If Your Pizza Delivery Took Longer Than Expected You're Not Alone

Of all the foods people like to order for delivery, pizza is of course a time-tested option, with the first pizza delivery said to have taken place in 1889, when the Italian queen Margherita — after whom the famous tomato-and-fresh-mozzarella pie is named — grew tired of the French-style food that was being served during a royal trip to Naples, and requested some local grub, which was delivered to her quarters by the pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito (via Food & Wine). Pizza delivery became readily available to everyday folk in the 1960s, according to Hungry Howie's, and has been a fixture of modern life ever since — even before the advent of the internet or food delivery apps like Grubhub and Uber Eats.

Today, McKinsey reports food delivery is a global market worth more than $150 billion, thanks in part to the pandemic: During the height of COVID-19, the market more than doubled in the U.S. And while there's been some drop off from this all-time high, per NBC, people are still ordering in as they always have — but in some cases, they're waiting longer to receive those hot, steaming pizzas. According to CNN, big chains like Domino's and Pizza Hut are facing significant shortages of delivery drivers, which is causing slow service across the country.

Staffing shortages have been an issue since last December

CNN reported that, in the first three months of 2022, home delivery from Domino's Pizza locations that have been open for a year or longer fell by nearly 11% as compared to the first quarter of 2021. Former CEO Ritch Allison (who Reuters reports retired at the end of last month), stated in an April analyst call that he was "disappointed" by lackluster delivery sales, which is owed partially to a shortage of available drivers.

The shortage has been an issue for the pizza chain since last December, when Allison told industry analysts that drivers staying home from work became a big problem, due in part to the omicron variant of COVID-19 (via Restaurant Business Online). In March, he predicted that staffing delivery drivers would remain a challenge for the chain, a truth CNN says was borne out in the first quarter of this year.

The staffing trouble has affected other pizza chains, including Pizza Hut, and caused shorter operating hours at some locations in addition to longer wait times for delivery. On top of trying to hire more delivery people, CNN reported some pizza chains intend to outsource delivery calls to call centers and shift existing employees over to delivery. They are also considering the use of third-party delivery services such as DoorDash, a move Domino's has so far resisted. "Nothing is off the table," current Domino's CEO Russell Weiner said during the April call.

Only time will tell if pizza chains are able to hire more drivers or will turn to third-party companies, but for now don't be surprised if your pizza delivery no longer promises 20 minutes or less.