Mid-2019 the pizza joint closest to my house came out with a busy, introverted, single mom’s dream. They had created an app to order my pizza with an accompanying digital delivery oven inside the store so that I didn’t have to talk to anyone or wait in line.

While my kids may not have always favoured this particular pizza chain, the convenience that their new system offered was by far, the most important factor in my decision making process. I could pull up the app while I was still at work, place my order, select my pickup time and pay online with my debit card. When my workday finished, I would drive home, detouring to pick up the pizza, which also happened to be right on my way home.

Once I had arrived, I would park, grab my pickup code from my phone, walk in, enter the code into their locked oven, grab my order, relock the door and leave. I’doften get looks from the crowd that had gathered to order their pizza the old fashioned way and I took great pleasure in smiling inside at my ability to skip the line and the waiting in a tiny waiting area with lots of people and head home with my order, all in the matter of forty or so seconds. SECONDS.

There’s no coming back from that life for me. The same rings true for a lot of small business customers and clients. The way they consume your goods and services has changed forever and if you’re a small business pushing against that, you will get left behind.

For as long as I can remember, ordering pizza was the simplest thing. Back in the day, you picked up the phone, ordered what you wanted, DROVE to pick it up and enjoyed it in the comfort of your own home. Sound familiar?

The evolution of the pizza industry came when busy families were just too exhausted to even drive to pick up their pizza and pizza delivery became the new normal in pizza consumption. Sound familiar again?

Now, pizza can be ordered via phone, online or with an app and either enjoyed in-house or at home for consumption, picked up or delivered. The whole process is quick, affordable and consistent with current safe operating procedures.

During the early days of the pandemic, pizza was one of the few take out foods that we still enjoyed and that was mainly because that local pizza joint I mentioned earlier offered free delivery and when allowed to do so, contactless from start to finish, pick up services. You could also take the pizza out of the box it came in, microwave it and consume it without fear of it being a carrier of the virus.

Another favourite pizza franchise has offered up a feature that I think has a ton of merit for other industries. This particular franchise offers you a digital view of the stages of creation for your pizza. From the employee who receives the order, to who's cooking it and who's delivering it, you can keep an eye on the entire process.

I love to receive those same types of notifications from retailers after I've purchased from them. Your order has been received. Your order is being packaged. Your order has been picked up by the shipping service. Your order is in Toronto. Your order is arriving today. This cuts down on communications between your employees and the customer and creates a more efficient way to manage expectations.

For as long as I can remember (and let’s be honest, that’s long enough back in time) pizza has been at the forefront of delivering food in a fast, economical way.

So I challenge you. How can your small business be more like pizza?

Can you offer a simple way to sell your food, products, services? Can you make the transaction seamless and digital? Can you offer a way to deliver it to your customer’s door that is affordable and efficient? Can you solve the current problem your customer is having with your digital system integration? Because if you can’t, you will be left frustrated and overwhelmed and will be watching your revenues drop.

As we move through the phases of the pandemic, your customers will decide what goods and services they need based on how easy it is to get them, how safe it is to consume and purchase them, and how you offer to deliver the goods or services so that the consumer can experience the safest transaction possible with a as much value as you can pack in there.

Can your business be more like pizza and revolutionize your industry? Let go of all the things you think you need to do in order to do business and start listening to your customers.

Winter is coming. Literally. Do you have a long-term strategy to be more like pizza? Is your business ready to brave both the pandemic and the cold weather?

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