Sal’s Pizza: upsized to two stores, four Segway PTs

Sal’s Pizza in Auckland was the first business in NZ to begin fast food deliveries on Segway PTs.

Their first store opened in Commerce Street mid-2009. From day one they began using a Segway PT to deliver their unique, New York-style pizzas to customers across the downtown CBD from lower Parnell to College Hill to the top of Queen Street. The Segway PT proved so successful compared to the alternative options they had extensively trialled as they opened for business (bicycle, moped, motorbike, car) that Sal’s soon added a second PT to the fleet. During their busiest periods of each day, both PTs are delivering hot pizza non-stop.

Sal’s opened their second store in 2010 on Auckland’s colourful K’Rd, where their third Segway PT was based. The popularity of their special pizza style in this vibrant area of town soon meant a fourth PT was required, and this allowed Sal’s to deliver out into the neighbouring suburbs.

Sal's Pizza Commerce Street store, Auckland CBD

The Segway PTs have proved incredibly capable, effective, and reliable for this 7 days-a-week businesses. All PTs are standard Segway i2 models, coloured white to match Sal’s brand, and with logos on the wheels so their is no mistaking who they are. The Segway PTs proved to be a key element in successfully establishing their presence at launch in the fiercely competitive fast food business, and continue to be a point of difference today.

Originally, Segway NZ worked with Sals to develop a variety of methods to build and attach insulated boxes onto the PTs to keep stacks of pizzas warm during the journey from store to customer. With a PT, cargo is normally carried over the wheels. For example, on the i2 Cargo model a hard, lockable box is mounted over one or both wheels. On the x2 Golf model golf bag carrier frame is mounted over one wheel. Using this location on the PT was not possible for pizza delivery because the insulated boxes had to be about 50cm x 50cm square (and at least 50cm high), which would make the PT too wide for polite footpath width. The standard width of the Segway i2 is narrower than any wheelchair, mobility scooter or baby stroller (while the x2 is narrower than most such devices; both models are also much shorter in length than such devices). Our first design involved mounting a box directly out front, nestled into the space below the curve of the LeanSteer Frame the front. The self-balancing PT can automatically accommodate such a cantilevered mass by the rider placing their feet slightly further back on the platform than usual. Our second attempt envisaged the box mounted in the space immediately behind the rider, on a swing-arm that rotated it out to the side to enable the rider to mount/dismount the PT’s platform. But after spending a couple of months during winder 2009 on R&D we discovered the easiest, most convenient solution was simply for the rider to wear the insulated box on their back using a shoulder strap.

Because Sal’s travel so many miles every day, tyre wear was such that they were replacing the standard i2 tyres every couple of months. The i2 tyre is designed for both indoor and outdoor use, uses a non-marking rubber compound, and offers very good grip using a special tread pattern designed not to carry soil indoors. It is tuned for long range and comfortable ride under all of these conditions. When used mainly outdoors, this tyre usually lasts around 2,500km. In 2010 Sal’s were amongst the first to deploy an alternative tyre, designed for scooters used in snow conditions but that happens to fit the i2 wheel. This tyre has proven superior for Sal’s application, offering a useful life in excess of 5,000km, even better grip, yet similar range-per-charge and ride comfort. Most commercial, tourism and security users of i2’s deployed outdoors now use this tyre in New Zealand.

All Sal’s staff are trained to operate Segway PTs safely and considerately in an urban environment. They ride to the rules set out in regulations for using mobility devices in New Zealand, and the top speed of every PT in their fleet has been electronically limited to be less than the fastest mobility scooters being sold in New Zealand. Irrespective of top speed, Sal’s riders are instructed rules for mobility devices specify they must always be ridden at a speed that is not hazardous to pedestrians and other footpath users.

This use of Segway PTs to deliver hot pizza is a market-proven example of the economic efficiencies that only  the PT can deliver. It underscores the point that no other device can do what the PT does so well. Introducing efficiencies like this to business is essential to New Zealand’s economic and social improvement. It is Segway NZ’s view that the PT has a key role to play across just about every business sector as we move into the second decade of the 21st century.

Sal’s have more stores planned for the future, and Segway PTs will continue to play an integral role in their business success.

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