A Pizza Industry Commentary Post
Pizzerias deliver beer? You may be asking yourself if I’m crazy or drunk.The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board on December 19th gave an early Christmas present to underage drinkers who like to party and eat pizza at the same time. Of course, those underage drinkers will need an older friend aged 21 or above present when the pizza and beer is delivered. Maybe there will be a new pizza delivery middleman business started by some aspiring entrepreneur which charges a premium for pizza and beer delivery.
Here are the facts, The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board released an opinion that would allow restaurants who have a liquor license to deliver beer with a special transporter-for-hire Class B license. It would allow up to 192 ounces of beer to be delivered. This means two full six packs plus a 40 ounce can could be delivered legally to residences where a 21 year old was present to accept delivery. The delivery drivers would have to card the customer. Sounds like fun, especially if the customer has already been drinking.
Costs for this special license would include a one-time $700 application fee plus $30 for processing the transporter-for-hire Class B license. In addition to that cost, pizzeria owners would have to pay a $160 fee each quarter to keep their transporter-for hire Class B license up to date. Living in a very litigious society, add in the costs of the lawsuits which may occur when underage kids at a party where beer was delivered along with a pizza, decide to go out and drive and kill someone. That’s a lot of money.
In an article for the Reading Eagle, Mike Denby, owner of J.R. Pizzeria in Flying Hills Village Center, Cumru Township, PA said “There’s just too much liability involved with selling beer, let alone delivering beer. Imagine you make a beer delivery to a house full of kids having a party and then one of them decides to get in a car. The cost of the liability insurance wouldn’t make it worth my while. I didn’t even blink when I heard about this.”
The discussion of whether or not pizzerias deliver beer will probably not be a heated discussion within the pizza industry or at parties filled with underage kids or adults. The reasons for this are quite different for pizzeria owners and pizzeria customers. For owners, delivery drivers will now have to be 21 years or older to deliver beer. Pizzerias will now have to hire older drivers which is not always an easy thing to do. If all drivers are not 21, a very busy pizzeria with many deliveries will have to spend more time scheduling pizza deliveries that include beer, making sure to place the right driver with the right delivery.
For those pizza lovers who currently order from “X” Pizzeria or “Y” Pizzeria, whether or not that pizza place delivers beer will not be a deciding factor on where they get pizza. If a pizzeria delivers free beer, then maybe that would sway a pizza connoisseur to order low quality pizza and have it delivered. But seriously, a person is going to order pizza from where they’ve always ordered pizza, at least until the product becomes inferior or the customer receives terrible service.
Pennsylvania Pizzeria owners, think about the immediate costs. The first year will be $1210. This includes the $700 fee plus the cost for processing your application. Then the following three quarters for the rest of that first year of keeping your license updated would be $480 more. There are still other questions that haven’t been totally answered by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Questions like whether or not each delivery driver would have to apply for their own transporter-for-hire Class B license and renew it each year. If so, those would be costs the pizzeria would have to eat. What about attorney consultations before even thinking about getting such a license. And if you own a pizzeria and think costs of the quarterly fee for the license will remain the same, then you’ve been sniffing a few too many anchovies.
Pizzerias deliver beer? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.