After Anthony Coku and his brothers opened Billy’s Pizza in 2008, they set out to boost their online ordering sales. Coku’s wife thought she had the perfect solution – the pizzeria, she said, should partner with her cousin Ilir Sela, the founder of Slice.
However, the Brooklyn businessman was not immediately convinced.
“I wasn’t on board at first,” Coku said. “I’m like, ‘I’m gonna pay this guy for every order?’ So I set out to do my own website and marketing.”
Making a pie from scratch is second nature for Coku, but he soon learned that making an online ordering platform from scratch is nowhere near as easy.
“We had to find someone to build the site, then someone to constantly fix things. Then you’ve gotta get photos up there and they tell you they’re too busy to help you … Man, that was a mess,” said Coku. “After that, Slice was the obvious choice. They have hundreds of employees to handle everything for me.”
The shift to Slice was well worth it for Billy’s Pizza. Today, they average 1,000 orders per month and routinely turn down competing apps looking to get in on the action. Given the success he’s had with Slice, Coku says there’s little sense in muddying the waters.
“We only have one app because, otherwise, you confuse the customer when you have ten different ones on your site,” Coku explained. “Thanks to Slice, our business has probably grown by at least 30%. Why would I bother with the other guys?”
Meanwhile, other apps can take up to 30% per order, eating away at a shop’s profit. In Coku’s estimation, the upside of greater order volume with other apps is negated by their exorbitant fees for mom-and-pop restaurateurs.
Conglomerates such as Yum Brands – the operators of Taco Bell and KFC – have leveraged their enormous order volume to avoid Grubhub’s aggressive cut. Unfortunately, that’s not an available option for local restaurants and pizzerias.
“I think the pizzeria owners on DoorDash and the rest don’t sit down to do the math. They look at the monthly total and think they made $10,000, but they don’t take in anywhere near that,” said Coku. “By the time you buy the food and pay out salary, insurance, and rent, you wind up with nothing left.”
From talking with other shop owners, Coku says he also learned that other outfits do not match Slice’s level of service. Slice handles the bulk of Billy Pizza’s online marketing and, when Coku runs promotions of his own, he’s able to immediately get a hold of his Slice reps to get their input and feedback.
“I hear they won’t even pick up the phone.”
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