ALEXANDRIA, VA – When there are hitches in the area economy, such as the current pandemic, the pizza delivery count seems to keep moving forward. It’s a staple in many diets and with the restrictions hitting the sit-down restaurants, delivery makes it all the more appealing, especially since the base price, delivery fee and tip can all be done on the cellphone to minimize any contact.
Some drivers drop everything at the door, ring the bell and head back to the car minimizing the danger of any germs, so that simplifies the whole procedure.
At Monterey’s Pizza in the northern section of Old Town, they’re seeing much of the same, with pepperoni remaining the most popular type of pizza going out the door each day. They also have five gourmet pizzas on the menu that are popular as well. Monterey is named after the California city of Monterey, where fresh food and fresh air are dominate, and the restaurant maintains the same spirit. They have been around for 21 years, but recently relocated to the current spot at 1000 North Fayette Street. “Fridays are the most popular by far, even more so since the pandemic started,” said owner Dan Goldfrank.
They have anywhere from two to ten drivers on duty at any time, and have one delivery driver that’s been there since the beginning in 1999. They are faced with the usual problems that have plagued pizza carry-out through the years, like keeping a full staff and interpreting the correct addresses for delivery, but it all seems to work out, despite a trend. “People don’t want to work at restaurants anymore,” Goldfrank said.
That’s not the only issue he deals with on a daily basis. With the area offices closed, the lunch business has suffered, but its picking up since some offices are coming back. “We lost a lot of lunch business because offices were closed,” he said. Another financial hit is the new delivery services available, and each have a fee, which Goldfrank said is up to 30 percent an order. Goldfrank recommends ordering from their website and on Monterey’s menu it says “stop paying exorbitant 3rd party fees,” referring to delivery businesses like Grubhub, Doordash and Uber.
They have beer available at Monterey, which sets them aside from Domino’s or Papa John’s, but this creates a challenge for drivers too, said Ricardo Ventura, a driver who’s been there nearly two years. “The young boys, they try to order beer, we have to check their ID’s,” he said. They also have a selection of salads, and desserts in addition to the pizza, wings and bread sticks that sets them apart from some chain establishments.