Paying for Priority Pizza

At one point during my Kickstarter campaign, I learned from my manufacturer that I could receive not just one, but up to five advance copies of the game airlifted to me months before the huge shipment of games would arrive.

The project was fully funded by then, with 500+ backers, many of whom had said that they wished that the games would be delivered before May. Most of those backers had pledged $49 for a copy of the game and the first expansion.

So after I found out the cost of the shipping for the advance copies (it’s quite expensive to send 5-day DHL packages from China to St. Louis), I created a new reward level for 4 backers to be the very first people to get copies of the game. Based on the cost of shipping, I priced this reward level at $139.

It sold out almost instantly.

People will pay for priority. Not all people, but some people. And not just priority in terms of shipping/delivery. People will pay for priority for online ads as well. If you’ve ever made a Facebook ad, you know that you get to choose the range at which you’ll bid for ad space. You can bid low and still get your ads posted, but they won’t get posted as soon as higher bids. Same with Google ads.

What does this have to do with pizza? Well, the other day I had a hankering for Papa Johns. I got home a little later than I intended, so I was pretty hungry when I got online to build and order my pizza. I filled out all the information, including a pre-paid tip.

It was at the tip portion that I paused for a second. What if a higher tip would translate into faster delivery? I was really hungry, so I figured it was worth it to go for a slightly higher tip than normal, just in case.

I think the pizza arrived 25 minutes later at an off-peak hour, so who knows if it worked. But the experience revealed the idea that Papa Johns could let people bid on delivery times. They’d make more money, and customers would benefit from feeling like they had more control over their pizza delivery.

It would be a dynamic addition to the website that would change based on demand and time. The interface could be simple: You could see the top bid and the average bid for open orders from your local Papa John’s, and you could enter your delivery fee based on those other bids (this would be in addition to the tip and the price of the pizza–it would replace the standard delivery fee).

Or if you don’t need your pizza right away, you could enter no bid or a small bid. As active orders are closed (i.e., as the pizza leaves the Papa John’s location), the top and average bids change. So they would be lower during off-peak hours and you can still get your pizza quickly.

What do you think? Would you ever use something like that? What other examples of paying for priority have you seen?

4 thoughts on “Paying for Priority Pizza”

  1. I don’t want to have to go to quibids to get my dinner before it’s cold. I understand that tipping (especially where relates to non-fast-food service) is how most servers(drivers) make the majority of their money. And I understand that is about as capitalistic as it gets. But tipping in it’s (current, standard method) is considered a reward for effective services once they have been rendered. What you’re suggesting sounds (to me) as shady as sliding a host/hostess an extra $20 to get seated at the front of the list. Wait your goddamn turn, just like everybody else! If the product is the same (same pizza) then the service should be the same, UNLESS (like with shipping) you are literally buying a service. If for 10% increase, I am guaranteed my pizza in 30 min (we saw that this behavior was causing reckless driving from Dominoes ~15 years ago), then I’m fine with it (not killing pedestrians, but providing some kind of guarantee). But I shouldn’t have to have a stare-down with my neighbor to get a Hot Pie!

    • Red–I see what you’re saying, but as I noted, this isn’t part of the tip. This would replace the delivery fee. Right now you pay a set delivery fee, and I’m saying that instead of it being set in stone, you could choose the delivery fee–all the way down to $0. So if you’re in no rush to get your pizza, you could actually pay less than what you pay now. Conversely, if you really want pizza in your mouth in 15 minutes, you can outbid the top bidder to jump to the front of the line.

      • I get what you’re saying, but I still disagree. But if it’s not part of the tip, it’s part of the cost. If it’s part of the cost, then I only want to but something dependable/certain, rather than a potential to be delivered first, depending on what someone else does.

  2. I think this would work and make more money for Papa John’s, but I hope they never move to this. I’d want my pizza as quickly as possible, but I wouldn’t want to pay extra to ensure it. I think I’d constantly be behind extra people.


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