“Changing the system is never easy,” says Brent Cordial, VP of Operations for Giovanni's Pizza, based in Ashland, Ky. “We are concerned about the safety of our employees and our customers.”
The pizza chain has several formats including dine-in only, buffets and drive-thrus. “We’ve been around 56 years, and we have a lot of concepts. We tend to open stores with to meet what the market demands,” he explains.
A Major Shift
Many locations in the 100-store chain use HungerRush, formerly Revention, to power its digital ordering for delivery and takeout and curbside pickup. “HungerRush helped us throughout this process. They helped us to adapt and to add curbside as an option,” said Cordial.
Increased Demand for Contactless
Many of Giovanni’s Pizza franchise owners have embraced curbside to help customers and employees reduce the chance of possible exposure.
“Customers have a sense of security in their vehicle. Plus, it keeps them from touching door handles and PIN pads,” says Cordial.
Another new feature is contactless delivery. “When customers are ordering online, they can now check a box for a ‘no contact option,’” explains Cordial.
That too has resonated with customers. “We have had several compliments,” explains Cordial. “It has been well received.”
The low- and no-contact options will continue to be offered for the foreseeable future, he adds.
“We are in constant contact with our franchisees. Some of them have been pleasantly surprised with how customers have reacted to curbside pickup. The customers feel safer in the comfort of their own cars,” he adds.
The pivot has been a game-changer for the chain. “The ability for our stores to adapt and offer curbside has meant they’ve not just survived but thrived,“ said Cordial.
Giovanni’s Pizza locations with drive-thrus have remained open and have the sales to prove it. Nationwide, drive-thru dominates off-prem sales these days. “Our locations with drive-thrus have been booming,” says Cordial.
Behind the scenes, the chain quickly reinforced its cleaning procedures and has added health screenings for employees. “We already had stringent protocols in place. We upped them in for safety of guests and employees,” says Cordial.
As dining rooms are starting to reopen across the country, the majority of Giovanni’s Pizza dining rooms remain closed for the time being.
“In general our store volumes are up; the community support we have received has been tremendous for our locally owned franchises,” Cordial notes.
“The pizza business has always been about food and people. We’ve always focused on quality food and our customers. People are over the moon with being able to order online and are increasingly for curbside pickup. At the end of the day, they want our food.”