steps to give your delivery customers a positive experience. Key factors in ensuring smooth delivery operations include setting a realistic delivery area, purchasing the right delivery bags and takeout containers, integrating all orders into your POS to automatically send them to your kitchen, and hiring reliable drivers.

Ready to put these tips into action and grow your pizza delivery business? Learn more about how you can reach new customers by delivering your own DoorDash orders with Self-Delivery.

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author-saradeforest
Sara DeForest
Copywriter

Sara DeForest is a Bay Area-based freelance copywriter. Previously, she was VP of Marketing at an early stage startup that was named one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies. Prior to that, Sara was a content marketer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Though Silicon Valley is a roller coaster, Sara finds her real adrenaline rush doing standup comedy.