Sundial thrives despite delivery competition
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 23:02
While more restaurants in Oxford have begun to deliver food, Sundial, Miami University’s on-campus delivery services has not seen a drop in patronage.
Executive general manager of Sundial, Chris Pirigyi said he has seen the steady change in Oxford food delivery.
“When I first came to Miami only a few restaurants delivered,” Pirigyi said. “Now 60 to 80 percent deliver to students on campus.”
But even with the increase in restaurants making deliveries, such as Pita Pit, Bagel & Deli, Wild Bistro, Krishna, Jimmy John’s and Papa John’s, Sundial Pizza has seen an increase in orders in the three years it has been in business, according to Senior Director of the Shriver Center Marijo Nootz. This increase, however, has slowed this year, according to Nootz. Orders are still increasing, but only slightly as compared to the massive increase Sundial has seen in the past, according to Nootz.
“It’s hard to say why,” Nootz said. “Our counts are as high or higher than they have been before, but there could be less large orders.”
Pirigyi believes the leveling off could be due to a lack of opportunity for expansion for Sundial. “We have limited resources as far as delivery area,” Pirigyi said.
Sundial delivers only to on-campus residences and fraternities, which was a decision made after fraternities came to Sundial asking them to expand their delivery area. According to Nootz they are very close to campus, so Sundial agreed. The competitive advantage for Sundial is that it does accept meal plan, according to Pirigyi.
There is a reason for these limitations in delivery area, according to Nootz.
“We were created to be a service to students who have meal plans,” Nootz said.
This is something that sets Sundial apart from the other restaurants that deliver to students, according to Pirigyi.
Pirigyi recognizes some competition from Uptown restaurants with delivery services.
“Because of the geography of Oxford, anything impacts everything else,” Pirigyi said. “We’re competing directly with those people.”
Although every business brings some competition, Nootz does not believe that these other restaurants have largely affected Sundial.
“Sunday we did 350 orders,” Pirigyi said. “It’s a fast paced, high stress environment, we’re always looking for hard working students to fill orders as fast as we can.”
Time is the major complaint with Sundial Pizza, according to some students.
“I sometimes order Sundial because they take meal plan,” sophomore Eleni Byers said. “But Papa Johns comes faster.”
Sophomore Joe Kowalkowski has used Sundial before because it is easy to use.
“I can use my meal plan,” Kowalkowski said. “It’s the same price but it comes out of my meal plan instead of my wallet.”
Sundial processes up to 50 orders per hour while it is open.
The service has also had many new initiatives to grow its business, even if it can’t grow its market.
According to Pirigyi, Sundial has done Super Bowl promotions, changed its hours to open earlier, and is even starting a new composting initiative with Facebook.
“We’ve done a lot of research on how to improve delivery service,” Pirigyi said.
Some of the research Sundial has done includes a LEAN committee, which works with efficiency and also working with the business school to look at the logistics of delivery.
“We’re always looking for better ideas and its good to have an outside look,” Nootz said.