Pizza Drivers Get GPS Delivery System
LOUISVILLE, KY — It's ironic that, while Papa John's founder John Schnatter and David Novak, chairman of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands, both live in the Anchorage area, the Louisville suburb is a pizza delivery nightmare, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal."The place is pitch black, the houses are all recessed, and nothing's marked," said Kevin Daley, owner of the Anchor Inn restaurant. "We're constantly giving pizza drivers directions around Anchorage." That's particularly meaningful to Daley, because he and business partner Patrick Moldt are pitching a new system for tracking and guiding pizza drivers – or anybody delivering goods – by satellite.The motto of their company, Pi Star Communications, is "Empowering Deliveries Everyday." Their product is a hardware and software package that electronically links a retail outlet or food-and-beverage supplier with its delivery fleet and its customers at the same time.The system, called PiMobile, includes global-positioning satellite (GPS) technology customized to the customer's point-of-sale or operating system, along with a number of hand-held, wireless units with cradles for each delivery vehicle. Moldt sees pizza delivery outlets as the prime customers.When a store employee enters a pizza order into the system, the information would go to the pizza assembly line and by wireless signal to the delivery units. As the driver leaves the store with an order, the vehicle is tracked by satellite.The hand-held unit, cradled on the dashboard, can show a map and give voice directions to the destination. Back at the store, the manager can track drivers on a computer. The unit has a trouble button if the driver is robbed or in an accident, so the store can call for help. The system also can be tailored to include a credit-card swiping device. The full system is priced at about $4,500 a year.