After testing electric bicycle deliveries at company-owned stores in Houston, Miami and New York, Domino’s Pizza is giving its U.S. franchisees the option of using custom electric bicycles through a new partnership with Seattle-based Rad Power Bikes. Domino’s says electric bikes are often a better solution to the traffic congestion and parking hassles that are inherent with urban pizza delivery.
“Those stores saw improvements in overall delivery and service,” said Tom Curtis, Domino’s executive vice president of corporate operations. “They also experienced labor benefits, as the stores were able to hire from a wider pool of candidates, including those who might not have a car or driver’s license. Plus, stores that were already delivering with traditional bikes saw improved team member satisfaction with e-bikes.”
The e-bikes proved so popular in testing that Domino’s will utilize hundreds of them across corporate-owned stores throughout Miami, Salt Lake City, Baltimore and Houston later this year.
The e-bikes have small integrated motors to assist with pedaling, and can run for 25 to 40 miles before needing a recharge. Domino’s custom e-bikes include front and rear insulated soft-sided cargo areas, which can hold Domino’s Heatwave bags, drinks, sides and dipping cups. One e-bike can hold up to 12 large pizzas. The bikes are equipped with lights in the front and back, reflective materials for driver safety, and have a top assisted speed of 20 mph.
Pizza delivery by bicycle, including e-bikes, is not uncommon in Domino’s markets around the world. The United States is one of the few global markets where delivery by car dominates. However, in many large cities in the U.S., bike deliveries lead the way, including in New York and Seattle.
“E-bikes make a huge difference in my stores,” said Seattle Domino’s franchisee Greg Keller. “While delivery on a traditional bike solved many of our traffic and parking issues, the hills in Seattle were tough on even our best cyclists. E-bikes were a game-changer for us, and we’ve been delivering with them for three years now. We have been able to save money, provide better service, increase hiring and maintain a happy workforce.”
As an urban enthusiast myself, it’s notable how cars are increasingly on the defensive as more cities place restrictions on automobiles. While the reasons range from traffic calming to climate change, it should also be noted that nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in crashes in the U.S. during 2016—an average of one crash-related death every 1.5 hours. Making cities safer for the citizens who inhabit them is a worthy cause, and the delivery industry has a responsibility to be part of the solution. Also, e-bikes are way cooler than e-scooters, so there’s the cherry on top.