Pizza e Birra page on SliceLife.com
A pandemic has tested our collective love/hate relationships with delivery apps — enough at times to warrant government intervention. But before we all decide (or decide not to) return to indoor dining this spring, I have one more delivery app to consider. And — surprisingly — it’s not terrible.
3625 India Street, San Diego
The app is called Slice, or if you’re logging on through your desktop browser, SliceLife.com. And it’s all about pizza.
Some of us are old enough to remember pizza as the original delivery food, way back when being a delivery driver was a way for high school students to make gas money on weekends. And for the most part, Slice leverages that tradition: 80 percent of the pizza spots featured on Slice nationwide already offer their own delivery services.
However, good luck finding them all on your own. Independent pizza restaurants operating their own local deliveries typically lack the resources to compete in search engine results, which are dominated by national brands and Silicon Valley delivery apps.
What Slice offers is a place for pizza restaurants to connect with delivery-seeking customers, with a streamlined online ordering process. And for this, restaurants pay a $2.25 flat fee per order. No exorbitant commissions forcing them to raise prices. On Slice, pizza restaurants even decide their own delivery fees.
Currently, Slice claims 177 out of 640 San Diego area pizza shops employ the app — around 28 percent.
Local pizza restaurants seeking delivery customers on a dedicated pizza app
According to Slice, that holds true on the 20 percent of restaurants that signed on for delivery services with Slice, which contracts them out to white-labeled delivery services for another flat fee. Whatever fee is charged the restaurant, it gets to decide what rate the customer pays.
I found fees generally ranging from one dollar to seven. Though I did find a Mission Hills favorite of mine, Pizza e Birra, offering free delivery plus 10 percent off to those ordering through Slice. It arrived within a half hour. It was a great deal, but ultimately that sort of promotion ability could turn Slice into the sort of competitive venue where indie shops are outspent by businesses with deeper pockets. Though, not if the likes Round Table Pizza keeps demanding for $6.99 delivery fees.
Browse by type to find your local Roman pizza spots.
They tell me the founder of Slice is a third-generation pizzeria owner himself, so maybe as the app continues to evolve, it will find ways to keep the little guys visible. For example, at the moment, my favorite use of the app has to be the ability to browse by pizza type. So, someone seeking vegan pizza could quickly find multiple options. Now that Roman pizza, or pinsa has become a thing in San Diego, we can find those spots as well. I had to google Capriciossa pizza to learn it features baked ham, mushroom, artichoke and tomato. But yes, even that could help.
Pizza sign on with Slice for greater control over online delivery orders
I'd still rather encourage people to pick up their own pizzas at their favorite local restaurant, and for vaccinated folk to dine in. But when our lazy, couch-dwelling, Friday night behinds order that Capriciossa pie for home delivery, we can reasonably expect fees to be reasonable. And I won’t feel that sting of guilt that comes with most delivery app orders, the deep-down understanding that every order potentially drives them closer to going out of business. Now if someone would come up with a similar app dedicated to burritos, burgers, and ramen, I could get back to eating all the major food groups at home.