It isn’t easy sending pizza all over campus.
But the PAD — which stands for Pizza and Delivery and formerly Pizza at Drake — has quietly become a more efficient restaurant because of a transition to online ordering and a review of its internal processes.
Only 15 percent of all orders now come over the phone because of the popularity and added efficiency of online orders, Ohio State Student Life spokesman Dave Isaacs said in an email.
“The phones have been minimal, it’s more of a help line these days,” said Pete Hackman, assistant director of Dining Services who oversees the PAD. Hackman said PAD is now down to one phone from four.
Isaacs said the cost of switching from phones to online ordering would be too difficult to determine because it was part of a larger upgrade.
The restaurant, which moved to Lane Avenue Residence Hall in 2011, used to rely on orders solely over the phone. Emma Manier, a 2013 graduate and former PAD employee, said two years ago workers had two phones to work with, which was not sufficient. With such a large campus to service, customers were often on hold for extended periods of time.
“Considering it usually takes a minute and a half to complete an order, you were on hold at least, like, half an hour,” said Manier, who graduated with a degree in psychology. “Honestly that’s unacceptable, especially if you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes.”
Today, however, Hackman said they generally start making the orders 10 minutes after the restaurant receives them and try to have them out the door for delivery within 30 minutes after that.
The PAD, which delivers for free anywhere on campus and accepts BuckID, has made it its goal to deliver pies in one hour.
“That’s kind of a mark you’re trying to hit that, it will always be there,” said Hackman on delivery time.
Austin Leach, a second-year in accounting, said the PAD has consistently met that mark for him.
“I’ve always, always gotten my order right, and if anything, they come earlier than I expected them to,” he said.
The PAD’s ordering system allows for 30 orders per hour, Isaacs said.
Four full-time staff and approximately 125 part-time student employees work at the PAD, he said. The PAD is a “financially viable” operation, Isaacs said when asked if it were profitable.
Hackman said there were several concurrent projects taking place over the last couple of years to improve the internal systems of the pizza joint, which has a new operations manager this year, Phil Smith.
One of these projects was beginning a pilot program for Morrill Tower in 2012. Hackman and the staff saw that there was a high percentage of orders coming from the residence hall so they streamlined deliveries by sending larger vehicles with more orders at once directly to the hall’s front desk.
Isaacs said this has since expanded to Taylor, Drackett, Park-Stradley and Smith–Steeb.
Hackman said they also worked with Six Sigma groups from the Fisher College of Business to review the PAD’s internal processes, such as delivery routes. Six Sigma uses a set of techniques and tools with which they improve processes.
In addition, Hackman said there has been a lot of equipment added — including an increase to six ovens — in order to adapt the former Holiday Inn’s kitchen. Isaacs said the ovens cost $105,000. He said PAD is also considering upgrading their monitors for orders.
Still, Manier said that while the PAD is a worthwhile venture, there are some inherent issues with a delivery service at a university this size.
“This campus has thousands and thousands of undergrads, and having a free delivery pizza system on campus is gonna draw a whole lot of attention,” Manier said. So a lot of issues is just the sheer volume of students.”
Hackman said many issues today are customer error, however.
“Some complaints can be attributed to errors in entry of the data which, in this case with the online (ordering) … the customer would be responsible for those errors,” Hackman said.
The most common issue on the PAD’s end is forgetting to complete orders of both hot and cold items because of employee oversight, he said.
Not everyone on campus seems pleased with the PAD’s system. A recent thread on Reddit — a social networking website where users post and submit content through links or by text posts — was made to complain about the non-delivery of food items, to which several of the highest voted comments agreed or made fun of the PAD.
But Manier said people should be more aware of the way the PAD works.
“I think that there’s a lot of expectations of the PAD,“ she said. “There’s not a whole lot of understanding of what actually goes into getting a PAD pizza.”